Food as Medicine–Mulberries Provide a Multitude of Health Benefits

Food as Medicine–Mulberries Provide a Multitude of Health Benefits

(Shutterstock)

Ellen Wan

Ellen Wan

6/9/2024

Updated: 6/9/2024

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It’s long been said that “food is medicine,” and the mulberry plant is a great example of the adage. Mulberry has been utilized for its healing properties for centuries.
Research has shown that mulberries help combat illness with anticancer, anti-aging, and lipid-lowering effects. They are nutrition-dense—rich in protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, and polyphenolic compounds like anthocyanins. Mulberries also serve up a dish of health benefits as they are antioxidant, blood sugar-lowering, immune-modulating, and have protective effects on the kidneys, heart, liver, and skin.

Anticancer Effect

In a 2020 study, researchers treated tumor-bearing mice with compounds isolated from mulberries. The results showed a significant reduction in the size and weight of the tumors, indicating that mulberry extract “can exert an anticancer effect” in lung cancer cells in vivo.

Lipid-Lowering Effects

A 2009 study found that compared to hamsters fed only a high-fat diet, those fed a high-fat diet supplemented with 1 or 2 percent mulberry extract had plasma total cholesterol and triglyceride levels significantly lower by about 30 to 37 percent and 16 to 35 percent, respectively. Similar results were observed in the liver’s total cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Researchers stated that mulberry extract can lower blood lipids by reducing lipid biosynthesis, and “could be used as a natural agent against hyperlipidemia.”

Blood Sugar-Lowering Effects

A 2020 study published in the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity confirmed that mulberries exert “antidiabetic and neuroprotective effects.”
The study showed that mulberry extract treatment gradually lowered blood sugar levels in diabetic mice. After eight to 12 weeks of treatment with mulberry extract the blood sugar levels returned to normal, indicating the antidiabetic properties of mulberry extract.
Researchers also found that mulberry extract protects the brain and glucose metabolism organs such as the liver, kidneys, and pancreas by upregulating antioxidant enzymes. Therefore, mulberry extract may improve diabetes by promoting blood sugar homeostasis.

Weight Loss Effects

A 2023 review found that mulberry extract can inhibit weight gain induced by a high-fat diet and reduce body fat. Mulberry extract can also prevent lipid accumulation in the liver, combating visceral fat.
Researchers explained that mulberries are rich in polyphenols, which have the effects of scavenging free radicals, inhibiting lipid synthesis, and regulating metabolism.

Anti-Aging Effects

A 2024 study published in the Journal of Functional Foods found that air-dried mulberry extract significantly increased skin moisture in aging mice, reduced levels of advanced glycation endproducts, and alleviated oxidative stress. The results indicate that mulberry extract, especially those air-dried, may have anti-aging effects on the skin.
In addition, the anthocyanins abundantly present in mulberries have been confirmed by many studies to prevent and improve age-related diseases.
Mulberries (Regreto/Shutterstock)

Mulberries (Regreto/Shutterstock)

Mulberries’ Traditional Chinese Medicine Value

In ancient Chinese medical texts, the medicinal value of mulberries is well-documented. For instance, mulberries were said to nourish the kidneys, prevent hair from turning white, and delay the deterioration of eyesight and hearing—helping to maintain sharp senses. Mulberries were also found to be beneficial for the joints and have a calming effect on the mind.

Caution Around Eating Mulberries

Despite the multiple health benefits of mulberries, there are precautions to be taken when consuming them.
Certain people may not be suitable for eating mulberries, according to the Taiwan Ministry of Agriculture. The article advises that unripe green mulberries contain a large amount of tannic acid and excessive consumption can affect the body’s absorption of calcium and iron, so children should eat them with caution. Additionally, mulberries are high in sugar, so people with diabetes and weak digestive systems should eat them in moderation.

Mulberry Goji Chrysanthemum Tea

Dr. Chiou Ya-Sheng from the Ma Kuang TCM Clinic in Wujia, Taiwan shared a beneficial herbal tea recipe in her column that includes mulberries: Mulberry Goji Chrysanthemum Tea.
Ingredients:
  • 5 dried chrysanthemums
  • 10 goji berries (wolfberries)
  • 10 mulberries
Method:
Place all ingredients in a cup, pour in 500 ml of hot water, cover, and steep for 5 minutes before drinking.
Chrysanthemum tea with goji berries. (Naiwen Hu/The Epoch Times)

Chrysanthemum tea with goji berries. (Naiwen Hu/The Epoch Times)

Dr. Chiou said that mulberries nourish the liver and kidneys and enrich the blood, chrysanthemums clear the liver and improve eyesight, while goji berries also nourish the liver and the kidneys.
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Ellen Wan

Ellen Wan

Author

Ellen Wan has worked for the Japanese edition of The Epoch Times since 2007.

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