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Mulberry

Posted on: March 5, 2009

Nutritional & Herbal Properties

Examples of mulberry’s medicinal properties are reducing blood serum glucose, lowering blood cholesterol and lipids levels, fighting arterial plaques and antiphlogistic, diuretic and expectorant effects. Various compounds present in mulberry that attribute to such therapeutic benefits are GABA, phytosterol, DNJ, flavonoids, alkaloids, steroids, etc. The nutritional values of 100g dry mulberry leafs are: Ca 2,699mg., Fe 44mg., Na 3.4mg., K 3,101mg., beta carotine 7.4mg., vitamin A 4,230 IU, vitamin B1 0.6mg., vitamin B2 1.4mg., vitamin C 32mg., and fiber 52g.

Mulberry Facts

Mulberry has been cultivated and used for around 5,000 years. There were four main varieties: black, red, white, mountain or wild mulberry. Over centuries, there have been over a hundred varieties and many hundreds more local sub-varieties. Because of its diversity, you can find a mulberry tree in almost any altitudes and climates in the world.

For thousands of year, mulberry trees have been cultivated for silk production because silk worms are fed on mulberry leaves. Often, human beings and animals also appreciate mulberry for its fruits and leaves. The berries are consumed fresh, in juice or preserves (like mulberry jam). Mulberry young leaves and stems are yummy vegetable. It also has medicinal properties in infusions such as mulberry leaf tea. Not until the past few decades, scientists started to pay great attention to the medicinal and nutritional qualities of mulberry plants.

There have been researches studying the components and benefits of mulberry leaves for human and animal consumption and pharmaceutical purposes. Studies found that mulberry leaves contain 15%-28% of protein, with essential amino acids, depending on varieties. Studies find that the leaves and young stems are high in mineral content and have no anti-nutritional factors or toxic compounds. Mulberry leaves have typical calcium content around 1.8-2.4% and phosphorus 0.14-0.24%. The values of potassium in leaves are 1.90-2.87% and 1.33-1.53% in young stems, and magnesium 0.47-0.63% and 0.26-0.35% in leaves and stems respectively. Indian scientists have suggested the use of the powdered of white mulberry leaves as a nutritious ingredient for paratha, one kind of Indian breads. In Korea, Japan and Thailand, mulberry fruit and leaves are used as functional food such as ice-cream and noodles, containing powdered mulberry leaves as an ingredient.

The use of the mulberry-leaf powder in ice-cream showed reducing of blood glucose level in consumers, instead of rising. Hence, mulberry-leaf powder could be used in a food item that contains a sugar content in order to maintain the blood sugar level. Reducing the blood serum glucose is only one of the healthy properties of mulberry mentioned in several traditional herbal books like the ‘Shin Nou Honzou Gyou’ (the Chinese original academic herbal book) ‘Kissa Youjouki’ written by Eisai Zen Monk in Japan, and the old Latins and folk medicine scripts.

Indigenous medicinal practitioners, for centuries, have used different parts of mulberry plant for treating diseases and symptoms such as high-blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and lipids levels, arterial plaques, diuresis, diabetes, constipation, cough-phlegm, cold, anemia, etc. Scientific researches have confirmed these healing qualities of mulberry plant. Several clinical studies found that mulberry leaf contains GABA (Gamma Aminobutyric Acid), phytosterol, DNJ (Dioxiogirimycin), vitamins and minerals. GABA helps maintain the normal blood pressure. Phytosterol helps reduce cholesterol in blood vessels. DNJ helps reduce sugar in the blood stream: lowers the risk of getting heart disease. DNJ also stimulates the blood circulation and increases the fluid in the body.

A 5-year research conducted in Kanagawa, Japan found that mulberry leaves have various preventive effects on adult diseases. Some of the effects are:

* Suppressing hypertension
* Lowering cholesterol level
* Preventing cancer (liver)
* Reducing level of blood sugar
* Suppressing mutagenesis of carcinogens.

Picture: http://www.picsearch.com


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