An Herb For Thought: Mulberries

MULBERRIES

An Herb For Thought: Mulberries | 7512487-group-of-mulberries-with-a-leaves-isolated-on-a-white-background-1024x742 | An Herb For Thought Natural Health

Mulberries are delicious and nutritious, people all over the world enjoy them. Mulberries are a product of the Morus alba tree. Its leaves, which also contain nutrients and are even used as food for silkworms, are thin, glossy and light green; the fruit, like grapes, is red or white and grows in bunches called “drupes.”

1. Source of Antioxidants

Antioxidants help lessen the damage caused by free radicals and the entire mulberry plant- leaves, stems, and fruit, contains antioxidants. One antioxidant in particular, resveratrol, has gotten much attention. Research published by the University of Texas Health Science Center credits resveratrol for positive effects on age and longevity.

2. Immune System Support

Mulberries contain alkaloids that activate macrophages. Macrophages are white blood cells that stimulate the immune system, putting it on high active alert against health threats.

3. Supports Healthy Blood Sugar

More formal research is appropriate, but mulberry is thought to contain compounds that support balanced blood sugar levels.  Traditional medicine in China, Trinidad and Tobago have all used mulberry leaves to promote balanced blood sugar levels.

4. Healthy Food!

Dried mulberries are a great source of protein, vitamin C and K, fiber, and iron. Best of all, they’re available in health food stores everywhere! Enjoy them as a great snack all by themselves or add them to your favorite trail mix. If you live in a warm climate and are lucky enough to have mulberry trees nearby, you can enjoy the fruit fresh off the tree. Not as tasty as the fruit, even the leaves contain protein, fiber, and nutrients!

5. Resists Inflammation

Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine have used mulberry as a remedy for inflammation.  A recent Romanian study discovered that a curcumin and mulberry leaf combination may be a new lead into natural remedies for inflammation.

6. Brain Protection?

Do mulberries offer anything to the brain? Researchers at Khon Kaen University in Thailand set out to answer that question by evaluating the effect of mulberry on male rats with memory impairment and brain damage. Although further investigation is required before mulberries can be declared a cognitive enhancer and neuroprotectant, rats that consumed mulberries had better memories and less oxidative stress.

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM

References:

  1. Wang W, Zu Y, Fu Y, Efferth T. In vitro antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of extracts from Morus alba L. leaves, stems and fruits. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22419428
  2. Imran M, Khan H, Shah M, Khan R, Khan F. Chemical composition and antioxidant activity of certain Morus species. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21121077
  3. Shankar S, Singh G, Srivastava RK. Chemoprevention by resveratrol: molecular mechanisms and therapeutic potential. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17569614
  4. Kim SB, Chang BY, Jo YH, Lee SH, Han SB, Hwang BY, Kim SY, Lee MK. Macrophage activating activity of pyrrole alkaloids from Morus alba fruits. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23164765
  5. Kimura T, Nakagawa K, Kubota H, Kojima Y, Goto Y, Yamagishi K, Oita S, Oikawa S, Miyazawa T. Food-grade mulberry powder enriched with 1-deoxynojirimycin suppresses the elevation of postprandial blood glucose in humans. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17555327
  6. Lans CA. Ethnomedicines used in Trinidad and Tobago for urinary problems and diabetes mellitus. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17040567
  7. Wang HJ, Chiang BH. Anti-diabetic effect of a traditional Chinese medicine formula. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22899105
  8. Kandylis K, Hadjigeorgiou I, Harizanis P. The nutritive value of mulberry leaves (Morus alba) as a feed supplement for sheep. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19052898
  9. Chen YC, Tien YJ, Chen CH, Beltran FN, Amor EC, Wang RJ, Wu DJ, Mettling C, Lin YL, Yang WC. Morus alba and active compound oxyresveratrol exert anti-inflammatory activity via inhibition of leukocyte migration involving MEK/ERK signaling. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23433072
  10. Pirvulescu MM, Gan AM, Stan D, Simion V, Calin M, Butoi E, Tirgoviste CI, Manduteanu I. Curcumin and a Morus alba extract reduce pro-inflammatory effects of resistin in human endothelial cells. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21442673
  11. Kaewkaen P, Tong-Un T, Wattanathorn J, Muchimapura S, Kaewrueng W, Wongcharoenwanakit S. Mulberry Fruit Extract Protects against Memory Impairment and Hippocampal Damage in Animal Model of Vascular Dementia. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22952555

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