Chances are most reading this article have fond memories of mulberries from the children’s rhyme – “Here we go ’round the mulberry bush…the mulberry bush…the mulberry bush.” Unfortunately most children today have no idea what a mulberry bush/tree looks like let alone have they ever tasted mulberries picked fresh from a mulberry tree.
Mulberry, also known as Morus fruit, comes from the same tree used to raise silkworms, where the worms feed off the plant’s leaves. The fruit is an aggregate fruit composed of many smaller fruits called drupes. Mulberries are not actually berries. The skin is smooth and fragile but as the fruit ripens, the color changes from green to red to dark purple. White mulberry trees also exist and are the ones used for silkworms. When picked from the tree, mulberries have a stem attached which distinguishes them from blackberries and raspberries.
The best time for fresh mulberries is May thru August. Unfortunately, some people consider mulberries a nuisance because of the stains left by the purple fruit when mulberries become ripe and drop to the ground, or birds eat them and leave purple dropping. Mulberries, however, are a great source of nutrients. If you are fortunate enough to have a mulberry tree growing nearby, as my grandmother had in her backyard, harvesting and eating the mulberries can provide great health benefits. Just be sure to wear shoes, if you don’t want purple feet!
Mulberries are full of polyphenols as well as other important antioxidants. As early as the Roman Empire, the use of mulberries for diseases of the mouth, throat and lungs were popular. Native Americans discovered that mulberries made a good laxative and used them to treat dysentery.
When we look at the nutritional value of mulberries, we find they contain a variety of powerful vitamins such as A, B-complex, C, E and K. Mulberries also contain important minerals such as iron, potassium, calcium and magnesium. One of the most valuable ingredients in mulberries is resveratrol which research says “promotes heart health and overall vitality.” The Institute for Traditional Medicine says the following about the mulberry fruit:
“Traditionally, mulberry fruit has been used as a medicinal agent to nourish the yin and blood, benefit the kidneys and treat weakness, fatigue, anemia and premature graying of hair. It is also used to treat urinary incontinence, tinnitus, dizziness and constipation in the elderly and the anemic.”
Current research indicates mulberries can help improve the following:
- Digestive tract well-being: Mulberries consist of 25 percent soluble fiber and 75 percent insoluble fiber. These dietary fibers can help boost overall digestive health by encouraging bowel movement regularity as well as lowering your risk of stomach diseases.
- Blood vessel health: Thanks to its resveratrol content, mulberry fruit can help keep blood vessels healthy. Resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant, can help increase the production of nitric oxide, which allows blood vessels to relax.
- Blood sugar regulation: Mulberry contains an exceptional antioxidant called DNJ (1-deoxynojirimycin) that hinders an enzyme in your gut that breaks down carbohydrates into sugar. Lowering the amount of sugar going into your system is, of course, considered helpful for diabetics who desire to control the disease.
- Liver wellness: One study indicates that mulberry can help prohibit the accumulation of fatty deposits around the liver, helping to lower the risk of various hepatic diseases.
- Immune system health: Mulberries consist of alkaloids that activate macrophages which are white blood cells that stimulate your immune system. Macrophages help to put your immune system on alert against health threats.
24 Outstanding Health Benefits of Mulberries
- powerful antioxidant
- lowers blood pressure
- strengthens immune system
- anti-aging properties
- improves blood circulation
- prevents heart disease
- high levels of potassium
- low in calories
- may help with neurological diseases
- excellent source of vitamin C
- free radical scavenger
- excellent source of iron
- good source of manganese & magnesium
- enhances appetite
- rich in B complex
- rich iv vitamin K
- protects against cancer
- cleanses the blood
- cleanses and supports the liver
- strengthens eyesight
- helps with memory
- helps with constipation
- calms nerves
Pineapple-Banana-Mulberry Smoothie Recipe
½ cup fresh pineapple juice – or fresh pineapple
1 banana (use frozen for a colder smoothie)
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 tablespoon Mulberries
Always use organic ingredients when available.
Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. May add ice. Enjoy!
- Garden Nerdy, Mulberry Facts
- Institute for Traditional Medicine, Mulberry
- Journal of Zhejiang University, 2010 Dec;11(12):973-80
- Organic Facts, 8 Benefits of Mulberries
- Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2001 Sep;49(9): 2408-13
- Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 2011 Dec;91(15): 2740-8
- Wang W, Zu Y, Fu Y, Efferth T. In vitro antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of extracts from Morus alba L. leaves, stems and fruits. Am J Chin Med. 2012;40(2):349-56.
- 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. J Ethnopharmacol. 2013 Jan 9;145(1):393-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.11.007. Epub 2012 Nov 16.