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Mulberry (Shahtoot): Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

By Dr Anuja Bodhare +2 more

Introduction:

Mulberry is scientifically known as Morus alba. It belongs to the family Moraceae. It is one of the most important herb plants that are used as a source of medicines and remedies. The Latin word ‘mor-us’ which means ‘oddly enough’ has led to the origin of the word ‘mul’. Various species are found within the genus Morus and a few important Mulberry species among others are the native red mulberry (Morus rubra), the East Asian white mulberry (Morus alba), and the southwestern Asian black mulberry (Morus nigra).1,2 The fruits of mulberry are known as toot and shahtoot (King’s or “superior” mulberry) and are sweet, luscious and mouth-watering. They grow hanging on deciduous trees in temperate regions such as India, China, Japan, North Africa, Arabia, and South Europe. The leaves of Mulberry are the only source of food for the silkworm. The leaves are very useful in the pharmaceutical, cosmetics and food industries; thus, the tree is also known as ‘Kalpavriksha’.2-4 

mulberries benefits

Nutritional Value of Mulberry: 

Mulberry contains various nutritional components that are given as follows. The fruits are rich in a variety of organic compounds, like: zea-xanthin, anthocyanins, phyto-nutrients, lutein, resveratrol and a wide range of other polyphenolic compounds. 

Nutritional components Percentage value 
Total fat 1 
Total carbohydrate 5 
Dietary fibre 9 
Sodium 1 
Calcium 4 
Iron 14 
Potassium 6 
Protein 4 
Vitamin C 57 
Vitamin E 8 
Vitamin K 9 
Vitamin B1 3 
Vitamin B2 11 
Vitamin B3 5 
Vitamin B6 4 
Folate 2 

Table 1: Percentage nutritional value of mulberry (raw fruit)5  

Also Read: Water Apple: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, And More!

Properties of Mulberry (Shahtoot): 

Several studies have found that the extract of various parts of mulberry shows numerous properties such as those mentioned below which may be helpful: 

  • Anti-inflammatory (may reduce inflammation and swelling)  
  • Anti-pyretic (may help to reduce fever)1  
  • Anthelmintic (may be used to destroy some types of parasitic worms)  
  • ”‹May Slow the formation of abnormal blood clots  
  • ”‹Helps Lower the deposition of fatty material on the inner walls of arteries  
  • May have Cholesterol-lowering properties  
  • May offer some benefit in Blood sugar level lowering
  • Good for skin and hair

From experience, let me tell you about the magic of mulberries! It’s like a magical product that may aid in anaemia. Because of the mulberry’s high vitamin C and iron content, Mulberry may be used to reduce symptoms of anaemia.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Also Read: Peaches: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

Potential Uses of Mulberry for Overall Health: 

Some of the potential benefits of Mulberry are described as follows: 

1. Potential uses of mulberry for RBCs  

Mulberry is rich in iron, rarely obtained from fruits. The presence of iron may play a role in boosting red blood cell production in the body. This may help to improve the distribution of oxygen to organ systems and tissues of the body. This may indicate that mulberries might boost metabolism and provide optimum functioning of the various systems of the body.4 

2. Potential uses of mulberry for digestion  

Mulberries may help to improve digestion as they contain high dietary fibre content. The dietary fibre obtained from a single serving of mulberries is about 10% of the daily requirement. This dietary fibre adds up bulk to the stool, which improves the speed of the movement of food within the digestive tract and thus, it contributes to improving digestion. It may be helpful in digestive tract conditions such as stomach cramps, bloating and constipation.4 

3. Potential uses of mulberry for eyes  

Mulberry fruits contain carotenoids, one of which is zea-xanthin. Zea-xanthin acts as an antioxidant and may have potential benefits to maintain retinal health. Free radicals lead to degeneration of the central part of the retina called the macula and lead to cataracts. Zea-xanthin from mulberry fruits may be able to reduce oxidative stress on the retinal cells due to these free radicals. Thus, it may indicate that mulberry may have the potential to slow down cataract formation.4 We need to conduct further studies to assess the effects of mulberries on cataracts in the human eye. 

4. Potential uses of mulberry for cancer  

Mulberry is rich in antioxidants such as vitamin A, vitamin C, anthocyanins, and various other polyphenolic compounds. Antioxidants show a defence mechanism against free radicals, which produce harmful by-products of cellular metabolism. These by-products harm healthy cells and further trigger the mutation of healthy cells into cancerous cells. Antioxidants obtained from mulberry may help to rapidly neutralize harmful free radicals. These properties may show the potential of mulberries in possibly reducing the extent of damage caused by these free radicals.4 We need to conduct further studies to establish the effects of mulberries on cancer-causing free radicals. 

5. Potential uses of mulberry for diabetes  

The extract of mulberry leaves may play role in catalysing the metabolism of glucose. Sharma et al. (2010) and Lown et al. (2017), reported that mulberry leaf extract lowered high blood glucose levels in animal studies.1, 2 However, human studies are required to gauge the effects of mulberries on human blood glucose levels. 

6. Potential uses of mulberry for immunity  

Mulberry is a particularly rich source of vitamin C. Vitamin C acts as a powerful defence system against various diseases. It enhances immunity to fight several micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. A cup of mulberry fruits is approximately equal to the amount of vitamin C needed for the entire day. However, further studies might help to prove the effects of mulberries on human immunity.

7. Potential uses of mulberry for skin and hair  

Vitamins A and E, along with a wide variety of carotenoid components, are present in high amount in mulberry fruits. These compounds function as powerful antioxidants which may affect the hair, skin, tissue and other areas from the threat of free radicals. Antioxidants may help in reducing the appearance of blemishes and may help to keep the skin looking smooth. By inhibiting the oxidative actions of free radicals, mulberry fruits may also help in keeping the hair shiny and healthy. 4 Mulberry may be effective for pimples or acne-prone skin as it may help in reducing skin oil secretions and inflammation. 2 All these properties of mulberry need further studies to understand its potential use in humans. 

8. Potential uses of mulberry for heart  

Mulberry leaves contain an important flavonoid called resveratrol. This flavonoid may help to remove constriction in blood vessels and thus may have an effect in on reducing the chances of heart failure. Resveratrol present in mulberries may help to increase nitric oxide (NO) production, which works as a vasodilator. This means it may have a relaxing effect on the blood vessels and might lower the risk of formation of blood clots. Thus, it may exert a beneficial effect on issues related to the heart such as heart attacks or strokes that occur due to blood clot formation. 1, 2 However, the studies available by far are insufficient to establish the effects of mulberries on human heart health and further studies are required to prove these effects on the human heart. 

9. Other potential uses of mulberry  

  • The leaves of mulberry may be used as an emollient that helps in softening or soothing the skin. 
  • The juice of the mulberry leaf may have a beneficial effect on throat infections, inflammation, and irritation.1 

Though there are studies that show the benefits of mulberries in various conditions, but these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of mulberries on human health.   

I highly recommend the consumption of mulberry for weight loss. Mulberry might be your ally in your weight loss journey. According to studies, mulberry’s ability to combat obesity may be due to its ability to inhibit lipid absorption.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Also Read: Cherries: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

How to Use Mulberry? 

Mulberry can be used in the following ways: 

  • Mulberry is consumed in several ways such as fruit wines, berries, jams, jelly or muesli.3 
  • Mulberry can also be consumed in the form of juices and syrups for the effective management of various diseases.3 

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.   

Side Effects of Mulberry: 

A few side effects that were observed in studies on consuming mulberry fruit are: 

  • Since mulberry has potential properties that may lower blood glucose levels, it might be dangerous for people suffering from low blood glucose levels to consume mulberries. 
  • There are reported cases of allergies caused by the consumption of mulberry. It is suggested that you should consume mulberry in moderation and monitor your body’s reaction if you are eating them for the first time.4 

However, if you experience any adverse reactions to mulberries, immediately contact a doctor or your Ayurvedic physician who has prescribed it to you. They will be able to guide you appropriately for your symptoms. 

Let me give you a healthy tip! Mulberry may help you with oxidative damage. Studies have shown that Mulberries are a proven good source of Flavonoids, a polyphenolic compound, and that makes mulberry a natural anti-oxidant. This may play a crucial part in the treatment of conditions brought on by oxidative stress, such as atherosclerosis.

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

Precautions to Take with Mulberry: 

Eating mulberry is okay if it is taken in moderate amounts. However, general precautions must be followed while consuming mulberry. 

  • Pregnant women and lactating mothers must take extra precautions. Mulberry must be consumed during this period only if it is prescribed by your Ayurvedic physician. 
  • One must also be cautious while giving this plant’s parts to children and older people. 

Interactions With Other Drugs: 

A clinical study suggested that having large amounts of black mulberry juice could interact with drugs that were reported to inhibit cytochrome enzymes; thus it may inhibit the metabolism of various drugs.6 Therefore, you must always seek the advice of your Ayurvedic physician and follow the prescription thoroughly, as they will know your health condition and other medications you are taking.  

Also Read: Star Fruit: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What are the uses of Mulberry for skin?  

Mulberry (Shahtoot) is rich in Vitamin A, vitamin E, and carotenoids, and these have potential antioxidant properties. It may help in reducing the appearance of scars, keeps the skin smooth and young, and reduces age spots due to these antioxidant properties. Mulberry leaves extract may be effective for pimples or acne-prone skin.1 

What are the parts of the major species of the genus Morus used?  

Various parts and extracts of three major species of the genus Morus may be used, these are: 
> Root, stem, leaves and fruit of Morus alba (white mulberry) 
> Root, leaves and fruits of Morus nigra (black mulberry) 
> Root and fruits of Morus rubra (red mulberry).1 

What is the ‘immortal mountain wizard tea’?  

It is a type of tea made from Mulberry leaves. After drying mulberry leaves under the sun, the leaves are brewed. This tea is known as the ‘immortal mountain wizard tea’.2 

Are Mulberries poisonous?  

There is no evidence of mulberry fruit or leaf being poisonous. However, one must follow general precautions while taking any herb in large quantities. 

Can Mulberry make my hair shiny?  

Yes. The anti-oxidants present in mulberry leaf extract may have negative effect on free radicals that  cause oxidative damage to hair, thus it may help in keeping the hair shiny and healthy.1 

References: 

  1. Venkatesh KR, Chauhan S. Mulberry: Life enhancer. J Med Plant Res. 2008 Oct 16;2(10):271-8. Available from: https://academicjournals.org/article/article1380526584_Kumar%20and%20Chauhan.pdf 
  1. Sarkhel S, Manvi D, Ramachandra CT. Nutrition importance and health benefits of mulberry leaf extract: A review. J Pharmacog Phytochem. 2020 Aug 24;9(5):689-95. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Dronachari-Manvi/publication/344085417_Nutrition_importance_and_health_benefits_of_mulberry_leaf_extract_A_review/links/5f539adda6fdcc9879ce2b3d/Nutrition-importance-and-health-benefits-of-mulberry-leaf-extract-A-review.pdf  
  1. Parida S, Rayaguru K, Panigrahi J. Mulberry cultivation and its phytochemical benefits: A review. J Nat Remed. 2020 Sep 10;21(5):33-48. Available from: https://www.jnronline.com/ojs/index.php/about/article/view/241/251 
  1. Prasath CNH, Balasubramanian A, Radhakrishnan S. Mulberry fruit-Nutritional and health benefits. 2019 Aug 1;6(8):15-6. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Cn-Prasath-2/publication/353403584_Mulberry_fruit_-Nutritional_and_health_benefits/links/60fa9eae1e95fe241a81806d/Mulberry-fruit-Nutritional-and-health-benefits.pdf 
  1. NutritionValue.Org [Internet]. Mulberry, raw; [cited 2022 May 31]. Available from: https://www.nutritionvalue.org/Mulberries%2C_raw_nutritional_value.html#:~:text=Mulberries%2C%20raw%20contains%2060%20calories,mg%20of%20cholesterol%20per%20serving 
  1. Petric Z, Žuntar I, Putnik P, Kovačević DB. Food–Drug Interactions with Fruit Juices. Foods. 2020 Dec 24;10(1):33. Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/2304-8158/10/1/33  

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