“Here we go round the mulberry bush”- we grew up listening to the nursery rhyme that we all love.. But what are mulberries? Mulberries are the fruits of the mulberry trees. There are three species of mulberries based on their colour- white, red and black mulberry. They are related to figs and breadfruit and are usually available from March to May and October to November.
Grown in Asia and North America for their leaves, mulberry leaves are the only food that silkworms eat. Traditional medicine included mulberries for the natural treatment of many health conditions. Wine, fruit juice, tea, jam, and canned foods also use mulberries extensively. You can also use them as a dried snack.
Mulberries are widespread due to their sweet taste, excellent nutritional value, and numerous health benefits.
Types of Mulberries
There are three types of mulberries- white, red, and black.
1. White Mulberries
The scientific name of white mulberries is Morus Alba. They are bred for silkworm production and are native to China. Though they do not produce pure white but are called white for the colour of the buds.
2. Red Mulberries
The scientific name of red mulberries is Morus Rubra. It is also known as the American mulberries and is native to the eastern United States. The red and white mulberries are more drought-resistant than the black ones.
3. Black Mulberries
The scientific name of black mulberries is Morus Nigra. They are native to Asian countries, particularly Southwestern Asia and are much more difficult to graft.
Popular Varieties of Mulberries
Pakistan Mulberry is a deciduous tree. The fruits are large and sweet. In addition, it has firm flesh. It also grows best in the warm climates of the US. It has a long fruiting season from late spring through mid-summer.
Collier is the hybrid cross of the white and red mulberry. The purple fruit has a unique sweet flavour, and it is firmer than black mulberry. Also, it has both edible and ornamental features. Surprisingly the tree can live up to 125 years.
2. Russian or Tatarica
Russian or Tatarica mulberry is native to China. It is often grown for wildlife or windbreaks.
3. Illinois Everbearing
Illinois Everbearing is the hybrid cross of the white and red mulberry. It was first grown in White County, Illinois, in 1958.
Riviera originated in Vista, California. It is purple-black, very sweet, and takes longer to ripen.
Nutrient Value of Mulberries
Given below is the nutrition profile of 100 g fresh and raw mulberries.
Total fat- 0.4 g
Sodium- 10 mg
Potassium- 194 mg
Total carbohydrate- 10.3 g
Protein- 1.1 g
Health Benefits of Mulberries
Let’s dive into the reasons why mulberries are so popular.
1. Good for Your Kidneys
The health of your kidneys is essential to remove wastes and extra fluid from your body efficiently. In addition, they further eliminate acid produced by your body’s cells.
According to a study, mulberry extracts are beneficial for those suffering from kidney damage caused by diabetes. It occurs due to metabolic disorders. And is known as diabetic nephropathy. Mulberry extracts help improve insulin resistance, oxidative stress, and reduce inflammation in the body.
2. Makes Your Hair Healthy
Melanin is a natural pigment that determines hair colour. Your hair turns grey or white when the production of melanin slows down.
According to research, mulberry aids the production of melanin. In addition, it retains the natural colour of your hair. So, one suffering from premature greying of the hair benefits from it. If you want healthy hair, you should have mulberry juice regularly. To promote hair growth, you can directly apply mulberry juice to your hair.
3. Brightens Your Skin
Mulberry extracts brighten your skin by treating pigmentation. Furthermore, it evens out skin tone and reduces dark spots. Resveratrol, found in mulberries, protects the skin from the harmful effects of UV rays and the antioxidants are great anti-ageing agents. Amongst them, Beta-carotene neutralises the free radicals. Mulberry also has vitamins A, C, and E that removes wrinkles.
4. Good for Your Lungs.
Mulberry is good for you if you have contracted a lung infection.
As per a study, mulberries inhibit two pathogens responsible for lung infections. These are influenza viruses and Pneumococci. Even the root bark of the mulberry tree has antiviral and antibacterial properties. So, mulberries aid in keeping your lungs healthy.
5. Leads to Weight Loss
As per research, mulberries, especially black mulberries, have pectin. Pectin is a fibre usually found in fruits. It acts as a laxative to help stool pass through the bowels. Thus, mulberries facilitate digestion. This benefit relieves us from constipation, bloating, and stomach cramps.
Mulberries also help people lose fat and tone their bodies.
6. Help Increase Blood Circulation
High iron content in mulberries boosts the production of red blood cells. In simple terms, mulberry increases oxygen distribution to essential tissues and organs. As a result, it boosts metabolism and enhances body functioning. They are also rich in antioxidants which improve the functioning of the blood vessels by dilating them. It further ensures regulation of blood pressure by enabling a free flow from the heart to other body parts.
7. Improve Vision
According to a study, Zeaxanthin is one of the carotenoids found in mulberries. It further acts as an antioxidant and prevents retinal damage. Furthermore, it removes the free radicals that can cause macular degeneration and cataracts. Mulberry tea improves eyesight according to traditional Chinese medicine.
8. Reduce Risk of Cancer
According to research, mulberries have many anthocyanins and pharmaceutical ingredients which possess anti-cancer effects. The presence of resveratrol also prevents the growth of cancer cells. They together fight colon cancer, skin cancer, prostate cancer, and thyroid. Anthocyanins and other metabolites like resveratrol are essential and can possibly change the face of human cancer in the future.
9. Improves Immunity
As per a study, mulberries use the alkaloids in the macrophages to activate them. They boost our immunity and keep us alert. In addition, mulberry is also a good source of vitamin C and is, thus, a potent immunity booster. Polyphenols ensure the health of the blood vessels by promoting immunity to foreign pathogens via various pathways. They activate these signalling pathways to initiate immune responses. Furthermore, potassium lowers blood pressure to keep immunity in check.
10. Mulberry Builds Bone Tissue
Vitamin K, calcium, and iron are the best nutrients that enable the buildup of bone tissues. Mulberry has all of them. The presence of these nutrients stops bone degradation and bone disorders. For example, osteoporosis and arthritis are common degenerative conditions that can be avoided by consuming mulberry..
As per research, mulberries can carry on the task of building bone tissues due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
How to Use Mulberry?
You can eat them with a bowl of cereal or yoghurt.
You can bake pies to enhance their flavour.
Eat biscuits and whipped cream along with mulberries.
Create mulberry jam or add more fruits to make it more interesting.
Freeze them into mulberry ice pops.
Make summer puddings.
Use them with cocktails.
Stuff them into scones.
The simplest yet the loveliest idea is to churn them into ice cream.
Mulberry: Healthy Recipes
1. Mulberry Tea
Preparation time- 8 minutes
Mulberry tea leaves or mulberry leaf tea bag- 1
Filtered cup water- 1
Honey or lemon- optional
Boil a cup of water and let it cool for a minute.
Add tea leaves to a teapot and pour the hot water.
To make these directions easy for you, you can simply steep a tea bag into a cup of hot water.
Let them sit for approximately 3-5 minutes to soak up the essence thoroughly.
Strain the tea into a cup.
Add honey or lemon as per your preferences.
Your mulberry tea is ready to enliven you!
2. Mulberry Jam
Preparation time- 45 minutes
Fresh or frozen mulberries- 2 pounds or 900 grams
Granulated sugar- 6 cups or 1 kg
Fresh lemon juice- ½ cup or 120 millilitres
Freshly ground nutmeg- 1 pinch
Pouch liquid pectin- 1 or 3 ounces
Add the mulberries, sugar, and lemon juice to a large, nonreactive pot. Do not use aluminium.
Put it on a high flame and constantly stir until it comes to a full boil.
As the mixture boils, add the pinch of freshly ground nutmeg.
Mix the liquid pectin and boil for a minute with constant stirring.
Remove any foam and pour the jam into a glass container or jar.
Process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.
Let it cool for 12-14 hours.
You should store it in a dark and cool place.
You can use this yummy jam for a year.
Mulberries: Precautions and Side-effects
There are some precautions and side effects that you need to take care of before having mulberries.
Mulberries may lower your blood sugar. When you consume mulberry tea, it gradually suppresses the rise of blood glucose levels after 90 minutes. It may further cause hunger, headache, blurred vision, excess sweating, dizziness, confusion, and tremors if consumed excessively.
2. Mulberries May Cause Gastrointestinal Discomfort
Eating them may cause indigestion, nausea, diarrhoea, and bloating. The latex or milky white sap is toxic to insects and caterpillars. In the case of humans, it may cause mild skin irritation.
3. Mulberries May Hinder Carbohydrate Absorption
Carbohydrate absorption helps in weight control and diabetes treatment. In some instances, it interferes with the optimal absorption of nutrients. It may also lead to detrimental effects on the body.
4. Mulberries May Have a Detrimental Effect on Kidneys
Mulberry leaves lower uric acid levels. Therefore, it helps relieve the symptoms of gout. However, do not take mulberry leaves if you are on medications. They are also full of potassium for the proper functioning of the body. When the required potassium levels exceed, it may cause dehydration and internal bleeding.
5. Mulberries May Cause Allergic Reactions
Some people may have an allergic reaction to mulberries. The allergic response is typical for those sensitive to birch pollen due to cross-reactivity. If you experience any side effects, consult your doctor immediately.
6. Consult Your Doctor if You Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding
There is no evidence of the effect of mulberries on pregnant and breastfeeding women. Hence, professional consultation is essential.
Mulberries are marvellous for fulfilling your health and medicinal benefits. There are various varieties of mulberries available throughout the world, with a difference in their colour and place of origination. They are healthy for your kidneys, hair, skin, and lungs. They hold the potential even to treat a disease like cancer. The internet is flooded with exciting uses and mulberries’ recipes to add to your regular diet. Just remember, with the advantages come disadvantages too. So, you should know every possible detail available on any ingredient before using it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What are the benefits of the mulberry?
A. There are several benefits of mulberry. For example, it is healthy for your kidneys, hair, skin, and lungs. It also assists weight loss and improves blood circulation.
Q. Are mulberries a Superfood?
A. Yes, mulberries are a superfood with unusually high protein, iron, and vitamin C. They are also the storehouse of fibre, calcium, and antioxidants. All these nutrients are beneficial for health, and that is why they are a part of a healthy diet.
Q. What happens if you eat too many mulberries?
A. You may suffer from gastrointestinal discomfort and hypoglycemia if you eat too many mulberries. Excessive consumption might also lower blood sugar levels, increase skin cancer risk and hinder the absorption of carbohydrates.
Q. What are the side effects of mulberry?
A. The side effects of mulberry include hypoglycemia, gastrointestinal discomfort, carbohydrate malabsorption etc. It may also cause mild diarrhoea, dizziness, constipation, and bloating. It can trigger allergies too.
Q. Who should not eat mulberry?
A. People who are on medications for lowering uric acid should not eat mulberries. People who have chronic kidney or other metabolic disorders should also refrain from its use without the recommendation of a healthcare professional.
Q. Is mulberry bad for kidneys?
A. No. on the contary, mulberry is good for your kidneys unless you are on medications or consume it in excess. Its extract is especially beneficial for diabetic patients with kidney-related issues. It is clinically known as diabetic nephropathy.
Q. Do mulberries have a lot of sugar?
A. Yes, mulberries have high sugar content than other berries. One hundred grams of mulberries contain eight grams of sugar. At the same time, blackberries have half the amount of sugar.
Q. Is mulberry good for hair?
A. Yes, mulberry is good for your hair. It helps aid melanin production in your hair. As a result, it helps retain natural hair colour and prevent premature greying. You can also apply mulberry juice directly to your hair to promote healthy hair growth.
Q. Is mulberry good for skin?
A. Yes, mulberry is good for the skin. It evens skin tone, reduces dark spots, and prevents skin damage and fine lines. In addition, it brightens the skin by slowing down the production of dark pigment by the skin.
Q. Is mulberry good for the lungs?
A. Yes, mulberry is good for your lungs. It helps prevent lung infections with its antiviral and antibacterial properties. In addition, it inhibits the growth of influenza viruses and pneumococci, pathogens responsible for lung infections.
Q. Is mulberry the same as elderberry?
A. No, mulberry is a fruit of one from the several Genus Morus trees. At the same time, elderberry is a shrub or tree of the Genus Sambucus. Elderberry has a tiny edible purplish-black fruit that people use for cooking and flavouring drinks.
Q. Do Mulberries cause gas?
A. Yes, overconsumption of mulberries may cause gas. If people with a latex allergy eat mulberries, they may experience an upset stomach. In addition, unripe white mulberries can cause indigestion, bloating, nausea, and diarrhoea.
Q. Is mulberry a laxative?
A. Yes, mulberry is a laxative because the pectin in mulberries helps bowel movement. In addition, it has lots of dietary fibre, which improves your digestion by bulking up the stool. It also speeds up the movement of food through the digestive tract.
Q. What are the benefits of eating mulberry fruit?
A. Mulberry fruit is healthy for your kidneys, hair, skin, and lungs. It also assists weight loss and improves blood circulation. In addition, mulberries help lower cholesterol, blood sugar, and cancer risk.
Q. Are mulberries good for weight loss?
A. Yes, mulberries are good for weight loss. It is rich in fibre and low in calories. One hundred grams of mulberries contain 43 calories only. Therefore, it keeps you satiated and keeps your weight under check. Add them creatively to food preparations to enjoy the immense benefits.