Mulberry: An Amazing Tree
When a little mulberry sapling appeared years ago, between the blueberry patch and my vegetable garden, I foolishly thought I could keep it pruned and keep it from getting too big. Fast forward to now, and you can see for yourself that this is no small tree, but I don’t regret letting it put down its roots where it did.
Red Mulberry (Morus rubra)
Mulberry is an amazing plant. The tree in my yard is red mulberry (Morus rubra), which is the variety native to North America. Besides the fact that its berries are delicious, they are nutritious and medicinal too. The berries contain amino acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, minerals, and high levels of vitamin C and beta-carotene. Medicinally, mulberries have been shown to have many applications based on the high levels of polyphenols, anthocyanins, and flavonoids. These phytochemicals are antioxidant and have been shown to scavenge free radicals, reduce oxidative stress, and have potential benefit with a variety of diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, and cancer.
There are many species of mulberry. White mulberry, Morus alba, is native to China and is renowned as the primary food source for silk worms, and is cultivated in many areas of China for that purpose. The medicinal use of the leaves, root bark, branches, and fruit of the white mulberry in Chinese medicine dates back to 659 C.E., While there is more research on white mulberry than the red mulberry, I did find a study comparing the anti-tumor and antioxidant effects of different extract preparations of both Morus alba and Morus rubra. The study concluded that the extracts of Morus rubra were stronger in anti-tumor and antioxidant effect than Morus alba.
The other really cool thing about mulberry is that it is being used in China as an ecological remediation solution. Mulberry trees are being planted to remediate heavy metals in soil, to improve air quality, to remove carbon dioxide, to improve soil permeability and retain water, to serve as a windbreak and for sand fixation, to reverse desertification, to modify the saline content of soil, and to stabilize the soil in flood plains. Is there anything this plant can’t do?!
I love mulberry because it is such a prolific “weed” tree. Unlike other fruit trees or bushes that need a lot of care, mulberry does well without human intervention. It is literally free food.
And one thing I'm sure it can do, is make my breakfast of homemade granola taste even better!
 Mahmoud K, E.-B. F.-A. (2017). Phytochemical analysis, assessment of antiproliferative and free radical scavenging activity of Morus alba and Morus rubra fruits. Asian J Pharm Clin Res, 10(6), 189-199.  Venkatesh KR, S. C. (2008). Mulberry: Life enhancer. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research, 2(10), 271-278.  Mahmoud K, E.-B. F.-A. (2017). Phytochemical analysis, assessment of antiproliferative and free radical scavenging activity of Morus alba and Morus rubra fruits. Asian J Pharm Clin Res, 10(6), 189-199.  Jiang Y, H. R. (2017). Mulberry for environmental protection. Pak. J. Bot., 49(2), 781-788.
My name is Jillian Bar-av and I am a Registered Herbalist and Licensed Nutritionist who works with busy women to help them have the energy to do what they love. I specialize in conditions that affect the reproductive system and urinary tract, such as PCOS and Interstitial Cystitis. I believe that it takes healthy people to create a healthy planet, and I want to make a difference for both.
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