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author: Dr. Kevin Curran

updated: 1-03-2017

What is white mulberry fruit?

White mulberry fruit has a long history of medicinal use in China and Europe. The traditional Chinese medical text book, the Huang Di Ba Shi Yi Nan Jing, written in the late Han dynasty, is the first to formally document the way that white mulberry benefits human health.

And now, in recent times, as people around the world are curious about foods that lower blood sugar naturally, white mulberry fruit is again attracting interest as a natural therapy for high cholesterol, weight loss and diabetes prevention. In this article, we describe the way that dried white mulberry leaf and fruit can lower blood-sugar levels and benefit our health. At the end of this article, we recommend our favorite sources of white mulberry.

white mulberry leaf benefits

White mulberry fruit in the spring.

White mulberry was first cultivated in China 4,000 years ago. Originally, this plant was used as a food source for silkworms.

The Chinese have been producing silk for thousands of years. And they know that you need healthy silkworms if you want to produce strong silk fibers. White mulberry is the preferred food for silkworms. So, to keep their silk industry moving, the Chinese grew lots of white mulberry trees and fed the leaves to their silkworms.

In the 12th century, as trade routes opened up between Asia and Europe, the Western world became interested in the beautiful silk clothing produced in China. Seeds and cuttings of the white mulberry tree were carried across the globe in an attempt to spread silkworms and silk production into new countries. Silk, silkworms and white mulberry trees soon established in Japan, Korea, India and eventually in some Western nations.

As white mulberry fruit spread throughout the world, a global awareness of the plant’s health benefits also took root.

The 5 health benefits of eating white mulberry.

We now know this superfood is (1) high in fiber, (2) high in protein and (3) packed with micro-nutrients. White mulberry also helps us (4) manage our cholesterol and (5) regulate our blood-sugar levels.

In this article, we explore the biology behind these health benefits.

We mostly focus on the way that white mulberry can help us manage sugar levels in our body.

At the end of this article, we review a few popular options for consuming white mulberry: including dried fruit, capsules and white mulberry tea.

white mulberry benefits

Once dried, white mulberry fruit becomes a tasty super-food.

I’m now in the habit of eating a handful in the morning. They taste similar to raisins and do a good job of keeping my appetite in check.

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White mulberry health benefits

White mulberry delivers many health benefits, however the plant’s ability to lower blood sugar has attracted the most attention. (Butt, 2008; Chung, 2013; Kimura, 2007; Mahmoud, 2014; Miyahara, 2004; Singab, 2005)

Multiple health problems that arise when our body processes too much sugar. These problems include obesity, diabetes and chronic inflammation. If a natural remedy can eliminate the excess sugar in our bloodstream, then that is certainly good news.

Recent studies have shown that eating an extract of white mulberry does in fact help the body process sugar. (Chung, 2013; Mahmoud, 2014; Kimura, 2007)

There are chemical compounds in the white mulberry plant that prevent big spikes of sugar in our bloodstream after we eat a meal. One compound in particular, DNJ (see below), has the ability to eliminate excess sugar from our blood. This is good news for all people concerned with blood-sugar levels and obesity, but it is especially helpful for those suffering from diabetes.

Clinical study reveals how to lower sugar levels with white mulberry extract.

Scientists demonstrate that a specific chemical found in white mulberry prevents a spike of blood sugar levels after we eat a meal . The name of this chemical is Mulberry 1-deoxynojirimycin, also known as DNJ. DNJ is a powerful glucosidase inhibitor. This is a biochemical term that means DNJ can shut down sugar processing.

In this experiment, healthy volunteers were fed varying amounts of DNJ powder followed by a meal of 50 grams of sugar (sucrose). The scientists then collected insulin and blood sugar levels from the patients at 30 and 180 minute time periods after the meal. (Kimura, 2007)

The patients who took about 1 gram of DNJ with their meal (0.8-1.2 grams) experienced significantly lower blood sugar levels and lower insulin levels.

The authors conclude that DNJ, the active ingredient in white mulberry, can be used as a dietary supplement for lowering blood-sugar levels and preventing diabetes mellitus. (Kimura 2007)

Background on blood-sugar levels, obesity and diabetes

Before I continue, let me take a moment and explain why high blood-sugar levels are such a threat to human health.

DISCLAIMER Sugar digestion is a complicated biological process. For the sake of this review, I’m only offering a brief, simplified summary.

How the human body processes sugar

After we eat food, the sugar in the food passes through our stomach, into our intestines and is absorbed into the bloodstream. Sugar then travels through the bloodstream and eventually arrives at our liver. The liver has many jobs, one of them is to help control our blood-sugar levels. We want some sugar in our blood because that provides us with energy but excessively high blood-sugar levels are bad. If blood-sugar levels are high, the liver will convert the excess glucose (sugar) into glycogen (a stored sugar). If we are storing too much sugar, then eventually this stored sugar will turn into fat. This conversion to fat is what makes our belly, hips and thighs become big (i.e. become obese).

Nobody wants that to happen.

How eating too much sugar can cause diabetes

But wait, it gets worse, high blood-sugar levels don’t just lead to obesity, high blood-sugar can also lead to diabetes. Here’s how that happens…

The signal to convert glucose into glycogen is controlled by insulin. Insulin is an essential hormone that is produced by our pancreas. If we have high amounts of sugar in our diet, the pancreas will do its best to keep up. The pancreas will keep producing insulin and the insulin will keep telling the liver to store the sugar and remove it from our blood. However, at some point, if blood-sugar levels are persistently high, the pancreas can no longer keep up. In a sense, the pancreas becomes overworked and collapses. This is the scenario that often leads to the onset of diabetes.

In general, diabetes is caused by either the inability of our pancreas to produce enough insulin or our body’s inability to process the insulin properly. Type 2 Diabetes (90% of all diabetes cases) is characterized by impaired cellular response to insulin. This impaired insulin response is often followed by the progressive dysfunction (collapse) of the pancreas (Tao, 2015). In summary, there is a close relationship between elevated blood-sugar levels and the onset of diabetes.

The current state of diabetes in the world

Unfortunately, we are currently experiencing a rising trend of diabetes worldwide (Florencia, 2014). As of 2014, the global estimate for people suffering from diabetes was 387 million, this is approximately 8% of the world population. In 2014, this elevated level of diabetes translated into a global healthcare cost of $612 billion. What is more concerning is that the number of people with diabetes is expected to rise to 592 million by 2035 .

Clearly, this a major health problem. Because diabetes has become so common in the world, we are now seeing a rising interest in white mulberry and its ability to naturally lower sugar levels in our bloodstream.

White mulberry benefits people with high cholesterol

In addition to its role in blood-sugar levels, white mulberry has also been explored as a natural therapy for high cholesterol. As most of us are now aware, there is a strong connection between high cholesterol levels and heart disease (Castelli, 1986; Downs, 1998). The best way to manage your cholesterol levels is by exercising, controlling your diet and medications. Unfortunately, traditional cholesterol drugs are often costly or create negative side effects. For this reason, there’s a strong demand for more natural, food based treatments for cholesterol management.

Multiple clinical studies have demonstrated that eating white mulberry lowers cholesterol levels in human patients (Aramwit, 2011; Andallu, 2001). Two separate reports found that white mulberry lowered LDL (the ‘bad cholesterol’) while raising HDL (the ‘good cholesterol’). Aramwit et al, applied white mulberry leaf therapy on 26 human patients with high cholesterol (age range 20-60 years old). The study found that white mulberry leaf tablets could reduce overall cholesterol levels while enhancing healthy HDL levels. Similar positive results were observed by a separate research group (Andalla, 2001).

Factors to consider when purchasing white mulberry tea, leaf or dried fruits.

There are 3 ways to consume white mulberry. You can either eat the dried fruit, take a white mulberry capsule or drink white mulberry tea.

These are all reasonable options, it’s a matter of preference.

The dried fruits are a little bit sweet. The taste is described as somewhere between a fig and a raisin. You eat the dried fruits before a meal or snack on them as a healthy way to satisfy your appetite.

Additional mulberry fruit benefits

In addition to the health benefits mentioned above, when you eat this super-food, you also get a dose of protein and fiber.

1/3 of a cup of dried mulberry fruit contains:

  • 4 grams of protein
  • 20% of your daily fiber.

This plant is packed full of micro-nutrients. This is just a partial list of the vitamins, minerals and phyto-nutrients in white mulberry.

  • flavonoid antioxidants (anthocyanins, zea-xanthin, resveratrol)
  • vitamins (vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin E, B-complex)
  • minerals (iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese)

In summary, here are the top 5 health benefits of white mulberry:

  1. high in fiber
  2. high in protein
  3. high in micro-nutrients
  4. helps manage cholesterol
  5. helps regulate blood-sugar levels

Remember to bookmark this page! We will keep updating this article with the latest health reports and new clinical results regarding the benefits of white mulberry leaf and fruit. Below we mention some respected brands of this nutritious plant.

Terrasoul Sun-dried White Mulberry Fruits

At EthnoHerbalist, we’re always looking for high integrity, local companies that grow or source their plants from organic farms.

This is why we like the white mulberry fruits from Terrasoul Superfoods. Terrasoul is a small, family-run business from Fort Worth, Texas. Their white mulberry fruits are organic, fair trade, non-GMO, gluten free and raw with no added sugar.

BioGanix White Mulberry Leaf Capsules

The benefit to the powder capsule is convenience. Many people find it’s easier to stick to a health regiment if they’re taking a pill as opposed to a food. As I said, it’s a matter of preference.

If you prefer the powdered capsule, you’ll want to take 1 gram of powdered leaf twice daily (WebMD). It’s recommended you swallow the capsule with a full glass of water about 30 minutes before a meal.

We prefer supplement brands that verify the contents of their capsules. This is why we like the white mulberry capsules made by BioGanix. Prior to bottling, the mulberry extract is tested for purity by an independent, 3rd party test lab. This removes any chance that you’re buying a mislabeled supplement. Their white mulberry capsules contain neither preservatives nor fillers.

We also like that BioGanix sources mulberry from organic farms in India. The plant material is then processed in a FDA regulated/GMP approved manufacturing facility in Houston, Texas.

Nal-Life White Mulberry Leaves Tea Pack

We’ve heard from some readers whom prefer drinking their mulberry in a tea, rather than popping a capsule or eating the dried fruit.

Nal-Life uses white mulberry leaves that are grown in Thailand. The leaves are dried in the shade so as to preserve the integrity of the leaf. Each of these packages comes with 40 tea bags.

I’ve heard from many folks that enjoy a cup of white mulberry tea after a meal. These folks report that the tea helps prevent the energy crash that’s often experienced after a meal. Others have informed us that this tea did in fact bring down their blood sugar levels and contributed to a feeling of fullness. In other words, the tea helped curb their appetite.

The tea bags arrive sealed in a foil bag. You can re-seal the bag with a zip-lock type fastener.

foods that lower blood sugar

The author, Dr. Kevin Curran, in the Sonoran Desert near his hometown in San Diego, California.

Dr. Curran has a long history as a research biologist: working with genetics, molecular biology, neuroscience and ethnobotany. He is currently researching new ways to use plants to address human health issues.

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At EthnoHerbalist we only discuss the most effective medicinal plants. Please read our other herbal supplement reviews…

Citations

Aguiree, Florencia, et al. “IDF diabetes atlas.” (2014).

Andallu, Bondada, et al. “Effect of mulberry (Morus indica L.) therapy on plasma and erythrocyte membrane lipids in patients with type 2 diabetes.” Clinica Chimica Acta 314.1 (2001): 47-53.

Aramwit, Pornanong, Kanokwan Petcharat, and Ouppatham Supasyndh. “Efficacy of mulberry leaf tablets in patients with mild dyslipidemia.” Phytotherapy Research 25.3 (2011): 365-369.

Butt, Masood Sadiq, et al. “Morus alba L. nature’s functional tonic.” Trends in Food Science & Technology 19.10 (2008): 505-512.

Chung, HI, et al. “Acute intake of mulberry leaf aqueous extract affects postprandial glucose response after maltose loading: Randomized double-blind placebo-controlled pilot study.” Journal of Functional Foods, 5 (2013), pp. 1502–1506.

Castelli, William P., et al. “Incidence of coronary heart disease and lipoprotein cholesterol levels: the Framingham Study.” Jama 256.20 (1986): 2835-2838.

Downs, John R., et al. “Primary prevention of acute coronary events with lovastatin in men and women with average cholesterol levels: results of AFCAPS/TexCAPS.” Jama 279.20 (1998): 1615-1622.

Kimura, Toshiyuki, et al. “Food-grade white mulberry leaf powder enriched with 1-deoxynojirimycin suppresses the elevation of postprandial blood glucose in humans.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 55.14 (2007): 5869-5874.

Mahmoud, Hemdan Ibrahem, et al. “Hypoglycemic effect of white (Morus alba L.) and black (Morus nigra L.) white mulberry benefits in diabetic rat; foods that lower blood sugar naturally.” European Journal of Chemistry 5.1 (2014): 65-72.

Miyahara, Chieko, et al. “Inhibitory effects of mulberry leaf extract on postprandial hyperglycemia in normal rats.” Journal of nutritional science and vitaminology 50.3 (2004): 161-164.

Singab, Abdel Nasser B., et al. “Hypoglycemic effect of Egyptian Morus alba root bark extract: effect on diabetes and lipid peroxidation of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 100.3 (2005): 333-338.

Tao, Ziqi, Aimin Shi, and Jing Zhao. “How to lower sugar levels: Epidemiological Perspectives of Diabetes.” Cell biochemistry and biophysics (2015): 1-5.

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