According to Chinese legend, Empress His Ling Shi in the 27th century BC was sipping tea under a mulberry tree when a cocoon fell into her cup. The Empress tried to pull the cocoon out of her tea but found that only a thin strand slowly unwound itself from the cocoon. In amazement, she had discovered the very strong fiber known as silk. From that time on, silken garments became popular throughout Asia. There are records of the cultivation of mulberry tress in China dating back 3,000 years when the ancient Chinese used the mulberry tree for raising silkworms, papermaking, food, and the leaf was brewed as tea for its medicinal qualities.
What is Mulberry Leaf Tea?
Mulberry leaf tea is a mildly fresh tasting natural, caffeine-free drink that contains vitamins and minerals and is used to prevent and treat many health conditions, including cold symptoms, weight loss, blood vessel problems, and diabetes. Once indigenous to Asia, the mulberry tree is now cultivated worldwide. There are ten species of mulberry tree, the most well-known being white mulberry and black mulberry. Mulberry tree green leaves are harvested in autumn and dried for use in tea.
Mulberry Leaf Tea Nutrition
Mulberry leaves are highly nutritious and loaded with powerful plant compounds like polyphenols antioxidants, that can neutralize free radicals by donating an electron or hydrogen atom, as well as vitamin C, zinc, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
Mulberry tea contains:
• immune-boosting antioxidants
• anti-cancerous alkaloids
• 18 amino acids
• Vitamin A
• Vitamin B1
• Vitamin B2
• Vitamin C
• 0.01% or no caffeine
You may be surprised to discover that mulberry tea leaves contain 25 times more calcium than milk. Not only that, mulberry leaves have 10 times more iron than spinach, and over twice the fiber of green tea. No wonder it was used in China for thousands of years as a medicinal herb!
Mulberry Leaf Uses
Mulberry has a variety of culinary, medicinal, and industrial applications. The leaves are very mild tasting and commonly used to make tinctures and herbal teas which are a common health beverage in Asian countries. Young leaves can be eaten after cooking. You can also find mulberry leaf supplements, which have become increasingly popular for their potential health benefits.
Mulberry Tea is Best Known For:
- Reduction of unhealthy Cholesterol.
- Healthy Weight Loss
- Prevention and Recovery from Cold symptoms.
- Blood Sugar Balance for pre-diabetes (Mulberrytea.org.)
Mulberry Leaf: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Scholars in China substituted mulberry leaves for regular tea leaves in order to maintain youthful qualities. The dried leaf used as tea or in soup was used to expel wind and clear heat, reduce liver inflammation, and improve vision. Other uses in TCM include relieving cough and cold symptoms, curing dizziness, strengthening the eyes, promoting healthy blood, curing dysentery, treating stomachache, supporting liver function, and sustaining youthful skin.
Mulberry Leaf for Diabetes
Meanwhile, in Japan, records showed that mulberry leaf was used to treat diabetes. The Central Institute of Silkworm Industry in Japan developed the mulberry tea for health care, due to its content rich in protein, minerals, and vitamins. When drunk, the Japanese noted that it is a very convenient way to quickly absorb nutritive elements, along with promoting metabolism and removing fatigue. In Japan today, there are still many products which incorporate mulberry leaf, including rice noodles, sweet cake buckwheat noodles.
Mulberry Tea and Infections
According to modern research, it helps to clear fever, headache, sore throat, cough, and red or painful eyes. Mulberry tea can also inhibit the development of bacterial strains, including streptococcus, the cause of strep throat. Asians drink mulberry tea to prevent and recover from common cold symptoms.
Mulberry Leaf and Carbs
Mulberry tea naturally inhibits carbohydrate absorption. This is a
result of the compound moranoline (1-deoxynojirimycin). Moranoline inhibits an enzyme in the intestinal tract (alpha-glucosidase) involved in the digestion of carbohydrates. This means the starchy, carbohydrate-rich foods you eat, like bread, rice, pasta and potatoes, do not turn to glucose in your body and are simply flushed out. The lack of glucose in your system lowers your blood sugar levels, making you less hungry. Used as
part of a sensible diet, mulberry tea helps improve weight loss.
Mulberry Leaf and Circulation
Mulberry tea reduces the oxidization of cholesterol in the blood vessels, resulting in reduced risk of atherosclerosis (blocked blood vessels). This is due to quercetin and additional flavonoids contained in
mulberry leaves. These antioxidants inhibit oxidative stress reactions that produce atherosclerosis. For healthy blood vessels, drink mulberry tea as a regular supplement to a healthy lifestyle.
Mulberry Leaf and Blood Sugar
Mulberry leaf tea can balance blood sugar and aids in carbohydrate absorption according to a 2008 study. According to Medical News Today, the herb lowers post-meal blood sugar spikes and stabilizes blood sugar levels. As a result, drinking mulberry tea results in more sustained energy levels throughout the day.
For centuries, mulberry tea has been used as a treatment for diabetes mellitus in Asia. One of the most unique qualities of the mulberry leaf tea is its ability to prevent sugars from entering your bloodstream. Researchers in Japan found that mulberry leaves contain compounds that inhibit intestinal enzymes from passing sugars into the bloodstream. This inhibitor compound known as 1-deoxynojirimycin (DNJ), can only be extracted from the mulberry leaf. By preventing large amounts of monosaccharide from entering into circulation, mulberry tea helps prevent and fight diabetes. Persons using prescription drugs to treat pre-diabetes should monitor blood sugar by consulting their health care provider.
Those who are already taking medications for diabetes should avoid the mulberry tea. The medication may interact with the mulberry tea to increase the chances of low blood sugar or hypoglycemia.
Allergies are uncommon but can occur. Contact with the fresh green stems or leaves and white latex sap of the tree may cause irritation to the skin. Mulberry products should be discontinued and seek medical advice if use produces rapid pulse, breathing difficulty, wheezing and swelling.
Kidney disease patients may feel discomfort when drinking mulberry leaf tea due to its high presence of potassium. So it would be better to avoid the mulberry tea by kidney patients.
Those who are breast feeding, pregnant or are undergoing surgery within the next two weeks should avoid drinking the mulberry tea.
Side effects are possible with higher doses and may include mild diarrhea, dizziness, constipation, and bloating. Because of its effect on blood glucose, white mulberry should be used with guidance in people on diabetic medications, including insulin.
Pickled Mulberry Leaves
Brewed mulberry leaves can be eaten as a vegetable although the taste is bland. Pickling the leaves preserves the health benefits and adds flavor.
- 1 cup Brewed organic mulberry tea leaves
- 1 Tbsp. Lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- Spices such as Salt–free Dash, cumin, coriander and turmeric powder
- 1 clove Garlic, minced (optional)
- Sea salt or Himalayan salt
- 1 Tbsp. Oil
Drain and chop the brewed tea leaves removing the stems or blend the leaves to make roughly cut leaves. Add all the ingredients and mash the mixture into a sterile jar leaving about one inch at the top. Lemon and cider vinegar are helpful for the fermentation process and help to prevent/reduce kidney stones. After a few days, this can be enjoyed as a condiment or side dish.
The Academy of Healing Nutrition, which has graduated professional holistic health guides for over 40 years, offers an online certificate course in natural holistic nutrition and Taoist health practices. See www.academyhealingnutrition.com