Valuable Properties of Mulberry (Morus L.) trees
by Jovita Turan, 14 June, 2020
Mulberry (Morus L.) is a fast - growing deciduous plant belonging to the family Moraceae. Mulberries can be grown in tropical, subtropical, and temperate climatic zones in a wide range of topographical and soil conditions. The plant is self-fertile and pollinated by insects, which means that only one plant is enough to obtain fruits.
The researches on mulberry leaves show, that they are nutritious, palatable, and non-toxic and when diary animals are being fed with mulberry leaves the milk yielding increases. In China and India, mulberry is mostly used for its foliage as well, mainly to feed silkworm (Bombyx mori L.). In Europe, the production of mulberries is focused on their fruits. The most grown species are black mulberry (Morus nigra L.) following by red (Morus rubra L.) and white (Morus alba L.) mulberries.
The most important biologically active compounds in mulberry fruits are the anthocyanins together with flavonoids and carotenoids. Mulberry leaves contain proteins, carbohydrates, calcium, iron, ascorbic acid, b-carotene, vitamin B-1, folic acid, and vitamin D. The leaves of mulberry also carry rutin, quercetin, isoquercetin, and other flavonoids.
Mulberry fruits in Chinese traditional medicine are used to treat fever, protect the liver from damage, strengthen the joints, facilitate discharge of urine, and lower blood pressure. Leaves of the plant have medicinal properties such as a diuretic, hypoglycemic and hypotensive activities. Moreover, juice of the leaves keeps skin smooth, healthy and prevent throat infections, irritations, and inflammations. Root bark having a bitter acid taste possessed cathartic and anthelmintic properties while the stem bark is used as purgative and vermifuge. Phenolics in the plant possess a wide spectrum of biochemical activities such as antioxidant, antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic properties, as well as the ability to modify gene expression.
The fruits of mulberry are eaten fresh, dried, used in marmalade, juices, liquors, natural dyes, and in the cosmetics industry. The young leaves and stems are consumed as a delicious vegetable as well.
The fruits of mulberry ripen in late summer. Harvesting of berries should be done very carefully as they bruises easily and may leave stains on skin and cloths due to high content of juice.
Arabshahi-Delouee, S., & Urooj, A. (2007). Antioxidant properties of various solvent extracts of mulberry (Morus indica L.) leaves. Food chemistry, 102(4), 1233-1240.
Bae, S. H., & Suh, H. J. (2007). Antioxidant activities of five different mulberry cultivars in Korea. LWT-Food Science and Technology, 40(6), 955-962.
Ercisli, S., & Orhan, E. (2007). Chemical composition of white (Morus alba), red (Morus rubra) and black (Morus nigra) mulberry fruits. Food Chemistry, 103(4), 1380-1384.
Venkatesh Kumar, R., & Chauhan, S. (2008). Mulberry: life enhancer. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research, 2(10), 271-278.