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White Mulberry Leaf

White Mulberry Leaf | Sang Ye
COMMON NAME (Chinese Name)

White Mulberry Leaf (Sang Ye)

BOTANICAL NAME

Morus alba

USES

Anecdotal and empirical evidence both suggest that white mulberry leaf is a multi-functional herb that has various medicinal and cosmetic effects on the human body.

Presently, research suggests that white mulberry leaf extract contains antimicrobial agents that (when used topically) are effective against the microbes involved in several common human infections, including staph infections, thrush, and vaginal yeast infections. When used in oral rinses, white mulberry leaf extract (like white mulberry root extract) may prevent the development of gingivitis, periodontitis, and dental caries (though more leaf-extract specific research is needed to confirm this). Meanwhile, topical application of white mulberry leaf extract may help prevent skin damage due to environmental toxins.

In addition to its antimicrobial properties, white mulberry leaf extract has potent antioxidative effects that may be both generally tonifying and cardioprotective. Research supports the idea that taking white mulberry leaf by mouth in its concentrated extract form may also reduce post-meal blood sugar levels, making it potentially helpful in the management of diabetes. Similarly, some studies suggest that taking mulberry leaf extract by mouth may have anti-diabetic and antiobesity effects, making it a potential safe therapy for reducing liver fat and body weight.

When ingested whole, white mulberry leaf makes a good source of protein. It may also act as a neuroprotective functional food supplement that staves off and slows the progression of neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Also when eaten whole rather than decocted, white mulberry leaf may considerably improve skin tone and complexion.

In Chinese medicine white mulberry leaf is categorized as an herb that dispels phlegm and stops breathing. It is classified as sweet and cold. It primarily affects the Lung and Spleen meridians. So traditionally a decoction was used for wheezing and coughing.

PREPARATION & ADMINISTRATION

White mulberry leaf may be prepared via aqueous (hot-water) decoctions or in alcohol-based extracts, and can also be eaten whole or ground into a meal-type substance for direct ingestion. There is some degree of difference between the strengths and functions of different types of white mulberry leaf extracts. Hot water decoctions yield higher concentrations of antioxidant compounds than alcohol-based extraction processes. Yet alcohol-based extracts have more measurable impacts on improving memory and cognition.

PRECAUTIONS

Though research suggests that oral supplementation with fairly high doses of white mulberry leaf extract has no observable side-effects, anyone considering taking mulberry leaf or other supplements should consult with a physician, a certified herbalist, or other qualified healthcare professional. Health researchers have noted that white mulberry leaf has the potential to alter blood and tissue conditions and biochemical processes in the body which can pose unique issues for those with diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, and neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. Be sure to disclose these conditions to your doctor during your conversation about whether white mulberry leaf is right for you. 

REFERENCES

Butt, Masood Sadiq, et al. “Morus Alba L. Nature’s Functional Tonic.” Trends in Food Science & Technology, vol. 19, no. 10, 2008, pp. 505–512., doi:10.1016/j.tifs.2008.06.002.

Chiang Chan, Eric Wei, et al. “Phytochemistry, Pharmacology, and Clinical Trials of Morus Alba.” ScienceDirect, Jan. 2016, www.researchgate.net/publication/297765715_Phytochemistry_pharmacology_and_clinical_trials_of_Morus_alba.

Oliveira, Alisson Macário De, et al. “Evaluation of Toxicity and Antimicrobial Activity of an Ethanolic Extract from Leaves of Morus Alba L. (Moraceae).” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2015, 2015, pp. 1–7., doi:10.1155/2015/513978.

Peng, Chiung-Huei, et al. “Mulberry Water Extracts Possess an Anti-Obesity Effect and Ability To Inhibit Hepatic Lipogenesis and Promote Lipolysis.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, vol. 59, no. 6, 2011, pp. 2663–2671., doi:10.1021/jf1043508.

Phimarn, Wiraphol, et al. “A Meta-Analysis of Efficacy of Morus Alba Linn. to Improve Blood Glucose and Lipid Profile.” European Journal of Nutrition, vol. 56, no. 4, 2016, pp. 1509–1521., doi:10.1007/s00394-016-1197-x.

Polumackanycz, Milena, et al. “A Comparative Study on the Phenolic Composition and Biological Activities of Morus Alba L. Commercial Samples.” Molecules, vol. 24, no. 17, 2019, p. 3082., doi:10.3390/molecules24173082.

Smitha, C. “ANTIMICROBIAL AND ANTIPLASMID ACTIVITIES OF MORUS ALBA L.AGAINST POTENT ORAL PATHOGENS.” International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences, 2016, ijpbs.net/abstract.php?article=NTE5Mw.

Woo, Hyunju, et al. “Protective Effect of Mulberry (Morus Alba L.) Extract against Benzo[a]Pyrene Induced Skin Damage through Inhibition of Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Signaling.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, vol. 65, no. 50, 2017, pp. 10925–10932., doi:10.1021/acs.jafc.7b04044.

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