Deciduous tree growing to about 49 ft (15 m). Has toothed leaves, flowers in catkins, and white berries.
Habitat & Cultivation
White mulberry is native to China. It is grown worldwide as a garden ornamental. The leaves are gathered in late autumn, the twigs in early summer, and the berries when ripe in summer. The root is dug up in winter.
Leaves, twigs, fruit, root bark.
The leaves contain flavonoids, anthocyanins, and artocapin. The flavonoids are antioxidant. The fruit contains the vitamins A, B1, B2, and C.
History & Folklore
White mulberry has been cultivated for over 5,000 years for its leaves (sang ye), the preferred food of the silkworm. The silkworm’s feces are used in Chinese medicine to treat vomiting.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
White mulberry leaves are expectorant, encouraging the loosening and coughing up of phlegm, and are prescribed in China as a treatment for coughs. The leaves are also taken to treat fever, sore and inflamed eyes, sore throats, headaches, dizziness and vertigo. The fruit juice is cleansing and tonic, and has often been used as a gargle and mouthwash.
The root bark may be used for toothache, and it is considered laxative. An extract of the leaves has been given by injection for elephantiasis. The twigs are used to combat excess fluid retention and joint pain. The fruit is taken to prevent premature graying of the hair, and to treat dizziness, ringing in the ears, blurred vision, and insomnia.
The black mulberry (M. nigra), native to Iran, is cultivated for its sweet, deep red fruit.