Fruits

  




Mulberry Fruit 

 
Latin: Fructus mori albae
 
Origin:
The fruit of a plant belonging to the Morus (Moraceae) family. The black mulberry (Morus nigra L.), the most common species, is a native of western Asia that spread westward in cultivation at an early period. Up to the 15th century it was extensively grown in Italy for raising silkworms, but it has since been superseded by the white mulberry (Morus alba L.). Now an introduced species in North America, it is mainly cultivated for its large, juicy, purple-black fruits, which are superior in flavor to those of red mulberry (Morus rubra L.).

The mulberry tree grows to about 20 m by 15 m. The trunk is light grey, dark grey, or greyish brown. It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant). The plant is self-fertile. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil, and can tolerate atmospheric pollution.

Mulberry fruit is a small berry, weighing 4-5 g maximum. The color depends on the cultivar. For Morus alba L., some cultivar have white fruits, other ones have black fruits; for Morus nigra L., the fruit is black; for Morus rubra L. and Morus multicaulis Loud, some cultivars have black fruits, some others have deep red fruits when ripen; for Morus kagayamae Koidz, the fruit is black.

The fruit falls from the tree as soon as it is fully ripe. It is best, therefore, to grow the tree in short grass to cushion the fall of the fruit but to still make it possible to find and harvest. The fruit is up to 25 mm in diameter.

The mulberry has a long history of medicinal use in Chinese medicine, almost all parts of the plant are used in one way or another.

The leaves are collected after the first frosts of autumn and can be used fresh but are generally dried.

The branches are harvested in late spring or early summer and are dried for later use.

The roots are harvested in the winter and dried for later use.

See also Herbs, Tonics for Deficiency Syndromes, Yin Tonics, Mulberry Fruit.
 
Properties:
Sweet and sour in flavor, mild in nature, it is related to the liver and kidney channels.
 
Functions:
Moistens and tones liver and kidneys, nourishes blood, sharpens vision, produces fluids, quenches thirst, benefits vital energy and eliminates excessive fluids.
 
Applications:
Mulberry fruit is used for liver-kidney yin deficiency, ringing in ears, dizziness, insomnia, rheumatic pain, premature gray hair, constipation, diabetes.

1. For insomnia:

Decoct 30-50 g mulberry fruit in water. Drink the whole solution at one draught before bedtime.

2. For rheumatic pain in body:

Prepare 200 g mulberry fruit. Boil under slow fire until pasty. Divide the paste in 3 equal parts, and consume in 3 dosages.
 
Dosage and Administration:
Mulberry fruit can be eaten raw, cooked or used in preserves.

A delicious slightly acid flavor, it makes an excellent dessert fruit and can be eaten in quantity. The fruit is juicy and refreshing, though it must be used as soon as it is ripe (from mid-August to September) otherwise it will start to rot.

The fruit can also be dried and ground into a powder.
 
Cautions on Use:
 
Reference Materials:
 
Toxic or Side Effects:
 
Modern Researches:
Mulberry fruit is rich in carrotene, vitamins B1, B2 and C, glucose, sucrose, morin, tartaric acid and succinic acid.

Morin (a yellow crystalline substance of acid properties extracted from fustic and other members of the mulberry family) could suppress biocatalysts called "Sortas" that are in Gram-positive bacteria inhabiting in the large intertestine. The chief function of "Sortas" is to transport protein. Once "Sortas" is suppressed, Gram-positive bacteria will gradually be exhausted, effecting weight loss.

The large intestine houses over 700 species of bacteria, numbering 100 trillion. There are two main types of bacteria and they are Gram-negative (Bacteroidetes) and Gram-positive (Firmicutes). A group of US researchers published a paper in Nature (see Peter J. Turnbaugh, Ruth E. Ley, Michael A. Mahowald, Vincent Magrini, Elaine R. Mardis and Jeffrey I. Gordon, "An obesity-associated gut microbiome with increased capacity for energy harvest," Nature, Volume 444, Number 7122 (21 December 2006), pp. l,027-1,031), claiming that fat people have a different mix of bacteria in their guts than thin people. This mix of bacteria can actually cause weight gain. The ratio of proportions of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes (called the F/B ratio) is higher in obese people than in lean people, and it drops as those people lose weight.

Recent research has shown improvements in elephantiasis (enlargement and thickening of tissues) when treated with leaf extract injections and in tetanus (an acute infectious disease characterized by tonic spasm of voluntary muscles especially of the jaw and caused by the specific toxin of a bacterium (Clostridium tetani) which is usually introduced through a wound) following oral doses of the sap mixed with sugar.

The leaves are antibacterial, astringent, diaphoretic (increase perspiration), hypoglycaemic (abnormal decrease of sugar in the blood), odontalgic (relating to or marked by toothache) and ophthalmic (relating to, or situated near the eye). They are taken internally in the treatment of colds, influenza, eye infections and nosebleeds.

The stems are antirheumatic, diuretic, hypotensive and pectoral (something worn on the breast). A tincture of the bark is used to relieve toothache.

The fruit has a tonic effect on kidney energy. It is used in the treatment of urinary incontinence, tinnitus (a sensation of noise (as a ringing or roaring) that is caused by a bodily condition), premature greying of the hair and constipation in the elderly. Its main use in herbal medicine is as a coloring and flavoring in other medicines.

The root bark is antitussive, diuretic, expectorant and hypotensive. It is used internally in the treatment of asthma, coughs, bronchitis, oedema, hypertension and diabetes.

The bark is anthelmintic (expelling or destroying parasitic worms especially of the intestine) and purgative, it is used to expel tape worms.

Extracts of the plant have antibacterial and fungicidal activity.

A homeopathic remedy is made from the leaves. It is used in the treatment of diabetes.

A fibre used in weaving is obtained from the bark.

A red-violet to dark purple dye is obtained from the fruit.

A yellow-green dye is obtained from the leaves.
 
 
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