are a product of the Morus alba tree that grow wild throughout the US and other parts of the world. They are often overlooked and considered a nuisance since many people are not aware of the many health benefits and nutritional value they contain.
If you are lucky enough to have a mulberry tree growing near you, harvesting the mulberries can provide many health benefits and can be used in many delicious recipes.
When I was a child I remember the game we used to play “Hear we go Around the Mulberry Bush” but never thought about how healthy mulberries bushes were or how important they can be in our diets.
We had many mulberry trees on our farm and my mother made mulberry jam which was quite tasty on homemade bread fresh from the oven during the cold winter months.
Useful Facts About Mulberries:
When Mulberries begin to ripen late May through July – turn to an almost black color (resemble a long blackberry) and this is when they are ready for harvest. Their rich juice can stain your fingers and will mush if you attempt to pick them by hand.
Since it not feasible to pick them by hand they are easily harvested from a tree using a tarp and branch hook. You can place a wide tarp, blanket, net or sheet below the branch of the tree or bush and shake it with your hand or with a rake or branch hook.
Or some people just leave a tarp or blanket with a few rocks to hold it down under the tree or bush for a few days and check it daily as the mulberries fall naturally.
There are also other varieties of mulberries that the fruits of the tree are white when ripe; this fruit in this cultivar is also sweet but has a very mild flavor compared to the darker variety.
Mulberries are a natural food
colorants due to their rich dark potential color and can be used as a natural food dye instead of toxic synthetic artificial dyes that can cause many health problems.
Mulberries are considered an important food remedy in Chinese medicine and are a traditional folk remedy in many countries where mulberries have been eaten for hundreds of years.
Mulberries are also an ancient fruit of Asia and known in medicinal folklore as a remedy for ringworm, insomnia, arthritis, and tapeworm.
Health Benefits of Mulberries:
1. Great source of Nutrients — Mulberries are an excellent source of vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin K, and iron. They are also a good source of dietary fiber, protein, riboflavin, phosphorus, magnesium, folic acid, and potassium.
These vitamins are function as co-factors and help body in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
Mulberries contain antioxidant powers that lessen the damage caused by free radicals. According to the University of Texas Health Science Center – mulberries contain one special antioxidant that has recently been touted for its anti-aging and longevity abilities –“Resveratrol.
Resveratrol is an polyphenol flavonoid antioxidant that is also found in red grapes a red wine. The power of the antioxidants in mulberries can also help to prevent cancer and aid in treatment of existing cancer.
Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine have used mulberry as a remedy for inflammation. A recent Romanian study discovered that a curcumin and mulberry leaf combination may be a new lead into natural remedies for inflammation.
4. Lower Your Blood Pressure
According to the March 2008 issue of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” mulberries health benefits include a positive affect on blood circulation and lower your blood pressure, make you less susceptible to blood clots, strokes, help to prevent heart disease, and lower cholesterol.
5. Weight Loss Benefits
Mulberries can help you lose weight because 1 cup of raw mulberries has only 60 calories, is high in fiber, and has a high water content.
6. Immune System Support
Mulberries are beneficial for the immune system. They contain alkaloids that activate macrophages. Macrophages are white blood cells that stimulate the immune system, putting it on high active alert against health threats.
7. Retina Protection for your Eyes
Mulberries contain Zea-xanthin, an important dietary carotenoid selectively concentrates into the retinal macula lutea, where it thought to provide antioxidant functions and protects the retina from the harmful ultraviolet rays through light-filtering actions.
8. Help Anemia
Because of their high iron content mulberry juice may help those that suffer from anemia.
9. Regulates Blood Sugar
This amazing fruit helps to regulate the blood sugar levels and prevents diabetes. More formal research is needed, but mulberry is thought to contain compounds that support balanced blood sugar levels. Traditional medicine in China, Trinidad and Tobago have all used mulberry leaves to promote balanced blood sugar levels.
10. Good for Digestion
Because mulberries are high in fiber it acts as a mild laxative. Eating mulberries on an empty stomach with a glass of water helps to treat constipation. Adding mulberries to your regular diet can help to prevent indigestion.