(Morus alba L.) White mulberry is a tree species of the Moraceae family, growing rapidly (2-2.5 metres growth per year), and up to 10-20 metres tall. White mulberry is native to South-East Asia and very well known in the tropical and moderate climate zones.
The white mulberry fruits are edible and resemble blackberry fruits.
White mulberries are often confused with black mulberry or red mulberry. Why? Because of the different colours of the fruits, which can be white, pink, red or purple. Not only the fruits, but also the bark, roots and, above all, leaves have many uses in the herbal, pharmaceutical, food and cosmetics industries.
White mulberry and its leaves are rich in active ingredients.
White mulberry leaves contain many nutrients and therapeutic substances, but mainly protein and fibre (about 40%). White mulberries also contain vitamins, vitamin C and β-carotene with a powerful antioxidant effect, organic acids and macro- and micro-elements such as magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc and phosphorus. White mulberry leaves are also an important source of polyphenols, among which the most important are flavonoids.
White mulberry is a tree with many possibilities.
The substances contained in the leaves and fruits of the white mulberry inhibit sugar degradation and maintain an accurate level of blood sugar, which is particularly important for our health. By slowing down the enzymes involved in carbohydrate digestion, white mulberry has a positive effect on the body’s carbohydrate metabolism. White mulberry leaves are a rich source of antioxidants that can neutralise free radicals responsible for cell damage.Flavonoid compounds found in the leaves demonstrate an anti-inflammatory effect and support the normal functioning of the liver. In addition, leaf extracts reduce the ‘bad cholesterol’ level in the blood, supporting thereby the cardiovascular system.
White mulberry in cosmetics: how does it work on our skin?
In addition to its internal effects, white mulberry has some properties used in skincare.White mulberry delays the ageing process, and its extracts improve the skin’s condition through moisturising and smoothing effects. White mulberry leaves also contain ingredients with skin whitening properties, which help to reduce pigmentation and freckles. Flavonoid compounds (kvertecine), which have the ability to protect cells, cell membranes and DNA against the harmful effects of free radicals, are responsible for this effect.
White mulberry is a well-known plant in the Far East, where it has been used for centuries not only in treatments, but also in everyday life.
Chinese legends say that since 2,600 B.C., the white mulberry tree has been used for silkworm production, and the Chinese made the first money from its bark. The people of the Himalayas ground dried fruits into flour and used it in conditioning preparations during long journeys. Until now, mulberry leaf infusions are widely consumed in Asian countries, mainly in Korea and Japan. White mulberry was quickly introduced into Europe, together with the aforementioned silkworms (around the eleventh century), and probably came to Poland around the eighteenth/nineteenth century. The term ‘white mulberry’ is usually associated with its whitish fruit, but in fact comes from the white colour of its bark.