Herb: White Mulberry


Latin name: Morus alba multicaulis


Synonyms: Morus multicaulis


Family: Moraceae (Mulberry Family)



Medicinal use of White Mulberry:

The white mulberry has a long history of medicinal use in Chinese medicine, almost all parts of the plant are used in one way or another. Recent research has shown improvements in elephantiasis when treated with leaf extract injections and in tetanus following oral doses of the sap mixed with sugar. Analgesic, emollient, sedative. The leaves are antibacterial, astringent, diaphoretic, hypoglycaemic, odontalgic and ophthalmic. They are taken internally in the treatment of colds, influenza, eye infections and nosebleeds. The leaves are collected after the first frosts of autumn and can be used fresh but are generally dried. The stems are antirheumatic, diuretic, hypotensive and pectoral. A tincture of the bark is used to relieve toothache. The branches are harvested in late spring or early summer and are dried for later use. The fruit has a tonic effect on kidney energy. It is used in the treatment of urinary incontinence, tinnitus, premature greying of the hair and constipation in the elderly. 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 roots are harvested in the winter and dried for later use. Extracts of the plant have antibacterial and fungicidal activity.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Tree

Height:
18 m
(59 feet)

Flovering:
May

Habitat of the herb:

Not known in a truly wild situation.

Edible parts of White Mulberry:

Fruit - raw. Sweet but usually insipid. It contains about 1.5% protein, 0.4% fat, 7.8% carbohydrate, 0.7% malic acid. A richer flavour develops if the fruit is dried, it can then be used as a raisin substitute. The fruit is up to 25mm long. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Young leaves and shoots - cooked. A famine food, it is only used when all else fails. A good vegetable, it is rich in carotene and calcium. The leaf also contains 10% tannin. Inner bark - roasted and ground into a meal then used as a thickener in soups etc or mixed with cereals when making bread. A famine food when all else fails. The tree is said to be a source of an edible manna. Young shoots can be used as a tea substitute.

Other uses of the herb:

A fibre is obtained from the bark of one-year old stems, it is used in weaving. A brown dye is obtained from the trunk. The leaves contain 10% tannin. Wood - hard, durable, fine and close-grained. Used for boat building, furniture etc.

Propagation of White Mulberry:

The seed germinates best if given 2 - 3 months cold stratification. Sow the seed as soon as it is ripe if possible, otherwise in February in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in the first spring, though it sometimes takes another 12 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 - 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Plant out in spring. A good percentage take, though they sometimes fail to thrive. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, 25 - 30cm with a heel of 2 year old wood, autumn or early spring in a cold frame or a shady bed outside. Bury the cuttings to threequarters of their depth. Layering in autumn.

Cultivation of the herb:

Not known in a truly wild situation.

Known hazards of Morus alba multicaulis:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.