Deep purple health

The mulberry tree (Morus nigra) is famous worldwide, as its leaves are the principle food of the silkworm. But its wine-coloured fruit, available in the summer months, is also a delight. The fruit, commonly known as shehtut, can either be eaten fresh or prepared into jellies and other preserves. A sherbat or fruity wine can also be prepared. The wood of the tree is used for manufacturing tool handles and goods like tennis rackets.

The fruits are rich in vitamin a, potassium, phosphorous and calcium. They have a strong anti-inflammatory and antiseptic action; they help clean the blood. They are particularly useful for people with acid-saturated bodies as well as rheumatic problems, gout and arthritis. A syrup made from the juice of the fruit is widely used for adding flavour and colour to medicines. The Chinese use the fruit as a medicinal agent to benefit the kidneys and treat weakness, fatigue, anaemia and premature greying of hair. It is also used to treat urinary diseases and constipation. Anybody having dry or stressed eyes must drink mulberry juice, as it nourishes the body fluid and strengthens eyesight. The juice can also be applied topically to the head to promote hair growth.

Mulberry leaves are also useful: Chinese use them for curing liver and lung diseases; they help clear lung heat (which can manifest as fever, headache, sore throat or cough) and clear fire in the liver (which is manifested as red, painful and watery eyes). They are also used to stop bleeding, especially in patients who are vomiting blood. In addition, in vitro studies have shown that decoctions made from the leaves can inhibit the progress of several bacteria. Recent research shows that mulberry leaf extracts can also help treat diabetes.

Madhu Bala is a reader in economics, School of Social Sciences, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi

Inside mulberry


Carbohydrates      7.8-9.2
Proteins     0.4-1.5
Fat      0.4-0.5
Free acids     1.1-1.9
Fibres      0.9-1.
In per cent (on an average)