The Benefits of White Mulberry

white mulberry
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White mulberry is a plant used in herbal medicine. Most commonly sourced from the leaves, fruit, or bark of the plant, white mulberry extract is said to offer a number of benefits. For example, use of dietary supplements containing white mulberry is purported to aid in diabetes and cholesterol control.

White mulberry contains a variety of compounds thought to influence health. The fruit of the white mulberry plant, for instance, appears to be rich in anthocyanins (a class of substances with antioxidant effects).

Anthocyanins are also found in cranberries, blueberries, and raspberries.

Uses for White Mulberry

Long used in herbal medicine, white mulberry is often touted as a natural treatment for the following health concerns:

In addition, white mulberry is said to alleviate pain in the joints and muscles, boost the immune system, promote hair growth, and protect against premature graying of the hair.

The Benefits of White Mulberry

Although there's currently a lack of clinical trials testing the health effects of white mulberry, some preliminary studies show that white mulberry may provide certain health benefits. Here's a look at some key findings from the available research on white mulberry:

Diabetes

Several animal-based studies indicate that white mulberry may help fight diabetes.

These studies include a report published in Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine in 2013, in which tests on diabetic rats revealed that treatment with white mulberry anthocyanins helped lower the animals' blood sugar levels.

Additionally, in a small study published in Advances in Medical Sciences in 2017, participants ate breakfast cereal with low-fat milk with either a single dose of mulberry leaf extract or a placebo.

Results revealed that starch digestion and absorption decreased after the meal taken with the mulberry leaf extract.

High Cholesterol

There's some evidence that white mulberry may help keep cholesterol in check. For instance, a small study published in Phytotherapy Research in 2011 examined the effects of a white mulberry leaf extract taken three times a day before meals for 12 weeks in participants with dyslipdemia (abnormal amounts of one or more types of lipid in the blood).

After four and eight weeks, triglyceride levels were significantly reduced. At the study's end, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol were significantly reduced. HDL cholesterol had increased.

Side Effects

Side effects that were reported in one study include mild diarrhea, dizziness, constipation, and bloating.

Due to a lack of scientific studies testing the effects of white mulberry extract in humans, little is known about the safety of long-term or regular use of white mulberry or how it might interact with various medications. However, since white mulberry appears to lower blood sugar levels, it's important for people taking diabetes medication (or any medication that affects blood sugar) to consult their physicians prior to using white mulberry.

Keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety and dietary supplements are largely unregulated.

Also, the safety of supplements, particularly in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications, has not been established.

Alternatives to White Mulberry

Several other remedies show promise as a natural means of regulating your blood sugar and lowering your cholesterol. These remedies include cinnamon, glucomannan, and acacia fiber. However, it should be noted that using any type of dietary supplement as a substitute for standard care in the treatment of conditions like diabetes and high cholesterol may have serious health consequences.

In addition, a wide range of natural substances also contain anthocyanins (one of the compounds thought to contribute to white mulberry's potentially health-enhancing effects). To get your fill of anthocyanins, consider increasing your intake of acai, cranberry, elderberry, and/or tart cherries.

Where to Find It

Many natural-foods stores and other stores specializing in dietary supplements sell white mulberry extract. White mulberry supplements can also be purchased online.

The Takeaway

Due to the limited clinical trials on white mulberry, it's too soon to recommend it as a treatment for diabetes or any other condition. If you're still considering using it, make sure to consult your primary care provider first about whether it's right for you.

Sources:

Aramwit P, Petcharat K, Supasyndh O. Efficacy of mulberry leaf tablets in patients with mild dyslipidemia. Phytother Res. 2011 Mar;25(3):365-9.

Józefczuk J, Malikowska K, Glapa A, et al. Mulberry leaf extract decreases digestion and absorption of starch in healthy subjects-A randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Adv Med Sci. 2017 May 11;62(2):302-306.

Sarikaphuti A, Nararatwanchai T, Hashiguchi T, et al. Preventive effects of Morus alba L. anthocyanins on diabetes in Zucker diabetic fatty rats. Exp Ther Med. 2013 Sep;6(3):689-695.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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