Last night an unknown neighbor knocked at my door wanting to trade plums for picking my mulberries. My heart almost dropped to the floor.
Now I don't have anything against plums; they're dark and juicy, too -- just how I like them. But nothing matches mulberries and we only have one tree planted by Michael years ago. Unfortunately, he planted it outside of our fence. I guess that does seem to make the berries fair game.
So early this morning I trudged out under the foggy sky and picked all I could. Last week I had only gotten two handfuls; now I filled a small bucket. As juice dripped down my arm I realized how the darkest berries were hidden behind and between the leaves, best found by standing under them. (So often the best things in life are right under our noses but take a shift of perspective to see!) So I put my back to the trunk, stuck my head between the branches and happily picked away. The berries practically fell into my can with the touch of a finger.
I had thought of baking a pie but couldn't wait -- they just had to go into my breakfast bowl. Yum.
Mulberry trees provide amazing herbal medicine. All parts are used and they host mistletoe, too (Loranthus parasiticus; sang ji sheng).
The mulberry tree is a pharmacopoeia in itself, and is amazing for how its many parts are widely used for such different purposes. (This may be due to the Chinese interest in the silk worm, which feeds on the tree, and since the Chinese are the major producers of silk in the world, they learned a great deal about the tree). The mulberry tree is an excellent study in how each part of a plant works uniquely, particularly when prepared in different ways.
Fruit: dizziness, tinnitus, insomnia, premature graying hair, constipation due to Deficient Blood, wasting and thirsting disorder (diabetes, TB)
Leaf: fever, headache, sore throat, cough with thick, yellow phlegm, dry mouth, red, sore, dry or painful eyes, spots in front of eyes, vomiting of blood due to Heat in Blood
Twigs: edema, arthritis, rheumatism and painful joints, especially in the upper extremities
Root bark: coughing and wheezing due to Lung Heat (yellow mucus and inflammation), edema, facial edema, swelling of extremities, fever and thirst, difficulty in urination, hypertension
Morus alba; Moraceae C, W
Parts Used: fruit, leaf, twigs, root bark
Energy, taste and Organs affected:
Fruit: cold; sweet; Heart, Liver, Kidney
Leaf: cold; sweet, bitter; Liver, Lung
Twigs: slightly cold; bitter, sweet; Liver
Root bark: cold; sweet; Lung, Spleen
Fruit: tonifies Blood
Leaf: cools and releases the Exterior
Twigs: dispel Wind and Dampness
Root bark: relieves coughing and wheezing
Fruit: demulcent, nutritive
Twigs: antirheumatic, antispasmodic
Root bark: expectorant, antitussive
Fruit: carotene, thiamene, riboflavin, Vitamin C, tannin, linoleic acid, stearic acid
Leaf: carotene, succine acid, adenine, choline, amylase
Twigs: mulberrin, mulberrochromene, cyclomulberrin, morin, cudranin, maclurin, cyclomulberrochromene, tetrahydroxystilbene, dihydromorin, dihydrokaempferol, fructose, glucose, arabinose, xylose, stachyose, sucrose
Root bark: morusin, mulberrin, mulberrochromene, cyclomulberrin, cyclomulberrochromene
Dose: infuse leaves, decoct the rest:
Fruit: 6-15 g; often used in syrup form
Leaf: 4.5-15 g; toast in honey for cough or Lung Dryness; external wash for eyes
Twigs: 10-30 g; often the old stems are used
Root bark: 6-15 g; honey-fry to stop coughing and wheezing
Fruit: diarrhea due to Spleen Deficiency
Leaf: none noted
Twigs: none noted
Root bark: excessive urination, cough due to Wind Cold
Other: Loranthus (Loranthus parasiticus; sang ji sheng), the mistletoe growing on the mulberry tree, is a Yin tonic used to treat low back and muscle pain, arthritis, rheumatism and hypertension.