Mulberry Dreams

Written by
Tierra mulberry tree

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.

It's also a lesson in Chinese; note how sang is the word for mulberry, while the words following it are names for each of the plant parts:

  • fruit: sang shen
  • leaf: sang ye
  • twigs: sang zhi
  • root bark: sang bai pi

Indications:

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

MULBERRY

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

Actions:

Fruit: tonifies Blood

Leaf: cools and releases the Exterior

Twigs: dispel Wind and Dampness

Root bark: relieves coughing and wheezing

Properties:

Fruit: demulcent, nutritive

Leaf: diaphoretic

Twigs: antirheumatic, antispasmodic

Root bark: expectorant, antitussive

Biochemical constituents:

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

Precautions:

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.

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