Mulberries are sweet Indian berries that are available during a short period twice a year – from March to May and then again from October to November. They hang from a genus of deciduous trees that grow in a variety of temperate areas around the world. Mulberry (Morus) belongs to the Moraceae plant family and includes several species, such as the black mulberry (M. nigra), red mulberry (M. rubra), and white mulberry (M. alba).
Mulberry leaves have a variety of culinary, medicinal, and industrial applications. The leaves, which are the favorite food of silkworms, fall off in winter and grow back the following season. Mulberries ripen over a few months and fully mature in May. Mulberry is popularly known as Shahtoot in Hindi.
Mulberries are full of nutrients and vitamins. A cup of raw mulberries contains only 60 calories, making them a light and tasty snack, yet providing the nutrients necessary for the body. Mulberries contain carbohydrates that convert sugar into glucose, thereby providing energy to the cells. Consuming mulberries increases your iron intake and ensures ample supply of oxygen to the tissues.
Mulberries are rich in Vitamin K and C. Vitamin C increases tissue strength and boosts collagen synthesis. Vitamin K helps in bone tissue development and is an essential component for blood clotting. They also contain Riboflavin (also known as B-2), which protects your tissues from free radicals and helps in transferring oxygen throughout the body.
Some benefits of Mulberry (Shahtoot patta) leaves are as follows-
- May lower blood sugar and insulin- Mulberry leaves provide several compounds that may help combat diabetes. These include 1-deoxynojirimycin (DNJ), which prevents the absorption of carbs in your gut. In particular, these leaves may reduce high levels of blood sugar and insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.
- Anti-Inflammatory Effects- According to scientists and researchers, mulberry leaf helps inhibit the body’s response to compounds that induce inflammation.
- Improves heart health- Eating mulberries is beneficial for your heart. It strengthens the nervous system and reduces bad cholesterol thus preventing the blockage in the flow of blood. So, it can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
- Loaded with Antioxidant and Mineral Powerhouse- Mulberry leaves are rich in some of the essential minerals such as Iron, Calcium, Zinc. In addition to this, the leaf contains potent amounts of beta carotene and ascorbic acid. Antioxidants are mainly required in the body to help get rid of free radicals from body cells. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) works wonders in preventing inflammation, muscular degeneration, cardiovascular conditions, and even cancer. It is also the vitamin your body needs especially when stressed or suffering from depression. Vitamin C is required for the healthy development of skin cells, as well. Beta carotene, on the other hand, is vital for improved eye and skin health. This vitamin is commonly found in pigmented vegetables including onions and carrots.
- Diminishes the chances of getting cancer- Mulberries are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients that help in stopping the growth and spread of tumor cells and protect one from cancer. Mulberries are full of anthocyanins that help in keeping cancer cells at bay. They also contain resveratrol, which has anti-cancer properties. Resveratrol cancer inhibiting properties help in fighting colon cancer, skin cancer, prostate cancer, and thyroid.