White Mulberry: Morus alba Uses, Research, Remedies, Side Effects

Tuta- Morus alba is an Ayurvedic herb used for the treatment of burning urination, dental caries, skin infections and intestinal worm infestation. Its common name is white mulberry. 

Latin name- Morus alba Linn.
Family- Moraceae

Names in different languages:
Hindi name- Shahatoot
English name- Mulberry (White)
Telugu and Tamil name- Malbari

Sanskrit Synonyms- Tula, Brahmadaru, Kramuka

Morphology:
The plant is a native of China and presently cultivated in the state of Punjab, Karnataka Uttar Pradesh and North Eastern states of India. It is a fast-growing, small to medium-sized tree which grows to 10–20 m tall. The white mulberry is widely cultivated to feed the silkworms employed in the commercial production of silk. It is also notable for the rapid release of its pollen.

The leaves are generally 5–15 cm long, cordate at the base and rounded to acuminate at the tip, and serrated on the margins. The flowers are single-sex catkins; male catkins are 2–3.5 cm long, and female catkins 1–2 cm long. Male and female flowers are usually on separate trees although they may occur on the same tree. The fruit is 1–2.5 cm long; in the species in the wild it is deep purple, but in many cultivated plants it varies from white to pink; it is sweet but bland.

Medicinal properties of white mulberry: 
Rasa (Taste) – Madhura (Sweet), Amla (Sour)
Guna (Qualities) – Guru (Heavy for digestion)
Vipaka – Madhura (Undergoes Sweet taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Sheeta (Cold)
Karma (Actions) – Vata shamaka (reduces vitiated vata dosha)

Part used- Leaf, Bark, Fruit
Dosage-
Bark powder- 3 to 5 g
Decoction- 50 to 100 ml

Chemical composition of Morus alba:
The plant is rich in phenolics. The leaves contain flavonoids, artocarpin, cycloartocarpin and analogues. The root of the plant contains flavonoids like kuwanons, sangennons, mulberrosides and mulberofurans. The small branches contain mulberrin, fructose, glucose, falvonoid, coumarin, arabinose, xylose, stachyose, sucrose. The fruit contains carotene, vitamins A and C, thamene, riboflavin, tannin, linoleic and stearic acids.

तूतः स्थूलश्च पूगश्च क्रमुको ब्रह्मदारु च |
तूतं पक्वं गुरु स्वादु हिमं पित्तानिलापहम् |
तदेवामं गुरु सरमम्लोष्णं रक्तपित्तकृत् ||                   भावप्रकाश- आम्रादिफलवर्ग

Uses of Tuta:

  • The paste of the bark of Tuta is applied on the area affected with dental caries and gingivitis.
  • The fruit of Mulberry is consumed to treat mild constipation and as coolant to the body.
  • The fresh juice is consumed to treat sore throat, lack of taste and general debility.
  • Decoction of the bark of Morus alba is given in a dose of 40-50 ml to treat burning micturition, cough associated with phlegm and to control diabetes.
  • The decoction from the leaves of Tuta is used for gargling in treating sore throat and gingivitis.
  • The root bark decoction is given in a dose of 40-60 ml to treat difficulty in micturition and inflammation of the joints associated with pain.
  • The paste of the leaves or bark of root is applied over the skin effected with ring worm, scabies and mild rashes.

Adverse effect: The fruit and bark decoction may cause diarrhea in some individuals.

Research articles related to Morus alba:
Nephro-toxicity protective action: Cisplatin (CP) as an important anti-tumor drug causes nephrotoxicity mainly by oxidative stress and renin-angiotensin system (RAS). Since flavonoids have high antioxidant activity and probable role in the inhibition of RAS, this study was designed to investigate the protective effect of hydroalcoholic extract and flavonoid fraction of Morus alba leaves on cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity in rat. It seems that concurrent use of flavonoid fraction of Morus alba with CP can protect kidneys from CP-induced nephrotoxicity.

Hypoglycemic action: The leaf extract of Morus alba (LEM) shows the competitive inhibition to α-glucosidase. This single- blinded, placebo-controlled study investigated the effects of LEM on postprandial glucose and insulin levels in type 2 diabetes patients treated with or without sulfonylurea hypoglycemic agents (SU). Elevations in glucose and insulin levels were suppressed and the excretion of breath hydrogen gas was markedly increased in healthy subjects after ingestion of jelly containing LEM. These results suggest that LEM can suppress the postprandial elevation of glucose and insulin independent of SU treatment.

Protective action on Ocular function: the present study was designed to investigate the protective use of crude water extract of Morus alba leaves on ocular functions including cataractogenesis, biochemical diabetic and hypercholesterolemic markers, retinal neurotransmitters and retinopathy of rat pups maternally subjected to either diabetes and/or hypercholesterolemia. Our data indicate that experimental maternal diabetes alone or in combination with hypercholesterolemia led to alteration in the ocular structures of their pups, with an increasing incidence of cataract and retinopathy, and the effects of the extract might be attributed to the hypoglycaemic, antihypercholesterolemic and anti-oxidative potential of flavonoids, the major components of the plant extract.

Anti- osteoporotic action: In this study, it was aimed to determine the anti-osteoporotic effect of the combined extract of Morus alba and Polygonum odoratum leaves. Ovari ectomized rats, weighing 200–220 g, were orally given the combined extract at doses of 5, 150, and 300 mg·kg−1 BW for 3 months. Results suggested the anti-osteoporotic effect of the combined extract via the increased growth formation together with the suppression of bone resorption.

Anti- dopaminergic effect: The effect of the methanolic extract of Morus alba L. leaves was evaluated on haloperidol and metoclopramide induced catalepsy, foot shock-induced aggression, amphetamine-induced stereotyped behavior and phenobarbitone induced sleeping in mice. The extract produced significant dose dependent potentiation of haloperidol (1 mg/kg, i.p.) and metoclopramide (20 mg/kg, i.p.) induced catalepsy in mice. The results suggest that the methanolic extract of Morus alba L. possesses anti-dopaminergic activity.

Classical categorization:
Bhavaprakasha- Amradi varga

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales
Family: Moraceae
Genus: Morus
Species: M. alba

Author: Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
E mail: drprashanthbk@gmail.com
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