Morus alba has many benefits – it is anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-aging. This herb has few side effects and has positive reviews.
Read this post to learn about all its health benefits and mechanisms.
What is White Mulberry (Morus alba)?
White mulberry (Morus alba) is a small tree native to northern China. During ancient times its primary uses were to feed silkworms and treat various illnesses.
Morus alba contains many unique, active compounds and flavonoids that give it its broad range of benefits.
White mulberry can have its leaves and roots prepared in a tea and its berries are eaten whole or made into wine.
Compared to the stems and fruits, the leaves contain more phenolic compounds and flavonoids [R].
- Resveratrol (and its derivatives, like oxyresveratrol)
- Caffeic acid
- Gallic acid
- Chlorogenic acid
- Kuwanon C and G [R]
Additionally, Morus alba contains many constituents that are unique to the plant:
- Moracin has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer properties [R]
- Albanol A is toxic to cancer cells and can induce cell death (apoptosis) [R]
- Albosteroid has antioxidant and anti-ulcer properties [R]
Health Benefits of Morus Alba
Oxyresveratrol is an active component of Morus alba. It exerts an anti-inflammatory effect through suppressing various compounds and pathways (iNOS/nitric oxide production, PGE2 synthesis, and NFkB activation) [R].
A combination of Morus alba leaf extract and fruit extract improved obesity-related inflammation in mice. It also lowered inflammatory marker levels (TNF-a, CRP, IL-1, and iNOS) [R].
Additionally, Morus alba root bark lowered inflammation in mouse cells [R].
2) May Boost the Immune System
Morus alba fruits have compounds that increase the activity of macrophages and enhance the immune response [R].
The leaf extracts of Morus alba activate the immune system. In mice cells, the extracts stimulated NO and PGE2 activity. It also activated other cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-10) that increase the immune response [R].
3) Improves Heart Health
Morus alba extract:
- Reduced cholesterol and fat levels (in diabetic patients) [R]
- Decreased fat accumulation in blood vessels (in mice) [R]
- Reduced blood pressure (in rats) [R]
- Prevented obesity (in rats) [R]
By improving these parameters, Morus alba keeps the heart healthy and prevents heart disease.
4) Helps Treats Diabetes
In mice, Morus alba protected the eyes of diabetic mice. Its antioxidant and glucose lowering activity protected eye cells against cell death [R].
5) May Lower Cancer Risk
The anti-cancer effect of Morus alba is due to compounds (morusin and kuwanon C and G) that prevent cell growth and increases cell death in cancer cells [R].
Morus alba root bark extract dose-dependently stopped cell growth and induced cell death in human colorectal cancer cells. It activated ATF3 production, which plays an important role in programmed cell death (apoptosis) [R].
The root bark extract also decreased cyclin D1 protein levels in cancer cells. This causes the cell cycle to stop. However, scientists are still unsure which active components of the extract were responsible for these effects [R].
6) May Reduce Fatigue
Scientists extracted GABA, in a white crystal form, from Morus alba leaves. It increased endurance in mice during exercise. It also improved various biological indicators (like glycogen and hormone levels), indicating a reduction in fatigue [R].
Morus alba leaves and root bark are antimicrobial due to their flavonoids, alkaloids, and stilbenoids. It also helped stop oral pathogens, which can improve mouth health [R].
Kuwanon G, from Morus alba root bark, significantly inhibited bacteria growth in cells. The bacteria (Streptococcus mutans, S. sobrinus, S. sanguis, and Porpyromonas gingivalis) are ones that cause cavities and gingivitis [R].
Morus alba extract also showed antimicrobial activity in mice (against Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida albicans, Candida krusei, Candida tropicalis, and Aspergillus flavus) [R].
8) May Improve Memory and Learning
In a study (RCT) of 60 adults, 1 – 2.1 grams of Morus alba leaf extract daily enhanced brain function and memory [R].
In mice, Morus alba extract increased NGF levels, leading to nerve cell growth in the brain. The mice then had improved retention time and object recognition time, suggesting that the extract enhanced learning and memory [R].
9) May Help with Anxiety
In mice, Morus alba extract reduced stress-induced behaviors and had anti-anxiety effects [R].
10) Might Help Treat Depression
Morus alba leaf tea also reduced depressive behavior in mice, but it also decreased muscle strength and coordination [R].
11) Might Improve the Stress Response
Adaptogens like Morus alba help the body deal with stress by normalizing cortisol. Mice exposed to chronic shock for 21 days showed fewer impairments in brain function, mood, hormonal balance, and blood sugar balance when treated with Morus alba [R].
12) Might Help Prevent Obesity
Morus alba also protects against obesity-related diseases. In mice, Morus alba leaf extract kept Nrf2 levels at a balance, which balances fat production, produces antioxidant enzymes, and prevents obesity-related fatty liver diseases [R].
13) Whitens Skin
Both Morus alba root bark and leaves can whiten skin [R].
Mulberroside F from Morus alba inhibited melanin formation and tyrosinase activity in mouse cells. This can prevent pigmentation in the skin. Morus alba can potentially be used in cosmetics to lighten skin [R].
Unfortunately, most of Morus Alba’s health benefits have only been confirmed in animal studies. More clinical trials must be done to ensure its effectiveness and safety for human use.
Possible Side Effects
There is currently no recommended dosage for Morus alba supplements.
In a clinical trial, daily administration of 1 – 2.1 grams of Morus alba extract had no toxic effects [R].
In rats, Morus alba also decreased the absorption and blood concentration of Cyclosporine, a drug used in transplant patients. Nerve, liver, or kidney transplant patients should avoid taking Morus alba supplements [R].
Morus Alba and Gene Interactions
These gene interactions are only seen in animal studies. It is unclear if the human equivalent of these genes is affected by Morus alba.
Glucose-Related Genes and Proteins
Morus alba leaf powder affected the production of various genes in mice. It increased SREBF-1, which plays a central role in maintaining energy balance and promotes glycolysis-related genes [R].
Meanwhile, the leaf powder decreased PDK4 production. PDK4 deficiency lowers blood glucose and improves insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance [R].
Morus alba leaf powder also suppressed the production of CDKN1A, HSPA1B, DEFB1, SPON2, and TRP53INP1, providing antioxidant effects [R].
In rats, Morus alba leaf powder increased the protein production levels of CPT1A, ACOX2, and PHYH, which help with fatty acid oxidation (breakdown). It decreased DGAT2 protein production, which is needed for fat formation (lipogenesis). These effects help lower lipid (fat) levels [R].
- “I have been using this for six months and found that it stabilizes my blood sugar” [R].
- “What I was looking for and it seems to help carb effects.”
- “I liked this for how it seemed to stop blood sugar swings, but just one capsule at once bloated me and caused severe constipation” [R].
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