It is one of the oldest cultivated plants of mankind: the mulberry. The mulberry tree used to be cultivated specifically for silk production, but today it is sought after for its fruit. Here you can find out what healing effects the mulberry has and how you can plant it yourself.
Worth knowing about the mulberry
Even if the mulberry tree is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world, it was not initially cultivated in Europe for its fruit. Today, the mulberry is one of the popular superfoods because of its healthy ingredients .
The mulberry gives its name to the mulberry family and originally comes from Asia, where it has been cultivated and used for thousands of years. Only in the 12th century did the mulberry finally establish itself in Europe, where it was primarily cultivated for silk production . It was discovered that the silkworm feeds exclusively on the leaves of the mulberry tree . The silkworm produced valuable silk and was therefore bred together with the mulberry trees.
Under the Romans, the mulberry tree was considered the seat of wisdom, the Greeks worshiped the fruit as food for the gods. They, too, recognized the healing effects of this fruit early on.
Black, white and red mulberries
Although the mulberry genus includes a total of twelve species, most people are only familiar with three: the black mulberry (Morus nigra), the white mulberry (Morus alba) and, more recently, the red mulberry (Morus rubra). The white mulberry was formerly used to breed silkworms, but the black and red mulberries are better suited as fruit suppliers.
Externally, the berry is reminiscent of the raspberry or blackberry. When it is harvested, it is usually so soft that it gives off a discolouring juice.
ingredients of the mulberry
It is full of vitamins, healthy minerals and secondary plant substances – there are many good reasons why the mulberry is one of the superfoods. The different varieties have the same effects, they have no differences in nutrient or vitamin content.
The mulberry is a real fountain of health. It contains vitamins A, K, a number of B vitamins, and a high content of vitamins C and E.
Vitamin K is a so-called fat-soluble vitamin and plays an important role in blood clotting. The latest studies also show that vitamin K strengthens the bones and regulates bone metabolism.
The B vitamins cannot be stored by the human body, so regular intake of these vitamins is particularly important. They have many essential properties: For example, they play a central role in the production of neurotransmitters and without them the body cannot utilize any protein. A lack of the B vitamins is characterized by the symptoms of vomiting, difficulty concentrating, depressive moods, anemia or muscle twitching.
The B vitamins are responsible for a whole range of other vital functions in our body. Among other things, they take over important functions in the brain and can prevent Alzheimer’s. In addition, the B vitamins reduce the risk of infertility and help in the treatment of diabetes.
Vitamin E refers to a whole family of valuable antioxidants. The vitamin ensures young and healthy-looking skin because it protects the cell walls and maintains their functions. It also protects blood vessel cells and regulates cholesterol levels. A healthy supply of vitamin E also ensures shiny hair and can help prevent cancer. It has been shown to protect the DNA of our cells from damage.
Vitamin C helps your body to maintain the functions of the immune system, it is effective against stress, tiredness and states of exhaustion. Iron can be better absorbed with vitamin C – by the way, the mulberry also has an increased iron value. Vitamin C plays an essential role in the formation of collagen, i.e. the construction of connective tissue and bones. If you are a smoker, you should ensure an increased intake of vitamin C. A handful of mulberries a day is a good start.
Especially in dried form, the mulberry is rich in high-quality protein. With 10 g protein per 100 g mulberries, the fruit is one of the richest sources of plant protein. The fruit is particularly suitable for vegans and vegetarians because it helps to compensate for a possible protein deficiency.
Proteins are important building blocks for cells and tissues, they contain the structure of our cells and are essential for the formation of important hormones. Athletes in particular often consume an increased amount of protein, because the body needs it to build muscle mass in the first place.
The mulberry is also a real superfood when it comes to minerals and trace elements. It has a high content of iron, copper, zinc, sodium, calcium and potassium. These elements help your body regulate overall digestion and prevent inflammation.
A special feature of the mulberry is its high iron content . Although many foods have an increased iron content, it can be absorbed much better by the body with mulberries. On the one hand, this is due to the high vitamin C content, but on the other hand it is also due to copper – both of which optimize iron absorption. Iron ensures a stable immune system and is essential for red and white blood cells. Women in particular often suffer from iron deficiency, which they can counteract by regularly consuming mulberries.
The high proportion of calcium in the mulberry ensures the development and formation of bones and teeth and is also important for blood clotting and a healthy heart rhythm.
Medicinal properties of the mulberry
In China, both the mulberry itself and the leaves of the mulberry tree are valued for their healing properties. In recent years, several studies have also been able to prove how healthy the mulberry actually is.
For bladder and urinary tract diseases
Bladder and urinary tract diseases are caused by an increased number of bacteria, which can be prevented by the leaves of the mulberry tree or the fruit. On the one hand, the immune system is strengthened preventively by the good vitamins, on the other hand, the secondary plant substances found in mulberries bind the bacteria and help to eliminate the pathogens more quickly.
To lose weight
The mulberry is full of healthy and important nutrients that the body needs to survive. Nevertheless, the fruits have only a few calories and, thanks to their valuable enzymes, can accelerate weight loss . They are also ideal as a snack between meals when cravings arise.
Thousands of years ago, mulberries were used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat colds, fevers and to strengthen weak immune systems. The mulberry has proven itself as an expectorant and helps the body to loosen and remove the mucus that has formed when you have a cold.
For a finer complexion
The vitamin E contained in the mulberries ensures elasticity and firmness of the skin, which naturally regulates the aging process of the cells. Mulberries are also used against dry skin: the vitamins A and E contained in the fruit help the body to produce body fluids and balance the fluid balance.
For beautiful hair
Even early graying of the hair can be curbed by the mulberry. Because the fruits promote melanin production, which is responsible for maintaining the natural hair color.
Due to its high vitamin C content, the mulberry supports blood circulation in the scalp, while the iron it contains helps to transport oxygen to the hair follicles, where the individual hairs are produced. This strengthens the main hair and reduces hair loss .
But the mulberry also works wonders against dandruff and psoriasis: the vitamin A contained in the fruit supports the production of natural oils, which serve as nutrients for the hair roots and eliminate dandruff.
For faster regeneration
The many healthy nutrients and vitamins in mulberries ensure a strengthened immune system, they accelerate healing from infectious diseases and improve blood circulation. Therefore, the berries are particularly beneficial for postoperative patients and accelerate their healing processes.
The mulberries are also said to cleanse the kidneys and liver and also stimulate the body’s metabolic processes.
Mulberries can be processed and used in a variety of ways. The form of processing partly determines the proportion of vitamins and minerals. For example, the dried mulberry is richer in protein than the fresh fruit.
The mulberry has a soft consistency when it is harvested and is only conditionally transportable. Therefore, it is not often found in normal supermarkets, but rather in dried form. If you prefer fresh mulberries because you want to use them to make jams, juices or syrups, it may be advisable to plant the mulberry tree yourself.
The mulberries do not ripen at the same time and can be harvested from June to August. They should be processed or eaten as soon as possible after being picked, as they do not have a particularly long shelf life.
The ripe fruits can be recognized by their strong color and full volume. It is best to process the fruit no later than one day after harvest or keep it in the refrigerator for two to three days.
As already mentioned, you can often find dried mulberries in supermarkets. These are particularly suitable for smoothies, in muesli or yoghurts, but also as a snack in between.
You can of course also dry the fresh mulberries yourself. In this way, they can be kept much longer and have a higher concentration of protein.
Mulberries are excellent for drying in the fresh air or in the oven. However, you should note that the humidity for drying in the fresh air must not be too high – this promotes the formation of mold on the fruit. Ideally, the weather is dry and very warm.
Self drying in the oven
- First, the mulberries must be washed and thoroughly dabbed dry
- Place the ripe fruit on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The individual fruits should not touch each other and under no circumstances should they lie on top of each other.
- Place the baking tray in the preheated oven at 50°C and leave a crack in the oven so that the moisture can escape.
- Keep checking the drying process and gently turn the mulberries every hour or two.
- The process can take up to twelve hours (depending on the number and size of the trays). You can tell whether the fruit has dried by the pale color and leather-like consistency.
Even air dry
- In order for the berries to air dry without becoming moldy, temperatures of 25-30°C and low humidity are required. Since drying can take a few days, you should definitely make sure that the weather conditions are good in the coming days.
- Place the fruit on a grid or drying sieve and protect the mulberries from insects with a fly screen, for example.
- It is best to position the trellis with the mulberries on a slight elevation to protect them from animals and allow for good air circulation.
- You should also choose a shady, sheltered place, because if the sun is too intense, the fruit will lose its aroma, even if it dries it faster.
- Check the fruit daily, the process can take up to four days.
Planting a mulberry tree: tips on how to grow it
In order to be able to fully enjoy the healing effects of the mulberry, it is worth planting the mulberry tree in the garden. In general, the mulberry tree has low soil requirements and is very easy to care for. However, it prefers a sheltered and warm location because it is not very hardy to frost.
The right location and the right time
It is best to plant the mulberry tree in the spring or fall so that it has enough time to take root before the temperatures drop below zero.
Keep in mind that the fruit can stain heavily. The best place is not directly on garden paths, terraces or house walls.
Even if the mulberry tree has low soil requirements, it is still advisable to plant it in nutrient-rich and calcareous soil. The trees can grow up to 15 meters tall and have a spreading crown – you should also consider this when choosing the perfect location for your mulberry tree.
Prepare soil and plant mulberry tree
Before the mulberry is planted, the soil should be dug up thoroughly and some compost mixed in. Then the plant hole is generously dug and the root ball dipped in water to already provide the roots with moisture. Only then can the plant be placed in the plant hole and this can be refilled with soil.
Planting dos and don’ts
After you have planted the mulberry tree, it only needs to be properly cared for. To protect the young tree from wind and weather, you should place a wooden pole next to it and attach it to the tree with raffia.
If you plant several trees, be sure to keep them at least two meters apart.
The roots of any tree to be planted should be soaked in plenty of water before planting, otherwise you risk drying out your mulberry tree.