It is that time of year…. My weeping mulberry tree (Morus alba ‘Pendula’) is in leaf, and fruiting prolifically! Hooray! We have been looking forward to purple stained fingers (purple is my favourite colour), and sharing our delicious fruit with the local birds. Unfortunately, there is so much fruit this year, that even sharing it with the birds and the rest of my clan has not stopped wastage (losing our beloved fruit to the earth). We have so much fruit, that much of it has fallen from the tree and hit the dirt! I love my garden; this is why I am chapping at the bit to get my aquaponics system going. But many distractions (work, family, life) have been limiting our progress (I am very apt at making up excuses and procrastinating). Can I come up with anymore distractions??? How about…. Christmas is on our doorstep, only 6 weeks to go! UH OH!!! I need the back garden to be set up for our extended family to come for the annual Christmas party! OUCH, we will have to get it set up before then! Uh well, I have diverged from my weeping mulberry tree banter!
The mulberry tree is a member of the moraceae family, which is native to China. In herbal medicine, the fruit, leaves, flowers, stems, bark and roots are used to treat a number of conditions.
Health benefits of mulberries
- Delicious, fleshy, succulent mulberries are low in calories (just 43 cal per 100 g); but are a rich source of many health promoting plant derived compounds, minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health.
- Mulberries have significantly high amounts of phenolic flavonoid phytochemicals called anthocyanins. Scientific studies have shown that consumption of berries have potential health effects against cancer, aging and neurological diseases, inflammation, diabetes, and bacterial infections
- The berries contain resveratrol, another polyphenol flavonoid antioxidant. Resveratrol has been found to be protective against stroke risk by alteration of molecular mechanisms in blood vessels, reducing susceptibility to vascular damage through decreased activity of angiotensin (a systemic hormone causing blood vessel constriction that would elevate blood pressure) and increased production of the vasodilator hormone, nitric oxide.
- In addition, these berries are an excellent source of vitamin-C (36.4 mcg per 100, about 61% of RDI), which is also a powerful natural antioxidant. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents, counter inflammation and scavenge harmful free radicals.
- They also contain a good amount of vitamin A, vitamin E and in addition to the above mentioned antioxidants also contain many other health promoting flavonoid poly phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, ß-carotene and α-carotene in small but notably significant amounts. These compounds help to protect the body from harmful effects of oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease process.
- Zeaxanthin, an important dietary carotenoid selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea, where it is thought to provide antioxidant and protective light-filtering functions in the retina of eyes.
- Mulberries are an excellent source of iron, which is a rare feature among berries, contains 1.85 mg/100 g of fruits (about 23% of RDI). Iron, being a component of hemoglobin inside the red blood cells, determines the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood.
- They are also a good source of minerals like potassium, manganese, and magnesium. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids that helps to control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase.
- They are rich in the B-complex group of vitamins and vitamin K; containing very good amounts of vitamin B-6, niacin, riboflavin and folic acid. These vitamins function as co-factors and help the body in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
Below are some photos of me and our Mulberry Tree, kindly placed in our front garden for anyone to enjoy (birds, neighbours and family members).
- Persimmons and Mulberries (collaboratelaborate.wordpress.com)
- Why you should eat berries (afoodlyaffair.com)
- Vitamin HB | Celebrity Beauty Snack! (hudabeauty.com)
- Ask Garden Eats: Why Is Vitamin C So Important? (garden-eats.com)
- Foraging (4mothers1blog.wordpress.com)