Black mulberry (Morus nigra)
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
American mulberry, anthocyanins, ash, black mulberry bark, chalcone dimethylallyltransferase, dihydromorin, hydroalcoholic polyphenolic chalcone dimethylallyltransferase, hydroxyresveratrol, Indian mulberry, isocordoin, isoquercitrin, lectin, malic acids, meshimakobu (Japanese), Moraceae (family), morin, Morinda tinctoria, Morniga G, Morniga M, morusin, Morus alba, Morus indica, Morus nigra, Morus nigra agglutinin, Morus nigra fruit, Morus nigra root bark, Morus rubra, mulberry, oligomannosyl residues, Phellinus linteus, prenylflavonoid, P-sitosterol, purple mulberry, quercitrin, red mulberry, sanggenol F, sanggenol H, sang-hwang (Korean), san-pai-p'i (Indian), tartaric acid, ursolic acid, white mulberry.
Note: This monograph focuses on black mulberry (Morus nigra), but due to the lack of information on this species, some related species information has been included.
Mulberry is native to China and became naturalized and hybridized in Europe and America centuries ago. Indian mulberry (Morinda tinctoria) is reportedly used by the African aborigines medicinally, but there is no reliable evidence of its therapeutic value. In India, the root-bark of Morus alba, known locally as san-pai-p'i, is used as a diuretic (increasing urine flow) and expectorant (an agent that increases bronchial secretions and facilitates their expulsion through coughing, spitting or sneezing).
Herbalists have used mulberry fruit for oral infections. The bark of Morus nigra is also a reputed anthelmintic (medication) for tape worms.
At present, black mulberry (Morus nigra) is most commonly used for its antioxidant properties. It is also popularly used in the preparation of flavored syrup used in medicine and as a laxative in the treatment of constipation. Black mulberry has been indicated for a variety of other conditions, though all indications lack sufficient scientific data supporting their safety and efficacy at this time. Further research in these areas is warranted before firm conclusions can be drawn.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
No available studies qualify for inclusion in the evidence table.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Analgesic, anthelmintic (expels parasitic worms), antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, antitussive (suppresses cough), asthma, astringent, bronchitis, cancer, colds, cosmetic, diabetes, diaphoretic (promotes sweating), diuretic (increases urine flow), edema (swelling), expectorant (expels phlegm), eye infections, flavoring, food uses, hair tonic (premature graying), hypertension (high blood pressure), influenza, kidney function, laxative, liver disorders, lymphatic disorders (elephantiasis), mouth and throat inflammation, nosebleeds, ophthalmologic uses, pulmonary conditions, rheumatism, sedative, skin care (emollient), sore throat, spleen disorders, tetanus, tinnitus, tonic, toothache, urinary incontinence.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older)
Based on the available scientific evidence, there is no proven safe or effective dose. Traditionally, 2-4 milliliters of mulberry syrup or 4.5-15 grams of powder or decoction has been used.
Children (younger than 18 years)
There is not enough scientific evidence to safely recommend the use of black mulberry in children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid use of black mulberry in individuals with a known allergy or sensitivity to white, red, purple or black mulberry (Morus spp.) or the Moraceae family. Individuals allergic to fig or any member of the Ficus family may also be cross-sensitive to mulberry.
Side Effects and Warnings
There is currently no scientific evidence on the medicinal uses of black mulberry, and information about safety and side effects is limited. There have been no known adverse effects reported, and black mulberry is assumed to be likely safe when used in food amounts in healthy patients.
In theory, patients with impaired liver function or diabetes should use black mulberry cautiously.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
The use of black mulberry during pregnancy or breastfeeding is not recommended due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Black mulberry may interfere with the way the body processes many drugs using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these drugs may be increased in the blood in the short-term (causing increased effects or potentially serious adverse reactions), and/or decreased in the blood in the long-term (which may reduce the intended effects). Examples of medications that may be affected by black mulberry in this manner include: carbamazepine, cyclosporin, irinotecan, midazolam, nifedipine, birth control pills, simvastatin, theophylline, tricyclic antidepressants, warfarin, or HIV drugs such as non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) or protease inhibitors (PIs).
Black mulberry may alter blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may lower blood sugar. Patients taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
Black mulberry may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some drugs. Examples include benzodiazepines such as lorazepam (Ativan®) or diazepam (Valium®), barbiturates such as phenobarbital, narcotics such as codeine, some antidepressants, and alcohol. Caution is advised while driving or operating machinery.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Black mulberry may interfere with the way the body processes certain herbs and supplements using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these drugs may be increased in the blood in the short-term, causing increased effects or potentially serious adverse reactions, or decreased in the blood in the long-term, which may reduce the intended effects. Black mulberry may alter blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or in those taking herbs and supplements that may also alter blood sugar levels.
Black mulberry may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some herbs or supplements, such as chamomile. Caution is advised while driving or operating machinery.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Caiaffa MF, Cataldo VM, Tursi A, et al. Fig and mulberry cross-allergy. Ann.Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2003;91(5):493-495. View Abstract
de Souza MM, Bittar M, Cechinel-Filho V, et al. Antinociceptive properties of morusin, a prenylflavonoid isolated from Morus nigra root bark. Z Naturforsch.[C.] 2000;55(3-4):256-260. View Abstract
Fu DX, Chen L, Hou AJ, et al. Constituents of Morus nigra. Chinese Traditional and Herbal Drugs 2005;36.
Kim H, Yoon YJ, Shon JH, et al. Inhibitory effects of fruit juices on CYP3A activity. Drug Metab Dispos. 2006;34(4):521-523. View Abstract
Muntean D, Imre S, Avrigeanu V, et al. Physico-chemical study of the isolated flavonoids from leaves and bark of Morus alba L. and Morus nigra L. species. Farmacia 2002;50:97-103.
Naderi GA, Asgary S, Sarraf-Zadegan N, et al. Antioxidant activity of three extracts of Morus nigra. Phytother.Res. 2004;18(5):365-369. View Abstract
Rabijns A, Barre A, Van Damme EJ, Peumanset al. Structural analysis of the jacalin-related lectin MornigaM from the black mulberry (Morus nigra) in complex with mannose. FEBS J 2005;272(14):3725-3732. View Abstract
Rouge P, Peumans WJ, Barre A, et al. A structural basis for the difference in specificity between the two jacalin-related lectins from mulberry (Morus nigra) bark. Biochem Biophys.Res Commun. 4-25-2003;304(1):91-97. View Abstract
Singh T, Wu JH, Peumans WJ, et al. Recognition profile of Morus nigra agglutinin (Morniga G) expressed by monomeric ligands, simple clusters and mammalian polyvalent glycotopes. Mol Immunol. 3-30-2006. View Abstract
Wu AM, Wu JH, Singh T, et al. A novel lectin (Morniga M) from mulberry (Morus nigra) bark recognizes oligomannosyl residues in N-glycans. J Biomed.Sci 2004;11(6):874-885. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017