Mulberry trees produce flavorful berries that are enjoyed around the world and often deemed superfoods due to their concentration of vitamins, minerals, and powerful plant compounds.
However, the fruit isn’t the only part of the mulberry tree that may offer health benefits. For centuries, its leaves have been used in traditional medicine as a natural treatment for a variety of conditions.
In fact, the leaves are highly nutritious. They’re loaded with powerful plant compounds like polyphenol antioxidants, as well as vitamin C, zinc, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium, Mulberry leaves may help lower blood sugar, cholesterol, and inflammation levels. These attributes may make them useful for fighting heart disease and diabetes.
Mulberry leaves provide several compounds that may help combat diabetes. These include 1-deoxynojirimycin (DNJ), which prevents the absorption of carbs in your gut .
In particular, these leaves may reduce high levels of blood sugar and insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.
In one study, 37 adults ingested maltodextrin, a starchy powder that rapidly boosts blood sugar levels. They were then given mulberry leaf extract containing 5% DNJ. Those who took either 250 or 500 mg of the extract experienced a significantly lower rise in blood sugar and insulin levels than the placebo group.
Also, in a 3-month study, people with type 2 diabetes who took 1,000 mg of mulberry leaf extract 3 times daily with meals experienced significant reductions in post-meal blood sugar levels, compared with a placebo group.
Some research suggests that mulberry leaf extract may improve heart health by reducing cholesterol and blood pressure levels, decreasing inflammation, and preventing atherosclerosis — a buildup of plaque in your arteries that can lead to heart disease.
Additionally, animal studies indicate that this leaf may prevent atherosclerosis and reduce cellular damage and high blood pressure levels, all of which are risk factors for heart disease.
Mulberry leaves have long been used in traditional medicine and are associated with several impressive health benefits.
This unique tree leaf may combat inflammation and improve various risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. All the same, further human research is needed.
You can take it as a supplement or eat cooked, immature leaves. Still, due to its potential side effects, you may want to consult your healthcare provider before adding mulberry leaves to your routine.