Drugs A - Z
Black mulberry (Morus nigra)
Generic Name: Morus nigra
CategoryHerbs & Supplements
American mulberry, anthocyanins, ash, black mulberry bark, chalcone dimethylallyltransferase, dihydromorin, hydroalcoholic polyphenolic chalcone dimethylallyltransferase, hydroxyresveratrol, Indian mulberry, isoquercitrin, 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).
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.
EvidenceDISCLAIMER: 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.
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. 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 healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
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.
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.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
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
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 patient 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): Ashley Brigham, PharmD (Northeastern University); James Ceurvels, PharmD (Northeastern University); Nicole Giese, MS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Thuy-Duong Le, PharmD (Oregon State University); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration).
BibliographyDISCLAIMER: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.