Mulberries aka Shahtoot: Types, Benefits, Side Effects, and Many More Interesting Facts
“Here we go round the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush…
Here we go round the mulberry bush, on a cold and frosty morning…”
As sweet and refreshing as this nursery rhyme, this pearls-studded fruit is fleshy, succulent and delicious. And, its benefits are even more delicious.
Also known as Shahtoot in Hindi, Mulberry fruit has fantastic health, beauty, economic and environmental benefits.
After feng shui and kung fu, Mulberries are the next good thing native to China. Basically, Mulberries are a subtropical group of trees and shrubs grown in warm, temperate regions.
Mulberry orchards exist all throughout Asia. But its growing popularity has compelled the folks in Europe, Southern Africa, South America and North America to cultivate this multi-purpose tree.
These fast-growing perennial deciduous woods grow in both wild and under cultivation and can reach a height up to 24 meters.
Having a history of thousands of years, the incredible health benefits derived from this classic fruit make it one of the best pal of humankind.
Apart from all the health benefits, Shahtoot is beneficial for skin and hair as well. Are you curious enough to know them all?
Well! Let’s get acquainted with this fruit in-depth.
Table of Contents
- A Brief on Mulberry or Shahtoot
- Availability of Mulberries
- How to Preserve Mulberry
- Tips to Grow a Mulberry Orchard
- What are the Varieties of Shahtoot Fruits?
- Colour of Mulberry: An Interesting Tale
- Home Remedies Using Shahtoot
- Health Benefits of Shahtoot
- How to use Mulberry for Skincare
- Haircare Benefits Offered by Mulberry
- Does Shahtoot Aids on Weight Loss?
- Are Mulberry Leaves Beneficial Too?
- Interesting Facts about Shahtoot
- How to Consume Mulberry?
- Side Effects of Mulberry
Mulberry or Shahtoot: Nutritional value and Other Interesting Facts
Mulberry is a delicious fruit berry that has sweet and some sort of tangy taste.
Apart from satisfying your sweet tooth, the fresh weight of this superfood of berry family consists of 88% water, 10% carbohydrates, 1% protein, and less than 1% fat.
This data gives an idea about the high nutritious value of this fruit. Mulberry is related to figs and breadfruit family. Somewhat it resembles blackberry & raspberry and tastes like grapefruit.
The amazing thing is that not just the fruit but the leaves are also a powerhouse of nutrients and vastly used in the health and beauty sector.
Its benefits are not just limited to nutrients. They are ecologically important too as the leaves of White Mulberry trees are used in the cultivation of silkworms.
These worms are caterpillars and their sole food source is fresh mulberry leaves. These worms gorge on the leaves become fatter and fatter. And, spin cocoons, that in turn produces silk which is one of the finest fabrics known to mankind.
Good things take time, this proverb is true for this fruit as it is a late bloomer and takes a long time of 10 years to bear fruits.
Wherefrom You can Buy Shahtoot?
In India, they are available twice a year but for a short duration. Generally, from March to May and October to November. So, milk this duration by grabbing more and more berries.
You can buy it online from websites like Big Basket, hunt for it in supermarket shelves or sometimes these are available in local fruit shops too.
These are also available as a supplement in the market.
Always choose the fresh and fully ripened mulberries. And, avoid the pale ones as the pale colour indicates that those are unripe.
Remember to never eat under-ripe Shahtoot, as those can result in sickness and diarrhoea.
How to Preserve Shahtoot for Long?
Wash mulberries thoroughly under running water and dry the excess water with a paper towel.
Now line up a container with a napkin, place the berries and cover them up with a plastic wrap.
This way you can store the fruits for up to two days. You can also sun dry and store them as dry fruits all the year-round.
Do You Want to Grow Mulberries? Here are a Few Tips
Shahtoot fruit is rarely seen in supermarkets. So, if you are fond of gardening, then you can grow it yourself in your backyard.
The best season is late spring or summers. You can grow it either by seed or cutting.
Experts advise seedling grown trees as they usually have better health and shape. Once it starts bearing fruits, you will be delighted to see the visits of many birds feasting its juicy berries.
Make sure to plant it away from the pavement and driveways. Otherwise, ripen fruits might fall off and create a mess.
Mulberry trees usually grow in an irregular manner and look shapeless. But, you can always prune them to tidy shapes.
To prune the tree, trim the dead and upward growing branches.
Its heart shape, lobed leaves make it even more serene.
Though its fruits might create a fuss around your garden, the pretty foliage and flowers are reasons enough to welcome this low maintenance greenery to your premises.
If you want to avoid the fuss created by the dark colour of fruits, then there are some fruitless varieties as well that you can grow in your yard for ornamental purposes.
You can Grow Mulberries in Your Balcony too
Don’t you feel like you want to have an orchard to grow the mulberry tree?
The good news is that you can grow it in your apartment balcony in a container as well.
You would just need a big size pot, well-drained garden soil and Mulberry cutting or seeds.
Crush a Shahtoot, extract the seeds and slightly dry them on a napkin. Now sow them one inch deep in the soil. Place the container on the sunny side of your balcony and keep watering it.
For softwood cutting, cut four to six inches of healthy stems using a sharp knife or pruner. Make sure there is a leaf node above each cutting.
How Many Types of Mulberries are There?
When immature, mulberry fruit is pale yellow in colour.
Once ripe, it gets the actual colour and texture and becomes sweet, plumpy, and juicy.
Mulberry fruit is segregated in three categories: White, Red and Black.
But hold on, this segregation is a little more complex than you think. Before coming to the conclusion that their names are based on the colours, it is important to note that colour does not reliably identify the species. Let’s take a look at the features.
This variety comes in white, lavender and black colour. They are sweet and less tart.
They bear fruits for generations around 100 years. Leaves are glossy and smooth. They have medium height among all.
This Shahtoot comes in red, purple and deep black colour. They are sweet, slightly tart and juicy and bear fruits for around 70 years. Leaves are rough like sandpaper. This variety is the tallest among all.
These Mulberries are large and juicier having balanced sweetness and tartness.
They have the best flavour ever. Black Mulberries can stain your fingers when you pick this fruit. The trees are the smallest of all.
These species are furthermore complicated as the hybrids of Red and Black mulberries contain characteristics of both the species. This way more than 200 species are identified in taxonomy.
What is the Colour of Mulberry Fruit?
Do you want to know from where mulberry derived its colour? Well! There is a very interesting tale behind it. Here it goes.
There were two lovers Thisbe and Pyramus from rival families who were against their marriage.
So they decided to elope. The rendezvous was out of town beneath a White Mulberry tree.
Thisbe showed up first and saw a lioness with blood stained teeth coming towards her.
So she fled into a cave leaving her veil behind. The lioness smeared the veil with blood and when Pyramus turned up, he misunderstood that Thisbe had died.
Out of grief, he killed himself with his sword. Seeing all this, Thisbe also killed herself with the sword and their blood splashed everywhere and stained the white mulberry fruits red.
To honour their love, Greek Gods changed the color of this fruit forever.
This is a pretty popular Babylonian etiological myth.
Mulberry fruit derives its attractive colour from a compound named Anthocyanins.
The rich and easily extractable colour lured food industrialists to make organic food colourants from it.
Now that, we know about this fruit pretty well, let’s dig in deep to know about its benefits. Read on to know why you should include this fruit in your diet, hair care, and skincare regime.
Tips to Use Shahtoot in Home Remedies
If you are done with side effects of medicine, here are some lesser-known home remedies you can try using Shahtoot.
Home Remedy #1
- Mix equal amounts of Mulberry bark and neem bark
- Make a fine paste
- Apply it on your blemishes and pimples.
- Use this remedy twice a week
- Your pimples and blemishes would be reduced significantly
Home Remedy #2
- To remove dark spots and scars, boil some Shahtoot leaves in water till the water is reduced to half.
- Now dab this water with the help of a cotton ball on your dark spots.
- It will penetrate deep into your skin and will cleanse it deeply
- If this remedy is used for a month twice a week, dark spots and scars would fade out with time.
Home Remedy #3
- It works quite well on sensitive skin. Make a smooth paste of fresh Mulberry leaves and apply as a night pack
- Wash it off once dry
- Next morning, you will find plump and supple skin.
Home Remedy #4
- If you are going for a long field day, extract one glass of Mulberry juice
- Add one teaspoon jaggery and drink it before stepping out
- Mulberry juice would keep you hydrated for long hours.
Home Remedy #5
To get rid of dryness, here is one remedy you can try.
Infuse some Mulberry leaves in two to three tablespoons of Coconut or Castor oil for three days and apply it on affected areas.
Home Remedy #6
- Boil some fresh Mulberry leaves in water
- Let it simmer for a few minutes till the water takes a slightly green hue and leaves turn brown
- Now strain and sip piping hot
- The high content of Gallic acid in Shahtoot fruit significantly reduces glucose level in the bloodstream and helps treat Type 2 Diabetes.
So, which remedy you are going to try soon? Let us know in the comment section below.
Various Benefits of Mulberry Everyone Needs to Know About
Mulberries are beneficial for you from head to toe. It works amazingly on your brain, eyes, heart, liver, stomach, bones, immune system, skin and hair. Let’s dig in to know about the benefits of Shahtoot or Mulberries.
Health Benefits of Shahtoot
Protein, Fiber, Potassium, Calcium, Flavonoids, Resveratrol, Riboflavin, Choline, Vitamin A, C, K, E minerals, Irons, and Carbs. You just name it and Mulberry has it all. This combination of nutrients makes it a superfood to prevent and cure many chronic diseases.
Lowers the Risk of Cancer
Mulberries are loaded with antioxidants which in turn reduces oxidative damage of tissues and cells caused by severe stress. This stress is often associated with the risk of cancer.
Do you want to keep your cholesterol level steady? You are in luck! Mulberry juice and extracts lower down the level of excess fat and cholesterol in the body.
Furthermore, it maintains a balance between good cholesterol and bad cholesterol.
It also strengthens the nervous system and prevents blood clotting thereby reduces the chance of heart attack and strokes.
Diabetic patients have a long list of what not to eat but they can easily put this sweet fruit in their ‘yes’ list.
Those having Type 2 Diabetes have a high risk of increased blood sugar level after meals. This happens due to the carbs intake.
A compound 1-Deoxynojirimycin present in mulberries helps in breaking down the carbs. So moderate intake of mulberries is beneficial for diabetic patients.
Lower Risk of Strokes
These berries are an excellent source of Resveratrol, an antioxidant present in mulberries that alters the molecular mechanism of blood vessels. And in turn, reduces their susceptibility to damage. So there are fewer chances of stroke.
Improves Blood Circulation
Haemoglobin present in Red Blood Cells is vital in the dispersion of oxygen to various organs and tissues from the lungs. Rich iron content in Shahtoots significantly helps in boosting the generation of red blood cells.
Thereby helps to boost their blood carrying capacity to organ systems. According to research, Mulberries provide 14% of the daily value of iron.
Regulates Blood Pressure and Heart Rate
Mulberries contain a good amount of Magnesium, Manganese and specifically Potassium.
These are essential constituents of body fluids and cells that control blood pressure and heart rate.
A single serving of mulberry contains high digestive fibre that speeds up digestion.
This acts as a natural laxative and reduces the occurrence of constipation.
An Excellent Immunity Booster
Rich in vitamin C, Shahtoot acts as a warrior to deal with infections, viruses, and bacteria.
Vitamin C is not produced by our body. So, this fruit fulfils the need by providing 44% of the daily value.
Easy on Eyes
Vitamin A is the main nutrient for eyes and Mulberry fulfils this requirement.
It also contains Zea-Xanthin that provides retinal protection against UV rays of the sun.
Speeds up Metabolism
These berries contain Vitamin K, B6, Folic acid, Riboflavin, and Niacin.
All these components help the body break down Fats and Carbohydrates. And thus, strengthen metabolism.
Rich Iron content in Shahtoot keeps your body safe from anaemia.
Improves Brain Health
Mulberry keeps your brain young and healthy. It contains a natural pigment called Anthocyanins and Phenolic Flavonoids Phytochemicals.
All these can potentially combat neurological diseases.
Heals Heat Stroke
88% of water content in Mulberry works as a great thirst quencher and minimizes the impact of heatstroke.
Not only fruit but its leaves are also beneficial. Tea made from the leaves of Mulberry has anti-inflammatory properties.
Anthocyanins present in mulberries ease out the inflammatory pain.
Treats Flu and cold
Vitamin C in berries acts as a weapon against Fu and Cold. Regular intake of this fruit can keep your cold and cough at bay.
Prevents Bone Disorders
Mulberries are high in Calcium, Vitamin K, and Iron which are the primary sources to keep the health of the bones intact.
It helps in strengthening bones and prevents bone degradation. Moreover, it is a great supplement for Arthritis patients.
Improves Liver Health
Shahtoot extracts suppress down the synthesis of fatty acids in the liver and enhance the oxidation process. So it is likely to prevent fatty liver ailments.
These are the reasons that mulberry extracts are widely used in Chinese herbal medicines for thousands of years.
Instead of munching unhealthy snacks, have this health packed fruit. Mulberries can be quite convenient breakfast on the go.
Skincare Benefits Offered by Mulberries
Whether you consume it or apply topically, both the leaves and the fruits have their own beauty benefits. Let us know the skincare benefits that Shahtoot offer.
Softens Dry Skin
- Infuse some leaves of Mulberry with extra virgin coconut oil or olive oil for a few days
- Strain the oil
- Apply over the dry parts of your skin once or twice a week.
- Mulberries are a reservoir of antioxidants. Antioxidant Beta-Carotene present in mulberries reverses the ageing process. And, makes skin vibrant, fresh and youthful.
- Furthermore, the beauty benefits of Vitamin C are known to all. It fights with free radicals that damage the skin tissues. And, neutralize them; thereby slows down the ageing process.
Reduces Pimples and Blemishes
Antioxidants in mulberries reduce the occurrence of dark spots, pimples and blemishes.
And, provides you with the skin tone that you always wanted.
Resveratrol present in Shahtoot acts as a shield to protect skin and hair from harmful UV rays up to some extent.
But that’s not enough, always wear your broad-spectrum sunscreen before stepping out in the sun
Improves Skin Texture
Vitamin A, C, E present in these berries makes skin soft and supple. And, brings on a radiant glow from within.
Skin Lightening Agent
Antityrosinase, this component in the Mulberry act as a skin lightening agent. This is the reason many skin lightening creams and lotions contain mulberry extracts.
Haircare Benefits Offered by Mulberries
A treasure of nutrients, mulberry does a great job on our hair too.
Combats Premature Greying
Drink one glass of juice daily and apply some of it topically 20 minutes before hair wash. It prevents premature greying of hair. Both Red and White Mulberries contribute towards maintaining the natural colour of hair.
Stimulates Hair Growth
Calcium, Iron, and minerals present in Shahtoot expedite the hair growth process.
These components also help to prevent further breakage.
This is the reason why many brands use Mulberry fruit and leave extracts in their hair care products like shampoo, conditioners, oils, etc.
Now you know what you have to do to get the ultimate glowing skin and the hair of your dream. All you have to do now is to just sit and munch on a bowl full of mulberries.
Does Shahtoot Contribute to Weight Loss Too?
Wow! That sounds like a million-dollar question. Well! The answer is ‘yes’; to some extent, it does for sure.
Mulberry is a light snack. One gram of mulberry contains just 0.4 calories.
So it can greatly help in weight loss.
Add Mulberry to your diet chart. Make this incredible fruit a part of your weight loss programme. And, proceed towards having that slender waist you always craved for.
And, that’s the titbit about the umpteen benefits of Mulberries.
Are the Mulberry Leaves Beneficial Too?
Well! You don’t need to wait for 10 years to reap the benefits of the mulberry fruit. Mulberry leaves themselves have a multitude of benefits.
It keeps a check on Blood Sugar level, Cholesterol, Cancer and Weight loss.
How to Prepare Tea using Shahtoot Leaves
Sundry the leaves and infuse some in warm water
Strain the water and your hot
And, a healthy beverage is ready to sip on
Some Lesser-Known Interesting Facts about Mulberry
- Mulberries have the highest amount of antioxidants of all berries that exist under the sun.
- A type of mulberry tree is called Weeping Mulberry; an exotic ornamental plant. It is named so due to its weeping habit of growth. Its long, leafy branches drape to the ground and create beautiful patterns.
- If you are a gardening expert, this info might interest you that some Shahtoot trees are dioecious (either male or female), whereas some are monoecious (have both male and female parts).
- Male trees produce a huge amount of pollen. And, female trees draw pollen and dust from the air. This is a stark contrast. Because of this pollen-absorbing feature, all-female mulberry trees have an allergy scale rating of just 1 (lowest level of allergy potential). Male trees are banned in some cities in North America.
The thinnest paper in the world ‘Tengujo’ is manufactured in Japan with Kozo. Kozo are the stems of the Mulberry tree.
- The best thing about mulberry trees is that you can pick fruits by a simple touch. Touch the branch and it will start shedding fruits
- The best way to harvest the fruits is the shake and catch method. Place a tarp below the tree and shake the branches. A single tree should be enough to give you 10 baskets full.
How to Consume Mulberries
- These berries do not keep well. So decide in advance whether you want to eat them raw, juice or preserve. And, don’t just stop with jams, Sorbets, and beverage.
- Toss Mulberries in a salad or give them a starring role in a smoothie, pies, tarts, wines, cordials, muffins, cakes, and more! This versatile fruit would make a mouth-watering addition to any recipe requiring berries.
So what do you want to do with this culinary delight? Google is flooded with mulberry recipes. But, here is one delicious smoothie that you need to try first.
- Take around 10 mulberries
- Add two to three dollops of greek yoghurt
- A dash of Almond milk and drizzle of honey
- Mix them in a blender
- And, enjoy with some ice cubes as your mid-morning beverage
Is There Any Side Effect of Mulberry?
Well! We have spoken enough about the good sides; let’s talk about bad sides as well.
- Mulberry plantation is banned in some parts of North America because of the huge amount of pollen produced by male mulberry trees. These pollens pose a potential health hazard for allergic people. Sometimes, these trigger Asthma.
- Some people feel hallucinations after consuming this fruit. The reason is that the unripe fruit and some green parts of the plant have a White Sap that might be mildly toxic or hallucinogenic.
- There is no solid evidence about the safety of this fruit. So, pregnant, nursing women, and children should avoid eating this fruit.
- Diabetic patients should consult experts before consuming White Mulberries as they can reduce the blood sugar to an unhealthy level that might result in Hypoglycemia.
- One should avoid touching or eating freshly harvested part of White Mulberry. It contains a milky sap named Latex that might upset the stomach if consumed. Or, cause Dermatitis if comes in direct contact with the skin.
- Those who are suffering from kidney disorders should avoid taking this fruit as it is rich in Potassium.
The popularity of this quaint fruit can be estimated by the fact that Mulberry tree inspired the British entrepreneur Roger Saul to name his lifestyle brand after this appealing fruit.
Well! There is no doubt at all that Mulberry is loaded with benefits. But, overdo of anything can be pretty harmful.
So, please take a note that you cannot swap mulberries with any medicine without consulting with an expert or your health care provider.
That’s all for today! If you know any other benefits of Shahtoot fruit, don’t forget to tell us in the comments section.
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