Dried White Mulberries (Sang Shen)

Mulberry FruitDried white mulberries, also known as Sang Shen in mandarin, could mean two quite different things: fruit of white mulberry tree (Morus alba), or mulberry fruit that is white in color. As you can see, the former concept actually has cover the latter one. According to different colors, mulberries can be roughly categorized into black ones and white ones. In comparison, white mulberry is much juicier, sweeter, bigger, and tastier so that it is ideal to be consumed as fresh fruits. But in terms of nutrition value and medicinal uses, the difference between them is not so big that you need to tell them apart though some herbalists tend to believe that black mulberry is generally considered with better healing properties, especially when used as a qi tonic. Hence, next we are going to focus on dried mulberries, regardless of color.

What are dried white mulberries?

As China’s most common mulberry variety, medicinally white mulberry is the default choice in all formulas that contain this herb. That’s to say, it mainly refers to the dried ear of Morus alba L., which is a plant in the family Moraceae. Therefore, other names of it include Mulberry Fruit-Spike, Fructus Mori, Sang Shen Zi, White Mulberry Fruit, Mori fructus, Fructus Mori Albae, and so on. In China, it is basically produced in Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Hunan. It is usually harvested from April to June when the fruits are ripe. And then it still needs to be dried in the sun, or dried after slightly steamed.

Dried mulberries are oblong, 1 to 2cm long, and 6 to 10mm in diameter. Base is with handle that is 1 to 1.5cm long. Surface is purple, black, or white in color. Ear are polymerized by 30 to 60 achenes, which are ovoid, slightly flat, 2 to 5mm long, and with 4 membranous bracts outside. Embryo is white, oily, and rich in sugar. It is with light odor and sweet and slightly sour in taste. In general, the preferred one is bigger in size, thick in flesh, black in color, and richer in sugar content.

Here are the nutrition facts – ripe white mulberries are nutritious and each 100 grams of them contain water 81.8g, protein 1.8g, fat 0.3g, cellulose 4.9g, carbohydrates 10g, ash 1.2g, carotene 30 mg, thiamine 0.02mg, riboflavin 0.06 mg, vitamin E 6.95 mg, potassium 33mg, zinc 0.27mg, copper 0.08 mg, selenium 4.8 mg. In addition, it also contains tannic acid, malic acid, vitamin C, and fatty acids. Fats are mainly linoleic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid and a small amount of octanoic acid, nonanoic acid, decanoic acid, myristic acid, linolenic acid and the like.

Dried mulberries benefits

Since they are generally divided into white and black mulberries, many people would wonder which one has better healing properties? In fact, as for medicinal uses there is no significant difference between them. Nevertheless, traditional Chinese medicine thinks that black color acts on kidney meridian while white color works on lung channel. Therefore, black mulberry is recommended in treating kidney deficiency and pain in the leg and waist while white mulberry is preferable in curing deficiency of lung qi and chronic cough. Specifically, its health benefits are as follows:

a) Nutritional supplement. It contains large amount of water, carbohydrates, vitamins, carotenoids and essential trace elements, which can effectively increase the body’s blood volume. More importantly, this tonic is not stagnant. That being said, it is a perfect diet therapy for patients with high blood pressure or female diseases.

b) Strengthening the spleen and stomach and improving digestive health. It contains tannic acid, a fatty acid, malic acid and other nutrients, which can help digest fat, protein and starch. As a result, it can be used to treat diarrhea caused by indigestion.

c) Improving the hair and restoring color. Besides of a lot of nutrients needed by the body, it still contains ingredients that benefit hair, which can stimulate hair growth and thus help restore gray hair back to color.

d) Preventing vascular sclerosis. It is rich in resveratrol, which is a potent antioxidant that can inhibit LDL lipid peroxidation, prevent cytotoxic caused by LDL oxidation, and then protect the cells specifically from lipid peroxidation. In addition, resveratrol can also reduce platelet aggregation and thus prevent atherosclerosis.

e) Anti-cancer. It contains large amounts of rutin, which has been proved by modern medicine that it is able to prevent the formation of colon cancer. And rutin can cool blood, stop bleeding, clear liver-fire, reduce inflammation, and destroy viruses. Hence, eating it on daily basis can also help prevent and treat cerebral hemorrhage, hypertension, retinal hemorrhage, chronic bronchitis, and so on.

f) Tonifying liver and kidney. It governs liver and kidney, nourishes yin, enriches blood, promotes the secretion of saliva or body fluid, and moistens dryness. So, it is ideal for consumptive thirst, body fluid deficiency and intestinal dryness with constipation that are caused by deficiency of yin-fluid and blood in liver and kidney.

g) Low calories. Calories in dried white mulberries are quite low. So eating it won’t affect your weight loss plan.

H) Treatment of sexual dysfunction. It has a certain effect on regulating liver and kidney and thus the quality of sexual life in men will be greatly improved. Meanwhile it also treats impotence, premature ejaculation, dead sperm, and other sexual dysfunction disorders.

H) Anti-aging. When it comes to regimen, regulating Qi and blood is the basic method. And it can help go a long way on regulating deficiency of qi-blood, and thus delay aging.

Modern pharmacological actions of dried mulberries

1) It can moderately promote the transformation of lymphocyte;
2) It can promote T cell maturation and thus restore the function of aging T cells;
3) It can promote humoral immune function in young mice;
4) It can promote the growth of myeloid cells;
5) It can reduce the activity of membrane red blood cell (Na(+)-K+-ATPase), which may be one of the reason why it nourishes yin;
6) It can prevent cyclophosphamide-induced leukopenia.

Sample dried white mulberries recipes on herbal remedies

According to the Chinese Pharmacopoeia, it is sweet and sour in flavor and cold in nature and goes to meridians of heart, liver, and kidney. Main functions are nourishing yin and tonifying blood and increasing the production and flow of saliva and body fluids. Basic uses and indications include vertigo, tinnitus, palpitations, insomnia, premature graying, thirst caused by impaired body fluid, wasting-thirst due to internal heat, and blood-deficiency induced constipation. Recommended dosage is from 9 to 15 grams in decoction.

1) According to Min Nan Min Jian Cao Yao (Folk Herbal Medicine In Minnan), fresh mulberry can be used alone to treat insomnia and habitual constipation due to deficiency of heart and kidney.

2) According to Wen Wu Gao from Su Wen Bing Ji Bao Ming Ji, it is squeezed for juice and made into cream to cure scrofula.

3) According to Pai Hu Ji Jian Fang (Simple Prescriptions Compiled by Paihu), it is dried and ground into powder to heal yin-type abdominal pain.

Dried white mulberries side effects and contraindications

Dried white mulberry fruit is a very good snack but eating too much of it may lead to some unexpected adverse reactions.

1) Because it contains hemolytic and allergic substances and hyaluronic acid, excessive consumption of it is more likely to develop hemolytic colitis.

2) Children should not eat too much of it. This is simply because it has many trypsin inhibitor – tannic acid, which will affect the body’s absorption of iron, calcium, zinc and other substances.

3) It shouldn’t be used in those who suffer from diarrhea due to deficient spleen since it is of cold nature.

4) People with diabetes should stay away from it since it is high in sugar content.

2 thoughts on “Dried White Mulberries (Sang Shen)

  1. Bob Mode

    I want to know were to buy an arthritis medicine for my legs. I am 76 and on Social Security my total income is $1,000.00 per month.


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