Mulberry leaf extracts have a long history of use for blood sugar management; the extract is often used to help treat type 2 diabetes. It is also used to treat the common cold, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, joint and muscle pain, dizziness, hair loss and ringing in the ears. However, more evidence is required to gauge the effectiveness of mulberry for these uses.
The chemicals found in mulberry extract have similar properties to some drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes, according to WebMD. They decelerate the breakdown of sugars in the gut subsequently reducing the absorption rate into the blood. This, in turn, maintains the blood sugar levels at a desirable range.
The use of mulberry extract during pregnancy and breastfeeding is highly discouraged. Due to its blood sugar level altering properties, mulberry should be used cautiously with medications that reduce blood sugar in diabetes. The extract may also enhance the side effects of cholesterol lowering drugs; patients taking antidepressants, barbiturates or benzodiazepines should use it with caution. Mulberry extract may also interact with drugs used to treat gout.
White mulberry is native to China, it was first introduced into the United States during colonial times. The fruit can be used for food, either cooked or raw. The wood is quite durable and flexible and has been used to make boats, furniture, hockey sticks and tennis rackets.