Medicinal Trees: Paper Mulberry, Hornbeam, Hickory and Bush Grounsel

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  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    Well, none of these species grown in my area.

    While I wouldn't be able to grow the paper mulberry, I would like to try a regular mulberry. I know of one person in this area who had successfully grown them to the fruit stage.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,353 admin

    There are several varieties of mulberry - I'm sure you can find one that will work. Hickory is very similar to the rest of the juglans family.

  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,415 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I had not heard of paper mulberry before. Would white or red mulberry have the same medicinal properties? I have several of both red and white here.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,353 admin
  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,353 admin
    edited June 2022

    Morus, Mulberry

    Eleven varieties of Mulberry have been found useful in herbal medicine: Morus alba - White Mulberry, Morus alba multicaulis - White Mulberry, Morus australis - Korean Mulberry, Morus bombycis – Kuwa, Morus cathayana - Hua Sang, Morus macroura - Himalayan Mulberry, Morus microphylla - Texas Mulberry, Morus mongolica - Mongolian Mulberry, Morus nigra - Black Mulberry, Morus rubra - Red Mulberry, Morus serrata - Himalayan Mulberry, Morus tiliaefolia 

    Morus rubra, Red Mulberry, is the only Mulberry that is native to my region, but Morus alba, White Mulberry been naturalized.  Red Mulberry can be found in the most unlikely places.  It pops up in the understory, with usually just the shiny leaves giving it away.  Deer love the leaves, and usually the birds and raccoons get most of the berries.  Although the fruit is generally under-appreciated, Mulberry has a long use in haerbalism.


    Dioscorides wrote:

    Morus or sycaminus is a well-known tree. Its fruit makes the intestines soluble. It is easily spoiled and bad for the stomach and the juice is the same. Boiled in a brass jar or left in the sun it is made more astringent. A little honey mixed with it makes it good for the discharge of fluids, for gangrenous ulceration of the cheeks, and for inflamed tonsils. The strength of it is increased if alumen in small pieces, galls [oak], myrrh and crocus are mixed with it as well as the fruit of myrica, iris and frankincense. Unripe mulberries dried and pounded are mixed with sauces or rhus and they help coeliac [intestinal complaints]. The bark from the root boiled in water and taken as a drink loosens the bowels, expels broadworms from the intestines, and is an antidote for those who have taken aconitum as a drink. The leaves pounded into small pieces and applied with oil heal burns. Boiled with rain water, wine and black fig leaves they dye the hair. A wine cupful of juice from the leaves helps those bitten by harvest spiders. A decoction of the bark and leaves is a good rinse for toothache. It is milked at harvest time, the roots dug around and cut-in. The next day there will be found some coalesced gum which is good for toothache, dissolves swellings, and purges the bowels. There seem to be some wild mulberries similar to (the fruit) of the bramble but more astringent, the juice is less spoiled and good in warm packs for inflammation, healing ulcerated jaws, and to fill up wounds with flesh. They grow in shady and cold places.


    Gerard wrote of Mulberry:

    A. Mulberries being gathered before they be ripe, are cold and dry almost in the third degree, and do mightily bind; being dried they are good for the lask and bloody flux, the powder is used in meat, and is drunk with wine and water

    B. They stay bleedings, and also the reds; they are good against inflammations or hot swellings of the mouth and jaws, and for other inflammations newly beginning.

    C. The ripe and new gathered Mulberries are likewise cold and be full of juice, which hath the taste of wine, and is something drying, and not without a binding quality: and therefore it is also mixed with medicines for the mouth, and such as help the hot swellings of the mouth, and almonds of the throat; for which infirmities it is singular good.

    D. Of the juice of the ripe berries is made a confection with sugar, called Diamorum: that is, after the manner of a syrup, which is exceeding good for the ulcers and hot swellings of the tongue, throat, and almonds, or uvula of the throat, or any other malady arising in those parts.

    E. These Mulberries taken in meat, and also before meat, do very speedily pass through the belly, by reason of the moisture and slipperiness of their substance, and make a passage for other meats, as Galen saith.

    F. They are good to quench thirst, they stir up an appetite to meat, they are not hurtful to the stomach, but they nourish the body very little, being taken in the second place, or after meat, for although they be less hurtful than other like fruits, yet are they corrupted and putrefied, unless they speedily descend.

    G. The bark of the root is bitter, hot and dry, and hath a scouring faculty: the decotion hereof doth open the stoppings of the liver and spleen, it purgeth the belly, and driveth forth worms.

    H. The same bark being steeped in vinegar helpeth the toothache: of the same effect is also the decoction of the leaves and bark, saith Dioscorides, who showeth that about harvest time there issueth out of the root a juice, which the next day after is found to be hard, and that the same is very good against the toothache; that it wasteth away Phyma, and purgeth the belly.

    I. Galen saith, that there is in the leaves and first buds of this tree a certain middle faculty, both to bind and scour.


    Culpepper wrote:

    Mercury rules the tree, therefore are its effects variable as his are. The mulberry is of different parts; the ripe berries, by reason of their sweetness and slippery moisture, opening the body, and the unripe binding it, especially when they are dried, and then they are good to stay fluxes, lasks, and the abundance of women's courses. The bark of the root kills the broad worms in the body. The juice, or the syrup made of the juice of the berries, helps all inflammations or sores in the mouth, or throat, and palate of the mouth when it is fallen down. The juice of the leaves is a remedy against the biting of serpents, and for those that have taken aconite. The leaves beaten with vinegar, are good to lay on any place that is burnt with fire. A decoction made of the bark and leaves is good to wash the mouth and teeth when they ache. If the root be a little slit or cut, and a small hole made in the ground next thereunto, in the Harvest-time, it will give out a certain juice, which being hardened the next day, is of good use to help the tooth-ache, to dissolve knots, and purge the belly. The leaves of Mulberries are said to stay bleeding at the mouth or nose, or the bleeding of the piles, or of a wound, being bound unto the places. A branch of the tree taken when the moon is at the full, and bound to the wrists of a woman's arm, whose courses come down too much, doth stay them in a short space.


    Mrs. Grieves gives us a long history of the cultivation of Mulberry, especially to feed silk worms.  Of its medicinal properties, she writes only:

    The sole use of Mulberries in modern medicine is for the preparation of a syrup, employed to flavour or colour any other medicine. Mulberry Juice is obtained from the ripe fruit of the Mulberry by expression and is an official drug of the British Pharmacopoeia. It is a dark violet or purple liquid, with a faint odour and a refreshing, acid, saccharine taste. The British Pharmacopceia directs that Syrupus Mori should be prepared by heating 50 fluid drachms of the expressed juice to boiling point, then cooling and filtering. Ninety drachms of sugar is then dissolved in the juice, which is warmed up again. When once more cooled, 6.25 drachms of alcohol is added: the product should then measure about 100 drachms (20 fluid ounces). The dose is 2 to 1 fluid drachm, but it is, as stated, chiefly used as an adjuvant rather than for its slightly laxative and expectorant qualities, though used as a gargle, it will relieve sore throat.

    However, she includes the following recipe for Mulberry wines and jam:

    Mulberry Wine

    On each gallon of ripe Mulberries, pour 1 gallon of boiling water and let them stand for 2 days. Then squeeze all through a hair sieve or bag. Wash out the tub or jar and return the liquor to it, put in the sugar at the rate of 3 lb. to each gallon of the liquor; stir up until quite dissolved, then put the liquor into a cask. Let the cask be raised a little on one side until fermentation ceases, then bung down. If the liquor be clear, it may be bottled in 4 months' time. Into each bottle put 1 clove and a small lump of sugar and the bottles should be kept in a moderate temperature. The wine may be used in a year from time of bottling.

    Mulberries are sometimes used in Devonshire for mixing with cider during fermentation, giving a pleasant taste and deep red colour. In Greece, also, the fruit is subjected to fermentation, thereby furnishing an inebriating beverage.


    Scott relates in Ivanhoe that the Saxons made a favourite drink, Morat, from the juice of Mulberries with honey, but it is doubtful whether the Morum of the Anglo-Saxon 'Vocabularies' was not the Blackberry, so that the 'Morat' of the Saxons may have been Blackberry Wine.


    Mulberry Jam

    Unless very ripe Mulberries are used, the jam will have an acid taste. Put 1 lb. of Mulberries in a jar and stand it in a pan of water on the fire till the juice is extracted. Strain them and put the juice into a preserving pan with 3 lb. of sugar. Boil it and remove the scum and put in 3 lb. of very ripe Mulberries and let them stand in the syrup until thoroughly warm, then set the pan back on the fire and boil them very gently for a short time, stirring all the time and taking care not to break the fruit. Then take the pan off and let them stand in the syrup all night. Put the pan on the fire again in the morning and boil again gently till stiff.


    King's American Dispensatory, 1898 tells us:

    Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Mulberries possess very slightly nutritive qualities; they are refrigerant and laxative, and their juice forms a pleasant and grateful drink for patients suffering under febrile diseases, as it checks the thirst, relieves febrile heat, and when taken freely, gently relaxes the bowels. The juice, formed into a syrup and added to water, answers the same purpose, and forms a pleasant adjunct to gargles in quinsy. If the berries are eaten to excess they are apt to induce diarrhoea. The bark of the tree is reputed purgative and vermifuge, having expelled tapeworm.


    Plants for A Future Lists Mulberry as: 

    The root bark is anthelmintic and cathartic. A tea made from the roots has been used in the treatment of weakness, difficult urination, dysentery, tapeworms and as a panacea. The sap is used in the treatment of ringworm. Another report says that the milky juice obtained from the axis of the leaf is used. The fruits are used to reduce fevers.


    Peterson Field Guides Eastern and Central Medicinal Plants tells us:

    Red Mulberry: American Indians drank root tea for weakness, difficult urination, dysentery, tapeworms; panacea; externally, sap used for ringworms. Nutritious fruits used for lowering fever. Warning: large doses cause vomiting.

    White Mulberry: in China, leaf tea used for headaches, hyperemia (congestion of blood), thirst, coughs; “Liver cleanser”. Experimentally, leaf extracts or antibacterial. Young twig tea used for arthralgia, edema. Fruits eaten for blood deficiency, to improve vision in circulation, and for diabetes. Inner bark tea used for lung ailments, asthma, coughs, and edema.


    Botany In a Day states:

    Medicinally, a bark of the tea is used as a laxative and to expel tapeworms. The Milky juice and the unripe fruit may cause hallucinations, nervousness and upset stomach.

  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,415 ✭✭✭✭✭