The leaves and berries of the mulberry plant are abundant in flavonoids, plant-based compounds with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capabilities. Extracts from this plant may benefit your heart and brain and may be helpful in treating diabetes and some types of cancer. Compared to many herbal supplements, mulberry extract causes minimal side effects, making it a safe natural alternative to harsher medications.
People at risk for atherosclerosis, or hardened arteries, may benefit from taking mulberry leaf extract, according to researchers who published a study in "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry" in 2013. They found that rabbits that took the extract had lower LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglycerides than a control group, reducing their risk of atherosclerosis. They also experienced improved liver function. The researchers noted that mulberry leaf's high concentration of polyphenols and flavonoids may help prevent this dangerous condition that can lead to heart attack or stroke.
The flavonoids in mulberry fruit may enhance your memory, according to researchers from a study published in "British Journal of Nutrition" in 2012. They gave an extract from the berries of the mulberry plant to mice and found that mice that consumed more mulberry fruit extract experienced better regulation of the nerve growth factor in the hippocampus, a portion of the brain crucial for memory. They also recognized objects more quickly, suggesting that mulberry fruit extract may improve cognitive response time.
Blood Sugar Regulation
Authors of a review paper published in "Diabetes Care" in 2007 found that mulberry leaf extract is effective for lowering blood sugar. They cite a study in which 20 people -- 10 with diabetes -- took a daily dose of sucrose with either mulberry extract or a placebo. After a week, the researchers switched the groups' treatments for one week. Throughout both weeks, they found that those who took mulberry extract experienced significantly lower blood sugar within two hours than those who didn't take mulberry extract.
Mulberry leaf extract may prevent or treat some types of cancer, according to a group of Korean researchers who published a study in "Nutrition and Cancer" in 2012. They found that mulberry leaf extract inhibited the growth and activity of cancer stem cells, a subpopulation of cells that may be the site of origination for most types of cancer. The researchers concluded that mulberry leaf extract may eventually be used in therapeutic cancer prevention programs.