“Here we go round the mulberry bush” – The worm has turned again
This children’s favourite sing-along was first coined in the mid 19th Century, about a ‘tree’ that has long had a medicinal history. Originally introduced into Britain by the Romans, mulberry was used to treat diseases of the mouth and lungs – whilst in the 17th Century it was used to expel tapeworms from the gut. The mulberry grows in many adverse soils yet still manages to grow to over 70 feet in height. But the mulberry is coming back into favour and is now grown widely throughout Southern Europe, Africa, India, and the Middle East.
The fruit contains antioxidants reducing the damage caused by free radicals as mulberries activate white blood cell macrophages to stimulate the immune system – our very own personal health policemen. The mulberry has also had a long history to help balance blood sugar levels in traditional Chinese medicine as well as providing a treatment for arthritis.
It’s not just the bitter tasting fruit that aid humans. The leaves, as often fed to sheep, contain fibre and nutrients and are a valuable source of protein. Perhaps those mulberry leaf loving silk worms had it right after all.