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White Mulberry Leaf

white mulberry berry and leaf

Common Names: white mulberry leaf, common mulberry, Egyptian mulberry, Russian mulberry, silkworm mulberry

Latin Names: Morus alba


  • White mulberry (Morus alba) is native to China but can be found throughout the world in temperate and tropical climates.
  • In parts of Asia, mulberry leaves have been used for tea, wine, bean curd, and noodles.
  • In traditional Chinese medicine, mulberry leaves are used to treat diabetes (“Xiao-ke”) as well as cough, sore throats, fever, and bronchitis.
  • Preparations from white mulberry leaves are sold as dietary supplements for controlling weight and blood glucose.
  • While beyond the scope of this fact sheet, preliminary research suggests that morusin, a compound in the bark of white mulberry, may have antioxidant, antitumor, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, and neuroprotective activity. However, further study is needed to determine its efficacy. 

How Much Do We Know?

  • There have been several studies on the potential health benefits and safety of using white mulberry leaf, but most of the studies have been preliminary, and clinical studies (research in people) are limited.

What Have We Learned?

  • Several studies suggest that white mulberry may reduce elevated blood glucose levels, but some of these studies have been preliminary or were not conducted in humans. Other trials have found no effect on blood glucose levels.
  • Some studies have shown that white mulberry leaves contain numerous chemical compounds that act as antioxidants and may provide therapeutic benefits.

What Do We Know About Safety?

  • White mulberry leaf has been used in studies lasting up to 12 weeks without serious harmful effects. 
  • The most common side effect is digestive upset, including bloating, constipation, gas, and loose stools.
  • There is a potential risk for low blood sugar when taken with diabetes medications.
  • There is insufficient reliable information available about the safety of white mulberry berries.
  • Little is known about whether it’s safe to use white mulberry leaf during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

Keep in Mind

  • Take charge of your health—talk with your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use. Together, you can make shared, well-informed decisions.
  • Federal Regulation of Herbal Products
    • Depending on what’s in them, how they’re intended to be used, and how they’re administered (orally or topically), herbal products are regulated in a variety of ways. Many herbal products intended for oral use are marketed as dietary supplements. The rules for making and distributing dietary supplements are less strict than those for drugs.
    • Unlike drugs, dietary supplements are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they are sold to the public. When public health concerns arise about the safety of a dietary supplement or an ingredient including an herb, the FDA can take action to protect the public. Manufacturers and distributors of supplements are responsible for evaluating the safety and labeling of their products before marketing to ensure that they meet all regulatory requirements. 

For More Information

NCCIH Clearinghouse

The NCCIH Clearinghouse provides information on NCCIH and complementary and integrative health approaches, including publications and searches of Federal databases of scientific and medical literature. The Clearinghouse does not provide medical advice, treatment recommendations, or referrals to practitioners.

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A service of the National Library of Medicine, PubMed® contains publication information and (in most cases) brief summaries of articles from scientific and medical journals. For guidance from NCCIH on using PubMed, see How To Find Information About Complementary Health Approaches on PubMed.


Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

ODS seeks to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements by evaluating scientific information, supporting research, sharing research results, and educating the public. Its resources include publications (such as Dietary Supplements: What You Need To Know) and fact sheets on a variety of specific supplement ingredients and products (such as vitamin D and multivitamin/mineral supplements).


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Key References

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NCCIH has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your health care provider(s). We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by NCCIH.

Last Updated: September 2023