History of White Mulberry
A Closely Guarded Secret
Our story begins in ancient China around 2700 BCE. The Chinese have discovered and refined the art of silk textiles. The luxurious fabric is wildly popular and merchant kings have grown fat on the proceeds. In fact, the entire Chinese economy is benefiting, from the lowliest peasants laboring in the fields to the Emperor himself. The Chinese are determined to protect the secrets of silk making from rival countries.
Among those secrets is the food they feed the tiny caterpillars that produce the precious silk fibers. Silk farmers have discovered through trial and error that the same simple white mulberry leaves prescribed by the royal physicians for treatments of coughs, diabetes and tonification of the blood, is also the preferred food of the silk worm.
Skip forward a couple of millennium to 300 CE, the Chinese have managed to maintain a practical monopoly on silk production. The emperor of Japan was desperate to break the Chinese monopoly. He sent a team of spies to China with orders to bring back the secrets of silk production or don't come back at all. They hid near a silk factory for weeks observing in detail the production process but soon realized that without inside knowledge their quest was hopeless. They decided to "rescue" for Chinese maidens along with some silk worms and white mulberry shoots. Soon China's long held secret was loose in the world.
Oh yes! the sexy lingerie...?
In the 1400's European businessmen smuggled the secrets of silk making (minus the Chinese maidens one presumes) hidden in the staffs of a group of itinerant monks. The main driver behind the espionage? Growing demand in France for more silk for ladies dresses and lingerie.
White Mulberry in Medicine
The Chinese were also the first to write about using white mulberry leaves for medicinal purposes. In "The Compendium of Materia Medica" published in the late 1500's, Li Si Zhin recommended the leaves of the White Mulberry (called Sang Ye in Chinese) for treatment of coughs, yellow phlegm, obesity and diabetes.
Ancient Indian Ayurvedic texts also recommend White Mulberry leaf tea for treating colds and promoting sweating. The Roman lyric poet Horace praised the mulberry fruit as a secret to long life. In modern times Japanese and Chinese researchers are conducting promising research in the use of White Mulberry leaf tea in the treatment of arteriosclerosis and diabetes. Most recently the leaves of the white mulberry tree have been getting press as a potential crop for producing bio-fuels. It's truly amazing how many uses there are for this humble tree, silk, paper, medicines and now bio-fuels. We should probably all plant one today! While you are waiting for it to grow you can order from us using the link below.