4 Side Effects Of Mulberry You Should Know

Written by Annie Jangam

Mulberries (Morus) are a popular superfood and offer loads of medicinal and health benefits. Their high antioxidant content may help manage weight and improve heart and liver health. This nutrient-dense berry is consumed as fresh fruits, jams, and juices while the mulberry leaf extract is popularly used in traditional medicine and as health supplements. However, mulberries also may pose certain unexpected side effects. It is important to be wary about them too. Here, we elaborate on these side effects. Keep reading.

4 Side Effects Of Mulberry You Should Know

1. May Lead To Hypoglycemia

Mulberries are known to lower blood sugar. In studies, mulberry extracts could lower blood sugar levels in normal and diabetic mice (1), (2), (3). In humans, mulberry tea suppresses the postprandial rise of blood glucose levels after 90 minutes since its consumption (4). Mulberry leaf extracts, like α-glucosidase, may help delay carbohydrate digestion (4), (5). This can lead to a sudden drop in blood glucose levels, especially in those already on diabetic medication. As per anecdotal evidence, the symptoms may include hunger, headache, blurred vision, excessive sweating, dizziness, confusion, and tremors. Mulberries, hence, must be eaten with caution. It is important to consult a licensed medical professional if you are planning on taking mulberry extract supplements to treat diabetes or obesity.

2. May Cause Gastrointestinal Discomfort

Mulberries and their derivatives may cause indigestion, nausea diarrhea, and bloating. In a study, patients who took mulberry leaf tablet for dyslipidemia treatment experienced mild diarrhea (26%), dizziness (8.7%), or constipation and bloating (4.3%) (6). Moreover, the latex (milky white sap) from mulberries is toxic, especially to insects and caterpillars (7). This latex can cause mild skin irritation in humans. It is not advisable to ingest it as it may cause stomach upset, bloating, and diarrhea.

3. May Hinder Carbohydrate Absorption

Mulberries are known to hinder carbohydrate absorption (8). Research shows that inhibition of carbohydrate absorption may help in weight control and diabetes treatment.  A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that tea extracts (including mulberry) resulted in carbohydrate malabsorption (8). This property of mulberry can interfere with the optimal absorption of nutrients and lead to detrimental effects in the body.

4. May Have A Detrimental Effect On Kidneys

Mulberry leaves may help relieve the symptoms of gout by lowering uric acid levels (9). Hence, avoid taking mulberry leaves if you are already on medication to lower uric acid levels. Mulberries are also high in potassium, which is integral for the proper functioning of the body (10). Anecdotal evidence suggests that high levels of potassium may result in dehydration and internal bleeding. High potassium levels may also cause fatigue, numbness, nausea, chest pain, irregular heartbeats, and palpitations. Hence, people with chronic kidney disease must limit or even avoid mulberry intake.

Conclusion

Mulberries are a nutrient-rich superfood with a host of health and medicinal benefits. Consuming mulberries or mulberry-based supplements can help improve health. However, unripe berries can cause gastrointestinal discomfort and diarrhea in certain individuals. Some parts of the mulberry plant may also increase the risk of skin cancer. Dizziness, nausea, and allergies are also side effects associated with fresh berries or teas in people who have chronic kidney or other metabolic disorders. Thus, people with GI issues, hyperglycemia, or allergies should seek professional help before including them in their diet.

Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions

Can you be allergic to mulberries?

Yes. Although rare, people can be allergic to mulberries. They can cause sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes. Consult a licensed professional if these symptoms persist.

Can mulberries get you high?

Unripe mulberries can cause mild hallucinations and affect the central nervous system. However, further studies are needed to understand the exact cause, dose, and mechanism.

How do you eat mulberries?

You can eat them fresh. Make sure you wash them thoroughly before you consume them. Mulberries, fresh or frozen, go well with porridge, smoothies, and salads. You can also have mulberry-based desserts and cakes.

Can mulberries increase skin cancer risk?

There is no scientific evidence to support this claim. However, artificially lightening your skin may increase the risk of skin cancer.

Do mulberries interfere with chemotherapy?

It is better to avoid mulberries if you are undergoing chemotherapy unless the doctor specifically permits their use. It is believed that the anti-cancer properties of mulberry extracts may interfere with the chemotherapy protocol. However, more research is warranted in this regard.

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Annie Jangam is a Molecular Biologist with 7 years of research experience in Rice Functional Genomics and Nutrient Signalling with International Publications in Abiotic stress, Nitrogen, and G-protein signaling. She specializes in writing on Health and Wellness. She has been an avid reader since childhood and is passionate about stories that help decipher life and its meaning. She believes in Human Rights for all and that one should "love others like we love ourselves."
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