The weather sucks with the lousy rain turning into heavy wet snow and I have a migraine and my car is making a loud scraping sound whenever I turn left.
I totally get that these are very minor complaints in light of, well, pretty much everything else that’s happening pretty much all around us pretty much every day these days.
Still. Sometimes you just need small pleasures to mitigate the irritations.
Therefore, I pull out my Japanese Mulberry Leaves.
This herbal tea consists of small pieces of very dark green flat leaves that have lime-colored veins.
The tisane’s aroma is slightly sweet, subtly grassy, and the infusion is a clear bright lemon color that has a touch of lime.
The flavor matches the aroma, with unique earthy/grassy and herbal notes. It’s soft and smooth, reminding me of all that’s right with the world.
The Japanese Mulberry and Silk
Growing as a small tree or shrub, the Japanese Mulberry (Moraceae family) is native to Japan’s mountainous areas. For centuries it has been cultivated for its leaves, which are fed to silk worms.
Silk production originated in China, coming to Japan around BC 28. By the Heian period (794–1185 AD), the upper classes wore silk while the rest of the population was relegated to hemp and ramie (JRB Silk Fabrics).
The kimono was the most important Japanese garment. It was worn by fashionable ladies, sometimes as many as twenty kimonos at a time, all made of the thinnest, finest, most transparent silk, giving a rainbow appearance as the coloring of each layer melted into those above and below. (JRB Silk Fabrics)
The hardy mulberry tree handily supported the silk industry, even with repeated harvesting of its leaves.
The Japanese Mulberry and Possible Health Benefits
Further, the mulberry tree’s bark, fruit, leaves, and roots proved useful for more than silk worm food—so much so that “ancient Japanese society held the tree sacred” (Dr. Schar). Its medicinal applications included drinking the tisane made from the leaves.
A famous Japanese medical text oddly entitled, “How to take care of yourself by drinking tea” written by the Japanese Buddist monk Eisai, in 1211 AD, . . . states that mulberry is excellent for the people suffering from thirst. In the contemporary world we know he was referring to the thirst associated with diabetes. (Dr. Schar)
A lot of research on diabetes is currently being conducted with mulberry leaves. For example, one recent study indicated that 1-Deoxynojirimycin from mulberry leaves lowered blood glucose, triglyceride, and total cholesterol levels of diabetic mice (Diabetes Week 2017).
My Cup of Japanese Mulberry Tea
Regardless whether this tisane has an effect on diabetes, it does have an effect on my mood.
Yes, the weather still is dreary and my car still makes that disconcerting noise, but my migraine is clearing and the tea is delicious.
–”The history of silk,” JRB Silk Fabrics, accessed March 1, 2018. http://www.jrbsilks.com/history-of-silk
–”Japanese mulberry,” Dr. Schar, accessed March 1, 2018. http://doctorschar.com/japanese-mulberry-morus-bomcycis
–”Researchers from Hefei University of Technology report new studies and findings in the area of type 2 diabetes (metabolic effect of 1-deoxynojirimycin from mulberry leaves on db/db diabetic mice using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry . . . ),” Diabetes Week, July 17, 2017, p. 84.
Japanese Mulberry Leaves available at TeaHaus.com.