Home / Chinese Herb / MORUS OR MULBERRY LEAF [桑叶, SANG YE]


Name : Morus or Mulberry Leaf0morus_opt

Chinese Name : 桑叶

Latin Name : Folium Mori


This herb is the dried leaves of the mulberry tree, botanically known  as Morus alba L. of the family Moraceae. It is grown throughout China but mostly in the Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces in southeastern China. It is collected during the frost season, dried, and used unprocessed.

According to ancient tradition, Si-ling , the empress of  Huang-ti (the Yellow Emperor from 2697 B.C), taught her people how to rear silkworms using mulberry leaves. Mulberry leaf is an antifebrile, and antiphlogistic agent. It is commonly used as a diaphoretic in Cold and Exterior afflictions due to Wind and Heat exopathogens.

Use of Mulberry Leaf  in TCM

Sweet and bitter taste, and cold, it acts on the lung and liver meridians.

Effects, Medicinal Uses, and Combinations

  1. Disperses Wind-Heat exopathogens and induces diaphoresis: mulberry leaf is used with chrysanthemum, peppermint, forsythia fruit, and platycodon root, as in Sang Ju Yin, to treat the early stages of influenza. Epidemic febrile disease, bronchitis, headaches, dizziness, coughs, and a swollen and sore throat.
  2. Expels pathogenic Heat and relieves coughs: for lung impairment with signs of thick sputum, dryness in the throat and nose, and a dry cough, morus is prescribed with bitter apricot kernel, fritillaria, and ophiopogon root, as in Sang Xing Tan.
  3. Relieves Heat in the liver : for conjunctival congestion with dryness, aches and pain, and excessive tears, morus is blended with chrysanthemum and cassia seed.


In a decoction of 3 to 10 g.


People with Cold symptoms or Lung-Qi deficiency should avoid this herb or use with caution.

Side effects and toxicity

The suggested therapeutic dose does not cause side effects. Some patients may develop chills. Fever, and dizziness at a large dose. Intraperitoneal administration of the 10 percent injection solution to mice, at a doze sixty times that of the human dose for twenty-one days did not cause damage to the liver, kidneys, and lungs. A higher dose caused degeneration and hemorrhaging in these organs.

Chemical Constituents

The leaf yields adenine, choline, folic acid, and inokosterone, and the steroids ecdysterone, inokosterone, lupeol, beta-sitosterol, campesterol, and beta-sitosterolglycoside. The flavon derivatives include rutin, moracetin, quercetin, isoquercitin, scopoletin, and scopolin.

The volatile oil contains isobutanol, isoamyl alcohol, asoamy acetate, and acetophenone, along with acetic acid, propionic acid, butyric acid, phenols, and phenylacetaldehyde.

Other ingredients include vitamins B1, B2, sugars, tannins, protein, and amino acids.

Pharmacological Findings

  1. The mulberry leaf and ecdysterone showed hypoglycemic activity in rats with alloxan-induced diabetes and in mice with hyperglycemia elicited by epinephrine, glucagon, or insulin antiserum. Ecdysterone promoted glycogenesis from glucose without altering the blood glucose levels in normal animals.
  2. Hypotensive and diuretic. Morus leaf extract injected into anesthetized dogs demonstrated hypotensive and diuretic actions.
  3. The decoction of the morus leaf has been shown to be inhibitory against S. aureus, beta-Streptococcus hemolyticus, Corynebacterium diphtheria, and B. anthracis.
  4. The morus leaf decoction inhibited rodent intestinal muscles and stimulated the uterus.
  5. Prevents hyperlipidemia and lowers blood cholesterol levels.