You don’t need to spend a fortune buying mulberry leaf tea as Mulberry trees grow across much of the United States. The trees flourish from USDA zone four to nine, and the leaves can easily be foraged for free. In this article, we’ll explore how to make mulberry leaf tea, look at leaf identification, and some of the benefits drinking this tea has to offer.
What You'll Learn Today
- How To Prepare Mulberry Leaf Tea?
- How To Dry Mulberry Leaves For Tea?
- How To Make Mulberry Tea From Fresh Leaves?
- What Does Mulberry Leaf Tea Taste Like?
- How To Identify Mulberry Leaves For Tea?
- How Much Mulberry Tea Should I drink?
- What Is Mulberry Leaf Tea Good For?
- Can I Drink Mulberry Tea At Night?
How To Prepare Mulberry Leaf Tea?
Mulberry leaf tea is easy to make from either fresh or dried leaves.
When possible, try to use spring or purified water rather than water from the tap, as this can affect the taste and the health benefits you’ll get.
Spring water has fewer chemical impurities than tap water, and it is generally higher in beneficial minerals and trace elements.
For a single 8-ounce cup of mulberry leaf tea, you’ll need around one teaspoon of dried mulberry leaves.
To make enough for four cups, follow this recipe:
- Measure out four cups of water using the cups you will use to drink the tea. Ensure they are completely full, as some will evaporate during the boiling process.
- Once the water has boiled, allow it to stand and cool for around a minute. Meanwhile, place five teaspoons of dried mulberry leaves into your teapot. This equates to one teaspoon per cup, plus one extra for the pot.
- Pour the hot water over the dried mulberry leaves and swill them around in the pot gently for a moment to ensure they are all well-soaked.
- Allow the leaves to infuse and steep in the water for three to five minutes, depending on how strong you want the tea to be. You can try a sip after a few minutes, and if you want it stronger, leave it for a little extra time.
- Pour your tea into the cups and serve. If desired, you can add a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup to sweeten.
- Serve and enjoy.
Note that you can use the same leaves to make tea several times in one day.
Mulberry leaf tea is not only delicious hot, but it can also be chilled to serve on a hot day as Iced tea.
Try making a pot of tea first thing in the morning and placing it in the refrigerator. This can be served with slices of fruit and, or mint leaves and can again be sweetened with honey or maple syrup.
How To Dry Mulberry Leaves For Tea?
You can harvest mulberry leaves at any stage, although the tradition is to gather them after the first frost of the year in fall. However, if you want them to contain a higher amount of beneficial nutrients, younger leaves will be better.
Before harvesting your leaves, ensure the tree you’re gathering them from has not had any pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or other chemical sprays applied. Be aware that most public parks will use chemical sprays on their trees.
You can use a dehydrator to easily dry your leaves.
- Start by giving the leaves a good wash to remove any dirt or debris from them. Next, pat them dry on a paper towel.
- Remove any stalks, so you are left with just the leaves.
- Place the leaves onto the drying screens of your dehydrator, trying not to let them overlap.
- Turn the dehydrator to a low heat setting and allow the machine to dry the leaves for around 6 to 8 hours. After this time, check the leaves. They should be brittle and completely dry.
- Remove the leaves very carefully from the dehydrator screens as they will crumble easily. Store them in an airtight container keeping them as whole as you are able. Only crush them when you are ready to use them.
If you don’t have a dehydrator, then the mulberry leaves can be dried in the sun or in a warm place, such as a cooking range with a warming oven or even on a south-facing window sill.
Being able to dry some leaves for making tea during the winter months when fresh mulberry leaves are not available is very useful.
Although dried leaves won’t contain as many of the beneficial nutrients as fresh ones, they still make a healthy tea.
How To Make Mulberry Tea From Fresh Leaves?
During the summer months, when the mulberry tree has a thick covering of large, deep green mulberry leaves, you can pick a few to enjoy as a delicious and healthful infusion.
Fresh mulberry leaves can be stored in the refrigerator for several days by placing them in an airtight container.
Add a fistful of fresh mulberry leaves to a pot. Cover the leaves with four cups of cold water and place on medium heat. Allow the leaves to steep in hot water for around 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how strong you like your infusions.
You don’t only have to enjoy your mulberry leaves as an infusion. They can also be used like grapevine leaves to wrap foods. To do this, they need to be cooked first. You may prefer to add them to stir-fries or stews.
What Does Mulberry Leaf Tea Taste Like?
A mulberry leaf infusion made from fresh leaves has a pleasant, slightly sweet, mildly fruity flavor.
Dried leaves have a more herbal taste, and they can be combined with other dried plants, including mint, hibiscus, or borage.
The leaves of the American native red mulberry have the best-tasting leaves. Unfortunately, the majority of mulberry trees you are likely to find growing wild will probably be the Asian white mulberry.
How To Identify Mulberry Leaves For Tea?
The mulberry tree grows widely across North America. The white mulberry (Morus alba) from Asia, which actually has deep purple fruits like blackberries, is the most common.
The rarer red mulberry (Morus rubra) is a native species in North America, as is the Texas mulberry (Morus microphylla).
The black mulberry (Morus nigra) is the least common, only being found in the most southern US states.
Different species of mulberry trees vary in size and shape, and the appearance of the fruit, although similar in construction, can range in color from white to deep purple-black, and the size of the fruits is also variable.
The leaves of mulberry trees can range in size, too, depending on the variety and the growing circumstances of the tree – rich soil or poor soil, full sun or partial shade, etc.
Typically leaves are a deep green, paler when they first unfurl. They have a heart or lobe-shaped leaf with serrated edges, not unlike figs, that alternate along the branch.
The petioles (leaf stalks) are short, and the leaves have pronounced veins on their underside.
Once the fruit begins to set, recognizing the mulberry tree becomes quite simple. The fruits, which are elongated and dangle down from their stalks, are composed of tiny segments like blackberries or raspberries.
They ripen over a long season from early to late summer, and fruit size varies from one and a half inches to under half an inch in length.
So you can be sure you’re harvesting the right leaves, here is a video that can help you to identify the mulberry leaf:
How Much Mulberry Tea Should I drink?
Before drinking large amounts of mulberry tea, it is best first to ensure that you can tolerate it. Start by drinking just one or two small cups a day and gradually build up to a maximum of six cups a day.
When making the tea, you should only be using approximately one teaspoon per cup.
What Is Mulberry Leaf Tea Good For?
Many people know about the antioxidant and health benefits of mulberries, but far fewer realize the leaves are also beneficial.
Studies have shown that the leaves can be useful for people with cardiometabolic issues.
In traditional Chinese medicine, mulberry leaves have been used for many centuries.
Sang Ye – is the TCM name for the white mulberry leaf, and it is used as a herb to help the lungs and liver.
The problem with much of the research done on mulberry leaves and other natural things is that there are often thousands of different kinds. There are more than 1000 cultivars of the mulberry, and often researchers don’t document exactly the type they used in their experiments.
Are Mulberry Leaves Poisonous When Eaten?
Mulberry leaves have been used in cooking for centuries in certain cultures. Like anything, some people can be sensitive or allergic to them.
Most people find that drinking a few cups of mulberry tea poses no problems.
Mulberry leaves shouldn’t be eaten raw as they contain a milky sap which is a form of latex, and this is mildly toxic. It can also cause skin sensitivity.
How Are Mulberry Leaves Beneficial?
Antioxidants found in mulberry leaves help to reduce something called “oxidative stress,” which has been linked to a wide number of chronic diseases.
Diabetics may find mulberry leaves useful as they have been shown to lower blood sugar levels. More research is required to understand how this can best be applied.
It has also been noted when animals are fed mulberry leaves, they are shown to have improved kidney and liver function.
Mulberry leaf has also been studied to help with obesity and for lowering cholesterol levels as it has an effect on adipose fat.
Perhaps even more excitingly, these leaves contain compounds that have been shown to fight certain types of human cancers. You can find various studies on this at PubMed and other reputable science and medicine sites.
We all love to have a perfectly healthy smile, and mulberry leaves could help us with that, as they have been shown to have a beneficial effect on oral bacteria.
Can I Drink Mulberry Tea At Night?
Mulberry tea contains no caffeine and is not a stimulant, so there is no worry about it keeping you awake.
By drinking a cup of mulberry tea at night, you will be helping to increase the amount of antioxidants in your body, which can help fight free radicals. Over time this can be beneficial to your overall health and also improve your complexion.
Hot or cold, mulberry tea is a delicious and beneficial drink you can enjoy anytime.
It’s easy to make from fresh or dried mulberry leaves, or you may be able to find it in health food stores.
To make your tea taste even better, use spring water and consider adding a small amount of honey or maple syrup to add a little sweetness.
Be careful when handling fresh mulberry leaves as they can ooze latex sap which can cause reactions with your skin.
To learn heaps more about mulberry trees, berries and leaves, read more of our mulberry articles.