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Clinical research from Thailand's Chulalongkorn University has confirmed that the ancient herb Mulberry leaf significantly curbs inflammation among the arteries, lowers triglycerides and reduces low-density lipoprotein levels.
The researchers tested 24 patients for three months. All of the patients had higher-than-normal levels of cholesterol and triglycerides and higher-than-normal levels of low-density lipoprotein – a cholesterol vehicle known to have negative health consequences.
One of these consequences is higher levels of inflammation. Because LDL-c is prone to oxidation, inflammation within the blood vessels often occurs with high LDL-c levels.
The patients all had LDL levels above 140 mg/dL and below 190 mg/dL. The researchers collected and analyzed blood samples prior to the study, and stored samples for comparison later. The patients were also tested for triglycerides, CRP levels, liver enzymes, and glutathione levels.
None of the patients were on any other medications during the study period, with the exception of one patient who took a birth control pill once, and then discontinued it. None of the patients were diagnosed with any other medical condition.
The patients were given 280 milligrams of Mulberry leaf (Morus alba L., Moraceae) three times per day - after each meal - for the entire three-month period. Every thirty days the patients were tested again.
Mulberry leaf drops triglycerides, LDL-c and raises HDL-c
After the 12 weeks, all of the patients had lower serum triglycerides and LDL-c levels. The average drop in triglycerides was 10.6% and LDL-c levels dropped by an average of 8.2% from levels at the beginning of the study. HDL-c levels also increased among the group – an average of 6.3% across the board.
In addition, 16 of the 24 patients had lower levels of CRP than at the beginning of the study, and these levels went down each month. Those with higher CRP levels at the beginning of the study were among those whose levels were reduced, and those whose levels were not reduced were among those with normal levels.
And among the five patients with CRP levels well above the normal zone – above 3 mg/dL – their CRP levels at the end of the study had been reduced to the normal range.
High CRP levels are linked with significant risk of a serious heart attack or other coronary event.
The researchers also tested mulberry leaf for its antioxidant abilities, and found it to be significantly antioxidant. They found it to have significant free-radical scavenger abilities.
The three months of mulberry leaf consumption also increased levels of the patients' Glutathione peroxidase activity. This illustrates mulberry leaf's ability to not only stimulate be antioxidant in itself, but to stimulate the liver's production of glutathione.
The researchers concluded:
"Extraction of mulberry leaf powder by hot water exhibited strong antioxidative activity. This research also reveals the tendency of mulberry leaf powder in reducing serum LDL and triglyceride as well as blood vessel inflammation stemmed from dyslipidemia, by the measurement of decreased CRP levels. Moreover, mulberry leaf powder can increase the erythrocyte glutathione peroxidase activity and decrease 8-isoprostane in serum. No severe adverse reaction was found and minor side effects can be relieved by taking mulberry leaf tablets immediately after meals."
This is not the first study to show that mulberry leaf significantly decreases triglyceride levels. Another study from Chulalongkorn University studied 23 high-cholesterol patients for 12 weeks. This study also gave 280 milligrams of mulberry leaf three times per day. In this study, the average drop in triglycerides was over 14%.
Mulberry leaf and its relatives (Morus spp.) have been used traditionally in many traditional medicines, but notably in Asian traditional medicine, including Thai medicine, Japanese (Kampo), Ayurveda and Chinese medicine.
Other studies have shown that mulberry leaf helps glucose control among diabetics.
Aramwit P, Supasyndh O, Siritienthong T, Bang N. Mulberry leaf reduces oxidation and C-reactive protein level in patients with mild dyslipidemia. Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013:787981. doi: 10.1155/2013/787981.
Aramwit P, Petcharat K, Supasyndh O. Efficacy of mulberry leaf tablets in patients with mild dyslipidemia. Phytother Res. 2011 Mar;25(3):365-9. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3270.