The present review is aimed at providing a comprehensive summary on the botany, utility, phytochemistry, pharmacology, and clinical trials of Morus alba (mulberry or sang shu). The mulberry foliage has remained the primary food for silkworms for centuries. Its leaves have also been used as animal feed for livestock and its fruits have been made into a variety of food products. With flavonoids as major constituents, mulberry leaves possess various biological activities, including antioxidant, antimicrobial, skin-whitening, cytotoxic, anti-diabetic, glucosidase inhibition, anti-hyperlipidemic, anti-atherosclerotic, anti-obesity, cardioprotective, and cognitive enhancement activities. Rich in anthocyanins and alkaloids, mulberry fruits have pharmacological properties, such as antioxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-atherosclerotic, anti-obesity, and hepatoprotective activities. The root bark of mulberry, containing flavonoids, alkaloids and stilbenoids, has antimicrobial, skin-whitening, cytotoxic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hyperlipidemic properties. Other pharmacological properties of M. alba include anti-platelet, anxiolytic, anti-asthmatic, anthelmintic, antidepressant, cardioprotective, and immunomodulatory activities. Clinical trials on the efficiency of M. alba extracts in reducing blood glucose and cholesterol levels and enhancing cognitive ability have been conducted. The phytochemistry and pharmacology of the different parts of the mulberry tree confer its traditional and current uses as fodder, food, cosmetics, and medicine. Overall, M. alba is a multi-functional plant with promising medicinal properties.
Keywords: Medicinal properties; Morus alba; Mulberry; Multi-purpose.
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