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Herbs & Botanicals

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Mulberry Twig (sang zhi)

What is mulberry twig? What is it used for?

Mulberry twigs come from the branches of the mulberry tree (Morus alba L.), a member of the moraceae family. Native to east Asia, the mulberry tree is now grown worldwide. It can reach a height of more than 30 feet, and typically flowers in may, when the tree's fruit ripens. Mulberry trees are rather hardy; they can live in semi-shade or no-shade climates, and can tolerate both drought and high winds.

Mulberry twigs are gathered at the end of spring or the beginning of the summer, then dried in the sun and cut into slices. According to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, they have bitter and neutral properties, and are associated with the Liver meridian. The main functions of mulberry twig are to dispel wind and dampness, and to clear the collateral channels. Mulberry twig is typically used to treat spasms and rheumatic pain in the arms and legs, and to reduce edema in the limbs and joints.

How much mulberry twig should I take?

The usual dose of mulberry twig is between 10 and 30 grams, taken as a decoction. It is usually combined with other herbs such as Siberian ginseng, tetrandra root and Chinese star jasmine.

What forms of mulberry twig are available?

Dried slices of mulberry twig can be found at Asian markets, herbal shops and specialty stores. Some shops also sell powdered mulberry twig.

What can happen if I take too much mulberry twig? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

Mulberry twig should be used with caution by people with deficient yin syndrome. As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions or side-effects associated with mulberry twig. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking mulberry twig or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.

References

  • Lade H. Case history: irritable bowel syndrome. Available online.
  • Macioca G. The Practice of Chinese Medicine. London: Churchill Livingstone, 1994.
  • Wang SS. Advanced Textbook on Traditional Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology, vol. III. Beijing: New World Press, 1996.
  • Wu Y, Fischer W. Practical Therapeutics of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Brookline, MA: Paradigm Publications, 1997.
  • Zhang EQ (ed.) Clinic of Traditional Chinese Medicine (II). Shanghai: Shanghai University of Chinese Medicine Press, 1990.

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