The American approach to good health is changing, and functional foods and drinks, including mulberries and coconut water, are playing a big part in this change.
For much of the 20th century, the view of American health practitioners towards traditional medicine was tempered with skepticism. In recent years, integrative healthcare formed an "information bridge" that brought the two cultures closer, and this "integrative healthcare" is now flourishing in the US. We’ve witnessed the birth of traditional medicine here, and we’ve seen the rise of alternative and complementary schools of medicine, including the key role that nutrition plays in health maintenance.
"Anthocyanins in purple foods [such as mulberries] do double duty," notes Dr. Oz in his Antioxidant Diet guide. "They go in and prevent damage and help heal the damage that is already done. The deeper the hue the better."
Awareness of these superfoods is growing in the West. Taking example from the East, Western culture now also looks to green tea, hibiscus, white tea and chamomile for their flavonoids and nutrients. Western attitudes towards pure, plant-based nutrition has changed – and it’s a change for the better.
East Meets West
Call it the eternal dance of yin/yang or a harmonious meeting of cultures. The mulberry is now a symbol of the fruitful overlap of Eastern and Western approaches to good health. For thousands of years, mulberries have played an integral role in traditional Chinese medicine, as a rejuvenator and to treat many health conditions. Now, Western science is being applied to explore these ancient practices. Ancient Asian healers shared their knowledge on many helpful health care practices by prescribing tonics, tinctures, and teas made from mulberries, as well as prescribing the fruit itself as part of the diet. Mulberries contain abundant natural compounds and antioxidants that the body loves – from amino acids to anthocyanins to resveratrol. Western science shows that these potent, powerful nutrients have multiple beneficial effects—boosting immunity, protecting heart and liver, strengthening blood vessels, and aiding vision as well as helping to enhance memory.
Numerous scientific studies are yielding promising results that illustrate that the cutting-edge West has good reason to embrace the ancient wisdom of the East, including the respect given to the luscious fruits of the revered mulberry tree.
There are only two ways to live your life: as though nothing is a miracle, or as though everything is a miracle." — Albert Einstein
From the moment the existence of the deciduous mulberry tree was first noted—more than five thousand years ago— it has been regarded as special. Pliny the Elder called it "the wisest of trees," as only the mulberry refrains from shooting leaves until the last frost has passed, and writers from ancient China to ancient Rome have praised it for its many health-boosting properties.
"A man will pass his summers in health, who will finish his luncheon with black mulberries," extolled the Roman poet Horace in the 1st century BC.
Rising up to 50 feet, and with roots that shoot down nearly as far, the hearty mulberry tree also has the ability to tap into more nutrients than most other plants, as the ancients knew all too well.