Mulberry leaf is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine and also has wide applications in natural skincare products.
Winter mulberry leaves, which are taken off the tree after frost, are considered to have greater medicinal properties. They are deemed useful for dispelling wind-heat, moistening the lungs, soothing the liver, and for brightening the eyes.
The herb would be prescribed for treating cold and flu symptoms caused by wind-heat, and for dry coughing due to hot lungs, as well as other problems such as headache, dizziness, blurred vision and skin rashes.
Apart from being ingested, it is also available for external applications. Washing eyes using the boiled water of mulberry leaves can brighten the eyes and improve eye redness, according to the classical texts of traditional Chinese medicine.
Modern findings show that mulberry leaves carry pharmacological actions that can benefit diabetic patients, as the leaves contain natural substances that can help reduce swelling, lose weight, lower blood pressures, bring down blood glucose levels and improve blood lipids.
According to a four-year research study conducted by the Institute of Clinical Pharmacology of Zhejiang University, it has been confirmed that the mulberry leaf has similar anti-aging effects as ginseng. It is good for the skin when used externally.
When there are many holiday gatherings, plus frequent weather changes, it is easy for people to catch a cold or flu. With little rest and sleep, skin and eye condition might also become worse. The following recipes for drink and skin-masks can help people overcome many troubles.
1) Winter mulberry leaf herbal tea
Ingredients: 3 taels (or 11.4g) winter mulberry leaves, 2 taels (or 7.6g) honey-fried loquat leaves, 800ml water
Method: Add all leaves into the water and heat it till it boils. Pour the content into a vacuum flask and close the lid. It would then be ready to be served after being set aside for 30 minutes. The leaves could be brewed for a second time.
Functions: The drink clears heat and soothes lungs. It can also help reduce cough and sputum, improve dryness in mouth and throat, and dispel mild pathogenic cold and heat.
Frequency: Those who have fallen ill with yellowish sputum can take the drink once a day. Those who just have a dry throat can drink once every other day. Healthy individuals, meanwhile, can take two or three days a week.
2) Face mask for acne-prone skin
Ingredients: 3g mulberry leaves, 3g wild chrysanthemum extract, 10g natural seaweed powder, 20-30ml boiled water of honeysuckle flowers
Method: Mix all ingredients into a smooth, thick paste.
Uses: Clean your face thoroughly and apply the paste evenly on it. Apply a thicker layer to the area of acne or pimples. Wash the paste off with water after 15-20 minutes of application. For general skincare purposes, apply the fresh mask once or twice a week. People who have a serious acne condition can use the paste in the affected area daily. Those who are prone to suffer heat easily can use it every other day.
Functions: The mask can clear heat, reduce inflammation and skin oil secretions. It can also reduce mild swelling and promote healing of acne.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec. 29.
Translation by Darlie Yiu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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