The Miracle Mystery Mulberry

The Mulberry is well known. Almost everyone can identify the branches laden with purple pods, the shimmering green leaves, and the deep purple carpet of fallen fruit, welcoming us to join in the festivities. Many times I have watched birds take flight from the deciduous trees, their beaks full of bounty. I remember walking down the sidewalk in summer trying to dodge the pattern of purple on the pavement. But as common as these trees are, they contain a mystery. Is the mulberry another tasty pitstop? Or an overlooked super food? Even the nursery rhyme seems to down play this wonder plant. “Here we go ’round the mulberry bush?” Their saplings are kinda scrappy, but make no mistake this is no “bush” that goes the distance in terms of health benefits.
Berry Blessing

There are three types of mulberry tree; The white mulberry native to east/central China. The black mulberry native to west Asia, and the red mulberry native to the eastern USA. They are of the Morus fruit family, which is the main food source for silkworms.

When ripe, these purple pods resemble a dark red gem, and are sweeter the higher you go. When examined closely your bound to find some bugs. But never fear! Bugs are a valuable source of protein, and their caloric content is not to be neglected.

Berry Select

Historically the mulberry has been used to treat weakness, fatigue, anemia, to calm the nerves, balance internal secretions and nourish the yin and blood (commonly used in China as a blood tonic.) The leaves alone contain a wide variety of proteins, polyphenols, flavonoids, steroids, triterpenes, vitamins and minerals (including ascorbic acid and beta carotene.) The leaf can be made into a tea which contains 1-Deoxynojirimycin (or DNJ.) Mulberry leaves are polymorphic, (there can be 3 different shapes on a single branch.) Making a tea from the leaves has a powerful antioxidant effect, lowers cholesterol and reduces inflammation. 

20110420-Mulberry

The berries are sweet when ripe, but actually develop a more robust flavor when dried. They pack a range of photo-nutrients such as polyphenol, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins like Riboflavin (B-2), B-6, niacin, folic acid and vitamin K.) Also they contain potassium, manganese and magnesium and reservatol which protects against stroke, and reduces blood pressure. They are an excellent source of vitamin A, C, and E and protects us from free radicals. Mulberries are also an excellent source of iron, which is rare among berries. Not to mention, healthy carbohydrates which make up 90 of the calorie content. At 2.4 grams of fiber (10% daily dose) 2.6 mg of iron, 1.3 grams of sugar, and 51 grams of Vitamin C these berries are more than meets the eye.

The best way to harvest them is bring a tarp, bowl, or jar, take hold of a branch and begin shaking. “It’s a lot like getting to know your neighbor. The friendlier your handshake, the more they’ll have a good first impression.” –Sascha Kyssa, Creative Director, Founder, Naturewise Academy.

Berry Bowl

So next time you find yourself in the presence of this amazing tree, remember to “go ’round the mulberry tree,” and let your body do what it came to do. Sing, dance and celebrate with a mouthful of miracle mystery mulberries.

© Morehead Media 2015

Advertisements

Princess Kaguya: The film that called back my heart

Princess Kaguya is not another eco-wake-up-call disguised as a film. It’s infinitely more.
Princess Kaguya Woods

 

Don’t get me wrong, I love a punch in the gut epic about the human race’s struggle for survival on a planet that barely supports life. But I’d much prefer a tale about our species yearning to reconnect with a nature that is ready and willing to assist us.

Where “The inconvenient Truth’s” statistical sensibility made me realize the urgency of our ability as humans to be “proactive” about our planet. Mad Max gave me goosebumps with how fetishized our culture has become. Princess Kaguya goes straight to the heart of the matter, through the best way to make an impact. Through our heart. This may be a retelling of a thousand-year-old Japanese folktale, but director Isao Takahata has brought it to life in a way that feels full of freshness.

Princess Kaguya Spring

The film contains many landmarks that are recognizably Ghibli. A young, curious, courageous female protagonist, who as the film develops is more complex than she is cute. I’m a bit bias when it comes to animation (having studied 2D traditional animation,) but the visuals of Princess Kaguya are stunning. Hand painted backgrounds are typical for Ghibli, but every scene here is masterfully subtle. The colored pencil outlines are also a welcome touch. And the colors are sheer genius.

When it comes to the audio, I always prefer subtitles and original voices, over any kind of dubbing. But here I was pleasantly surprised by the top notch voice casting of the dubbed version (especially Kaguya played by Chloë Grace Moretz.)

Conclusion: Princess Kaguya is a landmark of animation that reshapes notions of what’s important in life. It’s the most emotionally rich film I’ve seen in years, and with today’s epic-technology-laden-films it stands out like a bamboo shoot in winter. Sure we can create dystopian worlds, sexy complicated tech, crazy levels of gore, or even recreate a long-extinct species. But after the wow-factor has worn it’s welcome, I emerge from the experience asking, what’s the point? It’s the stories we connect with that we’ll cherish, we’ll remember, and will enrich our lives.

Princess Kaguya Boar Piglets

Princess Kaguya is a masterpiece of visual storytelling that I’ll be thinking about, dreaming about, and re-watching with friends, children, and my children soon. Life ebbs and flows, and the stories we remember are the one’s that bring us together. So next time I find myself gazing at mother moon. I’ll thank her for bringing light to our nights, and solace to our fruitful days.

“Be present, stay still, and keep open.”

© Morehead Media, 2015.