Mulberry leaves tea (Toot chai)

October 11, 2010  • 

 

Most people who have a general knowledge of the Middle-East will tell you that the reason that Lebanese people speak French is due to the fact that France had a mandate on Lebanon for a few decades. Wrong.

The reason that France had such an influence on Lebanon was primarily economic. How?


Lebanon had since the times of Justinien (Byzantine emperor, 7th century) been cultivating mulberry trees.

Mulberry trees have leaves; these leaves are the only food that the silkworms would eat; as a result, the silkworms would grow a cocoon which would then be used to make silk.

The economy of Lebanon benefitted greatly from this and enriched many people locally; since France was the major buyer (more than 90% of the local production was sent there), French interests began to develop the infrastructure of the country, setting up water and gas plants, schools and missions and a host of other concerns. In other words, France was our number one trading partner.

What is left of the mulberry trees and silk production? not much.

Today,  we enjoy the mulberries as a oh so delicious berry and make mulberry syrup; the mulberry leaves are made into a tea that is wayhealthier than green tea (without any caffeine). It is an excellent diuretic.

Mulberry tea leaves have 25 times more calcium than milk! Ten times more iron than spinach! More than twice the fiber of green tea! Full of potassium, magnesium and other minerals. It was used in China for medicinal purposes.

Its taste? Mild, almost sweet, faintly herbal.

Mulberry tea is made in Lebanon and in Asian countries; it can be purchased online.



Comments

68 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Fendi says:

    excellent ! I will try it !!! love the information that comes along !!
    thanks

  2. Rosa says:

    Interesting! I wonder how that tea tastes.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  3. Anita says:

    Lol.. I love the bag with the “Toot” tea, so cute. We have a gigantic mulberry tree next to our home in Lebanon and funny enough I’ve never had the tea.. would love to try it. I’ll search around here at the markets for it.

  4. anncoo says:

    I love all kind of tea. Thanks for the information 🙂

  5. Sushma Mallya says:

    Beautiful!!

  6. mylittleexpatkitchen says:

    That is so interesting Jumana. That tea sounds miraculous!
    I wish I could taste it.
    Magda

  7. Ivy says:

    Greece & Cyprus are full of mulberry trees but unfortunately we do not know that the leaves can be dried and used to make tea.

  8. A Canadian Foodie says:

    I want a set of those cups. Gorgeous!!!! Where can I buy those? I have a very funny story about the mulberry tree. A few summers ago, early one morning in Bijeljina, Vanja and I were out for a walk. I heard plopping and turned, and there were these giant translucent coloured elongated raspberry looking things falling our of an ancient tree. Plop! Again, on plopped at my feet. I picked it up and it looked like a clear elongated raspberry, but filled with crystal jelly. I could not help myself. In my mouth it went. Well, Vanja had told me that these were “dud’s” and that he ate them all the time as a kid. I was over the moon. The flavour was a subtle gentle sweet – something…nothing… I don’t know. The texture was so pleasing. Why don’t they sell these! Where can I buy them? What are they in English? He just laughed. It took about 6 or 7 years for us to find that this was a Mulberry Tree in English. We don’t have them in Alberta. I was incredulous when I read that the fruit is eaten some places,but usually seen as a nuisance. Do you eat the fruit?
    🙂
    Valerie

    • Joumana says:

      Valerie: Are you serious? We ADORE the fruit! so much so that every traditional (or non) household in Lebanon has at least one bottle of concentrated mulberry syrup; the taste of these purple berries is so sweet and wonderful we just can’t live without it for long, so we make the syrup to have at hand all year. The white mulberries are OK, nothing to write home about. Now, for some reason, they are not popular in North America. I called a nursery once and they told me people are put off by them because the berries stain their driveway. Yet, to me they are the best berries in the world, and unfortunately even now in Lebanon, the bottled syrup is not made with real mulberries anymore, just blackberries. Mulberries are harder to pick apparently. We only have one in our orchard and when the berries are ripe, we eat them ravenously, that’s for sure.! (I will need to ask my mom where she found these cups and i will let you know)

  9. TS of eatingclub says:

    Now I wonder if I’ve ever had this without knowing what it was! =)

  10. Faith says:

    Wow, I had no idea that mullberry leaves had so many health benefits! I love the fruit, so I’d really love to try the tea!

  11. carina says:

    Thanks for sharing the info about your lovely country and France. I agree, LOVE the tea cups!! I grew up in South Africa and many homes had a mulberry tree in the garden. Same reason if you don’t have one is because mom doesn’t want to battle with purple feet and fingers and stains on the clothes. We use to eat them untill our tummies would complain. Every August was silk worm time. Then your silkworm eggs from last year ( eggs were laid by the moths in a shoe box) will start hatching and you’ll go and pick the tiniest mulberry leaves for those tine black little things. Many hours were spent on transporting the worms with a pin from old leaves to fresh ones. Luckily they grew very fast!! We even had entrepreneurs amongst us, will sell some worms to friends (if your mom has burnt the eggs from previous year without your knowledge, because inevitably mom ‘looks’ after the worms) It was very common to see school kids walking to school with their ‘babies/pets’ in shoe boxes. My kids had them all, being a teacher I always had some in the class. All the kids knew the life cycle of a moth very well. Then we even would take the big fat worm when we could see they are about to start spinning themselves into a caccoon and will put it on a carton shape (heart was the most common) and the worms will get rid of all their silk before they become pupas.great fun!! Not at all common here in Australia.

    • Joumana says:

      @Carina: How lucky for you and these other kids to be intimately involved with the silk making process! Here all that is left is a museum for kids to see what exactly was the process with the silkworms, nothing more. The live ones spinning would have been much more exciting!

  12. Nuts about food says:

    I love the fact that you always have something interesting to tell us about the culture and history of Lebanon. It is never just a recipe.

  13. Priya says:

    Very new tea for me..

  14. SYLVIA says:

    I have a dark red mulberry tree in my garden, I love it for its sweet flavor, and powerful antioxidants. The fruit makes such a mess on the ground but it’s all worth-ed, It has tons of health benefits, it helps to flush fluids out of the body, and has the ability to block the absorption of sugar, perfect for diabetes. Although I have never made tea out of the leaves, it sounds very soothing. I will definitely order it on line.
    Joumana, the glass cups make serving this hot tea very stylish.

  15. sippitysup says:

    So there is a big old Mulberry tree in my neighborhood. Do you think all I need to do is dry the leaves? Cool. GREG

  16. Pauline says:

    Joumana, what would you call a mulberry tree in French? I would love to try and grow one. The dictionary says mûrier which of course is just a blackberry bush and the mulberry jam I found is labelled “confiture de mûres”. How to distinguish?

  17. Katerina says:

    I always thought that the best way to conquer a nation is by penetrating in its economic life as much as possible. I guess Lebanon is such an example. I didn’t know that the dried leaves can be made tea. I wonder how it tastes.

  18. jenny says:

    Fascinating! I LOVE to eat the fruit so I can’t wait to come to Lebanon and try the tea. I will bring back a bag for sure. And I want those glasses! Absolutely gorgeoussssssss!!!

  19. Oui, Chef says:

    Hmmmm….who ever would have thought that this stuff was so good for you….thanks for the tasty nutrition lesson. – S

  20. Diane says:

    Very informative post. I only knew about mulberry leaves and silk worms, not that they made good tea. Diane

  21. Eve@CheapEthnicEatz says:

    Interesting post indeed. And now I want to try this tea. What quantity are your stats based on, 1 cup of tea?

    • Joumana says:

      Eve: Very pointed question! they are based on 100 g of tea leaves.
      et Pauline: it is indeed un mûrier, of which there are many varieties, including wild ones; the best as far as the fruit goes are the purple ones.
      @Greg: I would make sure the leaves are clean, then I would dry them. They can also be mixed with green tea.

  22. Conor @ HoldtheBeef says:

    I had no idea about these leaves being used as a tea, nor their amazing health benefits. They’re super leaves! I’m a big drinker of herbal teas, so I shall surely be hunting these down.

  23. Pauline says:

    Thanks Joumana. I looked at some gardening sites, and it seems the mulberry with the Latin name morus nigra has the tastiest fruit. I shall try to find a plant…

  24. Rajani says:

    wow joumana i had no idea that mul leaves can be used as tea!!! growing up in delhi we had a huge mul tree right in our backyard and summer afternoons were filled with plucking ripe berries and gorging and getting a hiding for ruining our clothes with the juices. i remember once my brother and i froze a huge batch of berries in the impossible dream of eating them in winter. impossible because power cuts in india are as common today as they were 20 years back

  25. Adelina says:

    I love my visits to your site. I learn and get inspired by you so much… Love your teacup. I wonder if I can use the leaves from my parents’ mulberry tree… Do you know if this method would be safe? I love mulberries!!! This was my favorite fruit ever since I can remember.

    • Joumana says:

      Adelina: I am planning to try the leaves from our mulberry tree; I would make sure the leaves are clean and free of pesticides of course and then I would dry them and try one cup. If it tastes good, why not? After all, we make tea with sage leaves, anise seeds, rosemary, wild zaatar, and the list goes on!

  26. Eve@CheapEthnicEatz says:

    Thanks for answering. Too my research 100 gr of tea is around 50 tea cups. So 1 cup is half the calcium of milk, a fifth of iron from spinach and let’s call the fiber even. That is still a pretty amazing cup of tea health wise. Off to buy some!

  27. Paula says:

    I have two wonderful mulberry trees in my back garden, They remind me of school days as we had a large spreading one that was overhanging a neighbours house into the school playground. Memories of our red faced daughter up the tree laughing and eating her heart out live with me to this day. Now I find the leaves are beneficial in tea . Yes I’ve tried it. I mix it with Lemon Balm (Melissa) and other aromatic tea leaves to make a refreshing drink with anti parasitic/ intestinal worming properties as well.

    How spectacular: heritage, humour and health all in one!
    Loved reading your story.. My son also made mulberry syprup/natural cordial one year and it was truly delicious ..
    Does anyone know when/whether the trees should be pruned. One of ours is getting quite old and a bit woody.. however gives beautiful shade in summer
    Thanks again..

    • Joumana says:

      @Paula: Hello Paula and so nice to get to know you here! Once I am back in Lebanon I will ask someone I know there about pruning the mulberry trees for you; he is a seasoned farmer and knows intimately all of these trees.

  28. Elena B. Esteva says:

    now i know that mulberry plant has many benefits especially for health, does mulberry tea is beneficial to those who have dysmenorrhea?

  29. Violet Bounaparte says:

    So happy that i found your site! I do have a little Mulberry tree growing pretty well with much leaves.How long do i need to dry out the bigger n greener leaves in the sun for my cup of tea? Also, can the new baby shoots be eaten raw to be thrown into mixed salad? I recently bought some tea leaves from Northern Thailand (chiang mai) n is tasting good! V.B

  30. Luisawestfall@me.com says:

    I have a mulberry tree, I never try the tea, but, I will try. Have any recipes?

  31. Luisawestfall@me.com says:

    I have a mulberry tree, I never try the tea, but, I will try. Have any recipes?. I am a native of Spain, and no one seems to pay attention on the fruit. But, I always ate it from the garden of the Nuns I went to school ( they were white, very delicious ) If you take a look at the Bible it is always talking about mulberry tree. Very healthy and sweet, I need recipes. Thank you for your information. Luisa

    • Joumana says:

      @Luisa: Dear Luisa, I only have the tea and a pudding and a cake recipe with mulberries; hope to add more as I explore this wonderful berry which in Lebanon is made into a syrup.

  32. David says:

    which type of mulberry leaves to make tea, the young or the old leaves ?
    please advice,Thank

    • Joumana says:

      @David: I will inquire when I am back in Lebanon and let you know: I am assuming young or dried leaves will work, same as sage leaves for sage tea.

  33. David says:

    Hi,Joumana,
    Hope will not disturb you much as i do still have one more question to ask you. How long do i need to dry the leaves ?or till the leaves turn bark brown.
    best regards Pls send via my email.

  34. Vibha says:

    Hi Joumana

    Is mulberry tea also beneficial for weight loss??

    I have a mulberry tree near my house. Can you share how to make mulberry tea. Can i brew fresh pluck leaves? How many to use in one go?

    • Joumana says:

      @Vibha: I have never tried making a tea with fresh leaves, but why not? All I know from having tried it is mulberry tea helps speed up digestion; same for the mulberries too, as in Lebanon the tradition is to make mulberry syrup. It is a natural laxative.

  35. siew says:

    I am from Malaysia. Good to know people around the world are fascinated by the mulberry tree and its benefits. I have a mulberry tree at the backyard. You just need to dry the leaves under the sun for a few days until it is completely dry. Can speed up the process with convection oven or stirred fry with a wok. Stay good for months if kept in air tight container. Taste nice with or without milk.

  36. isabel suzanne visse says:

    CAN I MAKE MULBERRY TEA FROM THE FRESH LEAVES OFF THE TREE, AND HOW MANY LEAVES TO A CUP? I ENJOY THESE NATURAL TEA DRINKS. I AM DIABETIC TYPE 2. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. ISABEL.

    • Joumana says:

      @Isabel: As soon as I find out I will let you know; at the moment I am not sure but would guess that if the leaves have not been sprayed with insecticides, you can dry them in the sun and use them as an infusion, a few leaves 4 or 5 to a cup.

  37. Yusoff says:

    Mulberry grows well at my backyard garden in Kuching Malaysia.I used the leaves for tea and fruits for cordial drinks.It is known to reduce high blood and lowered blood-sugar. It increased your vitality.

  38. Selena Persico says:

    Wonderful blog and site! I have a funny story about the mulberry. We just moved after many years into a new house. The neighbor’s two mulberry trees covered much of our back yard: the branches of one with sweet fruit very high and hard to reach and the branches of the other, with not as sweet fruit, sprawling over, covering our trees and flowers.I both liked and disliked the trees and I could not pick as fast as the birds, it seemed. Our dog also loved the fruit and would gobble evrything that dropped.The first year, birds ate almost everything.This year the spring came. Fruit started to ripen:the dog would run out and eat so many berries, she got sick. I decided to beat out the birds and dog. I spread a plastic table cover under the tree and shook the branches.Voila! Suddenly,we had many berries to enjoy: berries to eat, berries for jam and for juice (the best!). We love the berries: now the birds get the top of the trees,our family the main part and the dog, enough to not get sick.
    Btw, it’s best when drying leaves for tea to not dry them in the sun:they preserve more nutrients and flavor that way. Put leaves on screens or hang branches a hot, dry dark place,like an attic or closet. Or place in heavy paper bags with lots of holes punched into the bags for air flow and hang.I’m trying the tea for the first time myself this year: that’s how I discovered this wonderful site.

    • Joumana says:

      @Selena: Enjoyed your visit and the story about the mulberry tree! I myself live for the day when I can have a mulberry tree instead of eating the neighbor’s berries! 🙂 Also traditional ways to use them in Lebanon is to make a syrup; unfortunately it is not exported. It is the most wonderful mulberry drink you ever had; plus mulberries are so full of fiber and great for digestion! Interesting about the tea leaves, it goes against what I had heard about sun drying too.

  39. Selena says:

    Ha, ha. Actually since the trees cover a circle of 15 ft or so each of my back yard, and the neighbor has no interest in the berries (and I share my tomatoes and peppers with them), I think it works out for all. Better than the birds eating them all, which is what happened the first year. But I got a good laugh from your comment.
    But maybe the sun drying works really well in places where it’s quite hot. Perhaps the leaves would dry very quickly. I’ve always dried herbs out of direct sun and they keep the color,aroma, and medicinal characteristics well.

  40. Selena says:

    By the way, I’ve seen mulberry syrup in a couple of middle eastern stores: a Turkish brand called Sera, syrup is “Dut Pekmezi,” if that’s what you were referring to earlier.

    • Joumana says:

      @Selena: I would try this brand, since I have never seen it before; I have been sorely disappointed by the Lebanese brands and have since only bought mulberry syrup in Lebanon when I know it is home made.

  41. Yusoff says:

    Mulberry plants grown well in my garden. It is easily could be converted into business activities.

  42. sarita says:

    i am so pleased to see that so many people are interested in mulberry. we here in melbourne are producing organic mulberry from the trees grown for a silk research project. i get a lot of mulberries so we started thinking of doing something with it, yes fresh is always good but because of the short fruiting period and also that i have to share it with nature….we decided to make some syrup and liqueur. have been bottling up. for sale as well. if anyone needs. thanku all.god bless.
    sarita

  43. Ezna says:

    When I read about mulberry tea I had to buy the eat. I have never tasted tea like mulberry tea loved it.

  44. Jeanninw says:

    I live in Las Vegas Nevada and have 3 Mulberry trees in my yard. None of these trees are fruit bearing. Is it safe to dry these leaves out to make my own Mulberry tea?

    Thanks.

    • Joumana says:

      @Jeanninw: I dont know what variety you have; I would ask the nursery or someone who is in agriculture nearby.

  45. fiber supplements says:

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up and the rest of the
    site is really good.

  46. sue woods says:

    I am so happy to have stumbled onto your page. I have 3 mulberry trees in my yard and usually can’t beat the birds to the berries. I love it when I can. I had no idea I could use the leaves or dry and use them. I also had no idea how healthy they are. Thank you for this information especially right now when I am trying to find a healthier alternative to my black tea addiction.
    I got my mulberries from the arbor foundation years ago.

  47. mohammed jabir says:

    hi, anyone interested to buy mulberry leaves in bulk quantities please contact me, my mobile number is 9886971129. My email address is jab_mba@yahoo.co.in. awaiting your prompt response as earliest. Thanks, Mohammed Jabir. Askco International, India

  48. Kathy says:

    Hi
    Where do I order the mulberry leaf tea? I can’t find where to order.
    Thank you,
    Kathy

    • Joumana says:

      @Kathy: I had bought mine from a company in Beirut and I need to check to see if they still carry it (it is a tea from the museum of silk in Lebanon) and also if they do ship. I would check online for purveyors; at the time, I had located a few from Asian countries. The Lebanese company is called awan, I believe.

  49. karim says:

    Hello friends.

    can any one help me to find market for toot chai (mulberry green tea)

    thanks
    karim

  50. S.Mahesh Kumar says:

    Hai Every body,
    We are supplying Mulberry dry leaves. Any body interested can mail or call us to
    asmithaimpex@gmail.com or +91 9443709447

    Thanks

  51. FirstMargaret says:

    I have noticed you don’t monetize your website, don’t waste your traffic, you can earn additional cash
    every month because you’ve got high quality content. If you
    want to know how to make extra bucks, search for:
    Boorfe’s tips best adsense alternative

Add a Comment