All shall yield to the Mulberry-tree;
Bend to the blest Mulberry;
Matchless was he who planted thee;
And thou, like him, immortal shall be.
It is the end of May, & so it is Mulberry season here in North Carolina. These abundant beauties speckle the yard with their deep hued gems & if you are barefoot, walking in the back gardens, the bottoms of your feet will surely be stained by their indigo hue. We have black Mulberries here, though there are other species out there which I have not worked with. Morus nigra & other Morus species are also home to the silkworm (Bombyx mori--the species, mori referring to the Mulberry).
Mulberries are delicious, full of wonderful nutrients, folklore, & medicine. One of my favorite ways to work with Mulberry is during my menstrual cycle, in the week or so after I have finished bleeding, to restore my iron & nourish my blood. Fresh Mulberry contains a lovely amount of iron & also Vitamin C, which helps the body to better & more adequately absorb iron. Jams, compotes, pies, syrups, smoothies... all of these are wonderful & delicious ways to eat the Mulberry & incorporate it into your own cyclical nature. What if you tried a spoonful of Mulberry syrup each morning in your coffee or tea the week following your bleed?
As a nourishing medicine, this is a cooling & soothing energy with an affinity for the blood. Because of this, Mulberry also has a nutritive action on & within all the blood-rich organs of the body: the heart, uterus, liver, & kidneys. Mulberries are wonderfully nourishing, rich with Vitamins A, C, E, K, riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), folate (B9), choline, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium & zinc.
Mulberry is a beautiful ally for helping to stimulate better memory function & it fills the Spirit with a grounded sense of abundance, thus helping to relax us into pleasure, rest, & pause in the present moment.
My favorite ways to make Mulberry medicine include a switchel, elixir, & a shrub. Below find a simple, iron-rich recipe for a Mulberry switchel ~ I learned that switchels are made with molasses + apple cider vinegar, similarly to oxymels, though of course in the place of honey, we use molasses. I have also heard of switchels to mean vinegar + any sweetener, but this recipe will follow one made with blackstrap molasses.
This nutritive switchel will be an amazing companion for those who need a little blood building or iron replenishing. In addition to the Mulberries, it contains apple cider vinegar which is known to extract more of the minerals & nutrients from our plant allies & to better deliver them to our systems than other menstruums & blackstrap molasses is also a wonderful iron-rich medicine.
Mulberry + Molasses Silky Switchel
You will need:
-- a bowl full of freshly harvested & washed black Mulberries
-- raw, organic, with-the-mother apple cider vinegar
-- organic blackstrap molasses
-- 3 drops of garnet essence (optional)
-- a cutting board & knife
-- wooden spoon
-- a mason jar
-- parchment paper
-- After gently washing your Mulberries, cut them in halves (or smaller) on your cutting board--note that you will get berry stains on your hands & clothing! But it will wash out, because they are stains vs. dyes. You will just need to enjoy having indigo palms for a little while
-- Place your chopped Mulberries into your mason jar & leave about 1" between them & the top of your mason jar
-- Fill about one quarter to one half of your jar with organic blackstrap molasses (ratio is to your taste)
-- Next, fill the remainder of your jar, to the top, with organic apple cider vinegar
-- Gently stir your mixture with the wooden kitchen spoon, to remove air bubbles
-- Place a square of your parchment paper over the mouth of your jar + follow that with your lid
-- Shake it up one last time & add a label to it
-- Keep your medicine to steep in a cool, dark cupboard for at least one month/one lunar cycle
-- Shake your switchel during this time, when you remember to
-- Strain away & enjoy!