When it comes to herbal or botanical “teas” (also called tisanes), many of the most striking pure-leaf botanicals without added flavorings or ingredients often go under-appreciated.

Few botanical teas can provide the perfect ending to a meal like a cup of Lemon Verbena. When the symptoms of the flu leave all other teas tasting like a cup of hot water, the tartness of hibiscus breaks through and provides a healthy Vitamin C boost. While there are many nominees for least-appreciated botanical tea, few remain as obscure to Western tea drinkers as Mulberry Leaf tea.

Mulberry Leaf (more specifically, White Mulberry Leaf) is prevalent in China and parts of Southeast Asia, where it is used as a tea and as the primary food source for the silkworm. Mulberry Leaf is a healthy, powerhouse leaf that contains 17 kinds of amino acids, Vitamins C, B1, and B2, folic acid, and a variety of minerals – all without any caffeine.

Recently, attention has focused on how Mulberry Leaf can help normalize blood sugar levels. In a 2008 University of Minnesota study, researchers conducted clinical trials of Mulberry Leaf as a remedy for Type 2 diabetes and discovered that it is effective as a blood sugar balancer and aids in moderating carbohydrate absorption. The research team found that Mulberry Leaf lowers post-meal blood sugar spikes by an average of 44 percent while stabilizing blood sugar levels. (Medical News Today)

The dry leaves have a woodsy / sencha / oolong aroma before brewing. While infusing, a light wheat grass scent rises from the cup. The taste is smooth and slightly vegetal, with little bitterness and a neutral sweetness.

During a few of our green tea-tasting events, we’ve slipped Mulberry Leaf tea in as a “ringer” without identifying it before tasting it. The flavor notes, liquor color, and body of Mulberry Leaf tea compared favorably with the character of green teas. Most tasters were surprised that the mystery tea was a botanical tea.

Maybe it’s time to salute a “healthy green tisane” and give Mulberry Leaf tea more credit than we have in the past.