In this review, researchers from different universities in China systematically summarized the chemical composition and medicinal properties of mulberry, which is used to treat diabetes. This article was published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine.
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a serious metabolic disorder that affects numerous people all over the world.
Traditional herbal medicines are still widely used today to treat and prevent DM despite the developments in modern medicine.
Asian countries consider traditional herbal medicines as important therapeutic treatments for DM.
For centuries, China has used mulberry to treat DM.
Numerous preclinical findings have demonstrated the potential of mulberry as an alternative treatment for DM.
According to studies, the active components of mulberry that make it medicinal include polyhydroxylated alkaloids, flavonoids, and polysaccharides.
The researchers systematically reviewed the biological activities of mulberry on DM, in particular, its effects on glucose absorption, insulin production and secretion, oxidation, and inflammation.
They also discussed the challenges, opportunities, and the direction of future research on mulberry, as well as the potential for developing mulberry into pharmaceuticals for the treatment of DM.
The researchers hope that further research can be made on mulberry so that its therapeutic potential can be fully utilized for the treatment of DM.
The industrialization of agriculture did massive damage to rural America, turning most of that beautiful land into medieval plantations. Instead of millions of small family farmers, we now have a few thousand large corporate farmers in charge of rural America and the growing of most food. Democracy and human and environmental health suffered a severe blow. Money and power triumphed.
Like many countries, China is trying to catch up with the agricultural superpower illusion of America. Yes, America produces huge amounts of food, but at unsustainable and catastrophic costs and consequences.
There are non-toxic alternatives to coaxing more from an acre of land.
In the United States, the alternative to chemical farming has the name of “organic” agriculture. In the European Union, the alternative is “biological” agriculture. These alternatives are sophisticated modifications of traditional agriculture. They produce and sell food without using pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetic engineering, sludge, and radiation. But like industrialized farming, the organic-biological alternatives ignore the size of farms, the plight of farm workers, the kind and size of farm machinery, the use of petroleum and petroleum products like plastics.
Petroleum fuels industrialized societies. Their agriculture, transportation, energy and defense industries are largely depended on petroleum. However, petroleum is a major global warming fuel.
Agribusiness and peasants in China
China has a growing sector of industrialized agriculture. China has also more than 200 million peasants practicing traditional farming.
Caught between these two gigantic forces, The Chinese government is campaigning on behalf of environmental protection primarily as an antidote to the ecocidal and destabilizing effects of environmental pollution.
I have had the opportunity of visiting China twice. The Institute for Postmodern Development of China made that possible. Since 2005, this non-profit organization based in Claremont, California, has been the ecological link between China and America.
What is ecological civilization?
Indeed, the first time I heard the term “ecological civilization” was in Claremont where I have been living since 2008. I immediately smiled and connected ecological civilization to fantasy.
The idea, of course, is not entirely utopian. First of all, it is beautiful. It brings to mind heaven on Earth: flourishing villages and towns, peasants working the land without outsiders oppressing them or oppressing each other or polluting the natural world; flowers, monarch butterflies, honeybees, singing birds, sheep and lambs, fig trees, flowering lemon and almond trees, creeks and rivers running through the land, olive groves, grapevines and god Dionysos and his maenad followers indulging in a frenzy of dance and music.
However, Zhihe Wang and Meijun Fan, who direct the Institute for Postmodern Development of China, probably have other dreams for ecological civilization. They grew up in the China of Mao Zedong. They experienced hunger and witnessed the destruction of traditional Chinese culture. They are both trained in academic philosophy. They know China and the West.
They may see ecological civilization as an emerging new global philosophy. Either humans will learn how to live in harmony with the natural world or they will become extinct. Perhaps ecological civilization is a convenient expression for the end of war and a beginning of something better for themselves and China. It may be no more than a slogan or deep belief in a better world.
I joined the discussion about ecological civilization during some of the conferences they sponsored in Claremont. That gave me a chance to talk to Chinese scholars.
Such theoretical perspectives enriched my limited observations in rural China. Chinese peasants told me they love the land they rent from the state. And Chinese agronomists who study peasant farming told me they would love to see a better future for peasant farming.
Americanizing Chinese farming
Nevertheless, China is striving to “modernize” its peasant agriculture. Chinese scientists have been training in America for decades. The Chinese government is funding these scientists to expand the scope of industrialized farming in China. Both the government and the American-trained scientists overlook the fact that peasants are raising most of China’s food.
Industrialized farmers in China are converting peasant land to large factory farms. Such a policy is bound to spark clashes between peasants and large industrialized farmers supported by the government. This looming tragedy is a telling example of how difficult it is to maintain ancient ecological traditions in an age of worldwide ecocide and rapacious ambitions and governance.
The peasant factor
In contrast to the hegemonic American agribusiness and the equally hegemonic if misguided developing Chinese agribusiness, Chinese peasant farming opens an exciting vista of ecological and political insights for a strategy of an agriculture that is largely benign to the natural world, just to those working the land, and healthy to all eating the food peasants grow.
Industrialized agribusiness, be that of the American or Chinese variety, is against ecological civilization. Organic / biological farming and peasant agriculture open the doors to ecological civilization – just a little. They give us but a glimpse of what the future could become.
The first system – agribusiness — is a grab for power; the second is a spark from millennial traditions of wisdom and practice in the raising of food without wounding the land.
There’s also the best of modern science coming under the name of agroecology: the latest findings in agricultural ecology, that could and would complement and enrich peasant practices.
China would do its culture a favor if it turns all its efforts in repairing and strengthening its peasant farming, abandoning its agribusiness as an error. Such a policy shift would tell the world China is serious about ecological civilization – and fighting global warming. At that moment, China might become a model for saving the Earth.
The Chinese government has thrown billions of dollars at the development of GMOs, but the unpopularity of such crops with consumers in China has prevented their large-scale agricultural production in that country. Waking Times recently reported that massive demand for organic produce in China has caused food shortages because of the country’s issues with pollution, and has led to the production of “fake organics.”
Unfortunately, a lack of demand at home has also led to a flood of questionable Chinese products flowing into other countries, including the United States.
The modern glass greenhouse requires massive inputs of energy to grow crops out of season. That’s because each square metre of glass, even if it’s triple glazed, loses ten times as much heat as a wall.
However, growing fruits and vegetables out of season can also happen in a sustainable way, using the energy from the sun. Contrary to its fully glazed counterpart, a passive solar greenhouse is designed to retain as much warmth as possible.
Research shows that it’s possible to grow warmth-loving crops all year round with solar energy alone, even if it’s freezing outside. The solar greenhouse is especially successful in China, where many thousands of these structures have been built during the last decades.
Fruit Walls: Urban Farming in the 1600s
These crops were grown surrounded by massive “fruit walls”, which stored the heat from the sun and released it at night, creating a microclimate that could increase the temperature by more than 10°C (18°F).Later, greenhouses built against the fruit walls further improved yields from solar energy alone
China has signed a trade agreement with Israel worth $300 million that will see the country import lab-grown meats produced by three companies: SuperMeat, Future Meat Technologies, and Meat the Future.
China will carry out a nationwide poll next month to test the public’s acceptance of genetically-modified food. Editor note: It is more like getting the public ready to accept state sanctioned GMO expansion.