Chill Out with Mulungu, Mother Nature's Relaxing Botanical
What is Mulungu Bark?
Mulungu is native to the tropical wetlands of South and Central America.
The bark and root of the tree have been used by indigenous people to promote relaxation. If you haven’t heard of it before, you’re not alone. Aside from appearing in a limited number of nutritional supplements, mulungu bark hasn’t gotten a lot of mainstream attention in North America. Now, however, Western herbalists are beginning to use and recommend it more. Not only does it have mood-elevating effects, but it also supports healthy sleep.
"Stress affects just about everyone. In fact, in a national poll done by NPR, half of all adults say they experienced a major stressful event in the past year. While stress may be an unavoidable natural part of life, too much stress can have a significant negative impact on your health.
Instead of turning to medication, there are quite a number of natural alternatives including exercise, meditation, yoga, etc. In addition, there are a number of herbal remedies that can help lower stress levels.
One of these herbs is a popular Brazilian herb - Mulungu bark. Although not readily available in the states, mulungu has long been used in South America as not only a natural sedative, but also to calm an overexcited nervous system and help with sleep issues," writes Jon Barron.
The traditional use of mulungu for anxiety and stress, which has been well documented by researchers, shows that it effectively alters anxiety-related responses. The researchers reported that mulungu extract has an effect similar to the commonly prescribed anti-anxiety drug diazepam, without the drowsy side effects.
"Life is full of stressful moments and situations. Nobody is immune to occasional mood disturbances and anxiety. However, just because you’re stressed isn’t necessarily a good reason to resort to powerful medications," writes Dr. Edward Group at the Global Healing Center.
Many medicines-for-your-mind have horrible side effects that are worse than the disorders they are intended to correct. If your mood needs a pick-up, there are many natural, narcotic-free remedies that promote relaxation without terrible side effects — exercise, aromatherapy, meditation, yoga, and sauna bathing are just a few. Additionally, many people turn to herbal remedies. In Brazil, one of the more popular herbal remedies for anxiety and nervousness is the bark from the Erythrina mulungu tree, commonly known as mulungu.
Mulungu May Support a Healthy Outlook
In addition, one of the main effects of mulungu is a strong physical sensation of well-being, or mood elevation. It is experienced as a very pleasurable warmth and tingling in the body. It is this pleasurable sensation that works so well as an appetite suppressant. You just feel so good that you don't want to eat. Some preliminary research also shows it may even help to lessen pain.
How Does Mulungu Bark Support a Healthy Mood?
Plants steeped in traditional medicine have garnered attention from researchers who seek to identify the active compounds. It’s no surprise that Brazil, where mulungu is popular as a tranquilizer, has been the location of many of its scientific inquiries.
The research has discovered that mulungu contains high levels of flavonoids, which have an antioxidant effect, and potent alkaloids, which may help reduce anxiety. When the Department of Biotechnology at Brazil’s University of Ribeirão Preto used animal models to evaluate erysothrine, one of the alkaloids, they found it to inhibit anxiety without producing ugly side effects. Other research has reported similar examples of mulungu relieving anxiety, even being compared to diazepam. However, unlike diazepam, mulungu does not affect motor skills.
What’s Causing Your Anxiety?
Although it’s exciting to learn about the potential of mulungu, dealing with anxiety requires a multi-tiered approach, not one single magic bullet. Additionally, before you can get rid of your anxiety, it’s important to understand what’s causing it and fix it from the source. Is your job bothering you? Relationship problems? Financial stresses? Issues such as these need to be confronted head on, no medication or herbal therapy will correct these problems.
Mulungu Bark as Part of the Solution
To combat occasional anxiety with less concrete causes, there are a number of habits and behaviors you can start, or stop. Some people find relief by reducing their ingestion of stimulants (coffee, soda, etc.) and alcohol. Some people exercise, some meditate, some practice yoga, some look to breathing exercises and other coping strategies. I suggest incorporating all of these practices into your life. Having your nutrition and activity levels in check is one of the best things you can do to set yourself up for good health all around — physical and mental.