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02/18/13

Erythrina mulungu (Mulungu) bark 250g

Erythrina mulungu (Mulungu) bark  250g

Erythrina mulungu, Mulungu 250g bark

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Erythrina mulungu (Mulungu) bark 250g

Erythrina mulungu (Mulungu) bark  250g Erythrina mulungu, Mulungu 250g bark

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Mulungu
(Erythrina mulungu)

Family:Fabaceae
Genus:Erythrina
Species:mulungu, cristi-galli
Synonyms:Erythrina verna, Corallodendron mulungu
Common Names:Mulungu, corticeira, murungu, muchocho, murungo, totocero, flor-de-coral, árvore-de-coral, amerikadeigo, ceibo, chilichi, chopo, hosoba deiko, pau-imortal, mulungu-coral, capa-homem, suiná-suiná
Part Used:Bark, root

Main Actions Other Actions Standard Dosage
  • relieves pain
  • kills bacteria
Bark, root
  • reduces anxiety
  Decoction:1/2 cup 1-2
  • calms nerves
  times daily
  • moderately sedative
  Tincture:1-2 ml twice daily
  • supports liver
   
  • reduces blood pressure
   
  • regulates heart beat
   

Mulungu is a medium-sized, well-branched tree that grows 10-14 m high. It produces a profusion of pretty, reddish-orange flowers (pollinated by hummingbirds) at the ends of the tree's many branches. The tree is sometimes called "coral flower," as the flowers resemble the color of orange coral. It produces black seed pods containing large, red-and-black seeds, which are sometimes used by indigenous peoples to make necklaces and jewelry. Mulungu is indigenous to Brazil, parts of Peru, and tropical areas in Latin America and, typically, is found in marshes and along riverbanks. TheErythrinagenus comprises more than 100 species of trees and shrubs (mostly all heavily armed with spines or thorns) in the topical and subtropical regions of both hemispheres. The mulungu tree (first recorded in 1829) is known by two botanical names,Erythrina mulunguandErythrina verna. Another closely-related species,E. crista-galli, is used interchangeably in South American herbal medicine systems and is found farther south on the South American continent. The flower ofE. crista-galliis the national flower of Argentina.

TRIBAL AND HERBAL MEDICINE USES

SeveralErythrinatree species are used by indigenous peoples in the Amazon as medicines, insecticides, and fish poisons. Mulungu has long been used in Brazil by indigenous peoples as a natural sedative: it has been used to calm an overexcited nervous system and promote a restful sleep.

In both North and South American herbal medicine systems mulungu is considered to be an excellent sedative to calm agitation and nervous coughs and to treat other nervous system problems including insomnia and anxiety. It also is widely used for asthma, bronchitis, gingivitis, hepatitis, inflammation of the liver and spleen, intermittent fevers, and to clear obstructions in the liver. In both Brazil and Peru mulungu is used for epilepsy. Herbalists and practitioners in the United States use mulungu to quiet hysteria from trauma or shock, as a mild, hypnotic sedative to calm the nervous system, to treat insomnia and promote healthy sleeping patterns (by sedating overactive neurotransmitters), to regulate heart palpitations, and to treat hepatitis and liver disorders. Positive regulatory effects on heart palpitations and decreased blood pressure have been reported; Dr. Donna Schwontkowski, a chiropractor who has used Amazonian plants in her practice, recommends mulungu for hernias, stomachaches, and epilepsy - and to help augment milk flow as well.

PLANT CHEMICALS

The chemicals in mulungu have been studied extensively; they have been found to comprise large amounts of novel flavonoids, triterpenes, and alkaloids. Much research has been performed on Erythrina alkaloids in the last decade, as they represent a group of very active chemicals with various properties and are almost always present in Erythrina species. Thus far, alkaloids have been found in 78 of 107 species in the genusErythrina; mulungu is documented with 20 isoquinoline alkaloids. Many of these have demonstrated anti-inflammatory, cardioactive, narcotic, and sedative activities. One novel alkaloid discovered in mulungu is calledcristamidine. Its positive effect on the liver was demonstrated in a 1995 clinical study with rats. Mulungu's hypotensive and heart-regulatory activities were studied and attributed to its alkaloids. Another alkaloid in mulungu (and other Erythrina plants),erysodine, has been documented with neuromuscular effects characteristic of curare arrow poisons. Two studies also indicate that it might be useful as an anti-nicotine drug, as it demonstrated actions as a competitive antagonist and to block nicotine receptors. Interestingly, both of these studies were published by major (and competing) pharmaceutical companies!

The main plant chemicals in mulungu include: alanine, arginine, aspartic acid, cristacarpin, cristadine, crystamidine, dimethylmedicarpin, erybidine, erycristagallin, erycristanol, erycristin, erydotrine, erysodienone, erysodine, erysonine, erysopine, erysotrine, erysovine, erystagallin A-C, erythrabyssin II, erythralines, erythramine, erythratine, eryvariestyrene, gamma-amino butyric acid, glutamic acid, hypaphorine lectins, n-nor-orientaline, oleanolic acid, oleanonic acid, phaseollidins, proteinases, sandwicensis, ursolic acid, and vitexin.

BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES AND CLINICAL RESEARCH

The traditional use of mulungu for anxiety and stress has been validated by researchers in a recent (2002) study, where it was shown to alter anxiety-related responses. An animal model (correlating to human generalized anxiety disorder, as well as panic disorder) was undertaken on a water-alcohol extract of mulungu. The researchers reported that the mulungu extract had an effect similar to the commonly-prescribed anti-anxiety drug diazepam. It was suggested in this study that the alkaloids in Erythrina "may alter GABAergic neurotransmission." GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid) acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain; abnormalities with its function is implicated in diseases including epilepsy, anxiety, and depression. Further research has validated the traditional use of mulungu as an antimicrobial agent for throat and urinary infections; mulungu has demonstrated antibacterial activity in two studies againstStaphylococcus aureus, and antimycobacterial activity againstMycobacterium fortuitumandMycobacterium smegmatis.

CURRENT PRACTICAL USES

Mulungu is not very widely known or used in North America; mostly appearing as an ingredient in only a few herbal formulas for anxiety or depression. It is a wonderful rainforest medicinal plant that is deserving of much more attention in herbal medicine systems outside of South America. The main herbal remedy sold in America today for stress, anxiety and as a general sedative is kava-kava. This plant however, has had some negative press in recent years concerning possible negative effects to the liver. Since mulungu provides the same calming and stress relieving effects (if not better), and actually has a positive effect on the liver; it is poised as the new replacement for this highly popular (and profitable) herbal supplement.



MULUNGU PLANT SUMMARY
Main Preparation Method:tincture or decoction

Main Actions (in order):
antidepressant, anti-anxiety, sedative, nervine (balances/calms nerves), hepatotonic (tones, balances, strengthens the liver)

Main Uses:

  • for mental disorders (depression, anxiety, stress, hysteria, panic disorders, compulsive disorders, etc.)
  • as a sedative for insomnia, restlessness, and sleep disorders
  • for liver disorders (hepatitis, obstructions, high liver enzyme levels, sclerosis, etc.)
  • for high blood pressure and heart palpitations
  • for drug and nicotine withdrawal
Properties/Actions Documented by Research:
anti-anxiety, antibacterial, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antimycobacterial, anti-spasmodic, hepatotonic (tones, balances, strengthens the liver), hypotensive (lowers blood pressure), sedative

Other Properties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use:
analgesic (pain-reliever), anticonvulsant, antiseptic, cardiotonic (tones, balances, strengthens the heart), central nervous system depressant, hypnotic, lactagogue (promotes milk flow), nervine (balances/calms nerves), neurasthenic (reduces nerve pain)

Cautions:It may lower blood pressure and may cause drowsiness.



Traditional Preparation:One-half cup of a standard bark or root decoction or 1-2 ml of a 4:1 tincture once or twice daily.

Contraindications:

  • This plant is a sedative and may cause drowsiness.
  • In traditional medicine the plant is used to lower blood pressure. Clinical research with animals has documented hypotensive actions. It is recommended that those on medications to lower blood pressure (and those with low blood pressure) use mulungu with caution and monitor their blood pressure accordingly.

Drug Interactions:None documented; however, mulungu may potentiate some antianxiety drugs (such as diazepam) and antihypertensive drugs.


WORLDWIDE ETHNOMEDICAL USES
Argentina for diarrhea, hemorrhoids, respiratory infections, urinary infections, and as an antiseptic and sedative
Brazil for agitation, anxiety, asthma, bacterial infections, bronchitis, central nervous system disorders, convulsions, cough, cuts, epilepsy, fever, gingivitis, hepatitis, hysteria, inflammation, insomnia, liver problems, menopause, muscle pain, neuralgia, nervous tension, rheumatism, spleen disorders, stress, throat (sore), whooping cough, and as an antiseptic and sedative
Colombia as a diuretic and sedative
Peru for cystitis, epilepsy, eye irritations, hysteria, insomnia
U.S. for central nervous system disorders, epilepsy, heart problems, hepatitis, hernia, high blood pressure, hysteria, insomnia, liver problems, stomachache, and as a lactation aid
Elsewhere for edema, epilepsy, eye, headaches, heart problems, hepatitis, hernia, hypertension, hysteria, insomnia, liver problems, palpitations, rheumatism, spasms, stomachache, stomach cancer, urinary insufficiency, and as a sedative


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