The Health Benefits of Mulungu

Mulungu (Erythrina mulungu) is a natural remedy said to offer a variety of health benefits related to relaxation. It is extracted from the ornamental mulungu tree which is native to South America.

Mulungu tree under a blue sky
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Mulungu is available in dietary supplement form and is popular throughout Brazil and Peru. The herb is thought to possess sedative properties and is often used as a treatment for anxiety. Research investigating the safety and effectiveness of mulungu is very limited, so it is unclear if the supplement can provide any benefits.

Health Benefits

In addition to its purported benefits related to sleep and anxiety, mulungu is believed to alleviate pain and support weight loss. It is also thought to act as an anticonvulsant and protect against epileptic seizures.

To date, few studies have tested the health effects of mulungu. Preliminary animal studies have focused on a few key areas of potential use.


Studies performed on rodents show that mulungu may hold promise in the treatment of anxiety. For example, a study published in the Journal of Pharmacy & Pharmacology found that extracts of mulungu bark helped lower anxiety in mice by depressing the central nervous system.

A 2003 study from Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin found that rats treated with mulungu extract experienced a decrease in anxiety. Given this finding, the study's authors suggest that mulungu may help manage such conditions as generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder.

Human research investigating these benefits in humans is lacking. But, a small study published in 2014 examined the role of mulungu bark extract on anxiety experienced by patients waiting to undergo molar extraction.

Study authors found that mulungu provided a tranquilizing effect without significant negative side effects. They concluded that it could be considered as an alternative to control the anxiety in adult patients undergoing dental surgery.

However, more research is needed before mulungu can be recommended for treatment of anxiety-related conditions in humans.


Mulungu may help lessen pain, according to a 2003 study from Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin. In tests on mice, the study's authors determined that mulungu extract may act as an antinociceptive, a substance that reduces the body's sensitivity to painful stimuli.


Mulungu may have anticonvulsant effects, according to an animal-based study published in Epilepsy & Behavior in 2012. In the study, researchers found that erysothrine, a compound extracted from the flowers of the mulungu plant, helped inhibit seizures and also produced mild anti-anxiety effects.

Lastly, investigators are starting to investigate whether mulungu may be useful during smoking cessation and nicotine withdrawal. However, it is too soon to tell if the supplement may provide any benefit in humans.

Possible Side Effects

Due to a lack of research, little is known about the safety of long-term or regular use of mulungu. However, there's some concern that mulungu may cause drowsiness. Additionally, mulungu may be harmful to people with low blood pressure.

Due to the limited research, it's too soon to recommend mulungu as a treatment for any condition. It's important to note that self-treating a chronic condition with mulungu and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you're considering the use of mulungu in the treatment of a health condition, make sure to talk to your healthcare before taking it.

Selection, Preparation & Storage

You may be able to find mulungu in some natural-foods stores and in stores specializing in dietary supplements. However, the supplement is not as popular in North America and Europe as it is in South America. You are more likely to find it for purchase online.

Mulungu is sold as a tincture and as a powder. Some sources suggest taking mulungu about 20 minutes before bed for relaxation and better sleep. The tincture is applied under the tongue or the powder is dissolved in warm water. Specific doses vary from brand to brand. There is not enough scientific evidence to determine an appropriate or safe dose.

When shopping for mulungu or any supplement, remember that these products are largely unregulated and haven't been tested for safety. In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from what is specified on the label. In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances.

Also, the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions has not been established.

When choosing a supplement, try to look for products that have been certified by ConsumerLabs, The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, or NSF International. These organizations don't guarantee that a product is safe or effective, but they do provide a certain level of testing for quality.

Finally, keep in mind that according to guidelines established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is it illegal to market a dietary supplement product as a treatment or cure for a disease or to reduce symptoms of a disease.

Common Questions

What are some alternatives to mulungu for anxiety relief?

While research on the health effects of mulungu is limited, a number of other natural remedies appear to aid in anxiety management. For example, research suggests that herbs like passionflower, kava, and valerian may each help ease anxiety.

What's more, there's some evidence that alternative therapies and mind-body practices like yoga, meditation, guided imagery, massage, acupuncture, and hypnosis may also help manage anxiety. When used in aromatherapy, essential oils like lavender and rose may also have anxiety-relieving effects.

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