Wulinshen, Mushroom’s Magic Cousin
With the relentless cavalcade of prescription anti-depressants and sleep aids whose advertisements we are bombarded with on a near daily basis, it’s difficult to imagine treatment without them.
While professional medical attention should always be sought if you are in fact experiencing these issues, Wulinshen might be a natural alternative to consider before hitting up your local pharmacy armed with a prescription fresh off the notepad.
This X(ylaria) Will Get You Some Serious ZZZ’s
Wulinshen, or Xylarianigripes, is one of several hundred species of Xylaria, which is a type of fungus that grows on rotting wood.
However, Wulinshen belongs to a specific subgenus of Xylaria that is exclusively associated with termite nests. This particular category of Xylaria is one that has actually been used in Chinese medicine for centuries to treat mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. The fungus has also been used to regulate sleep patterns due to its sedative-like qualities. Individuals who fear they may suffer from a variety of sleep disorders such as insomnia or night terrors should always consult with a medical professional.
However, it is also important to note that many of the medications manufactured to treat sleep disorders will leave the user subject to a number of side effects. These side effects will vary by medication used, the individual, and the severity and type of sleep disorder involved.
In other words, Wulinshen is known to have no negative side effects to date. In fact, Wulinshen has only been found to produce regulation of sleeping patterns as well as deeper and more restful sleep. Wulinshen has also been known to lessen the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
If you do suffer from a mood disorder and have been diagnosed with chronic anxiety or depression by a medical professional, Wulinshen should not be used in lieu of your prescribed medication. These are serious medical conditions that should be treated with care.
GABA In, Side Effects Out
If you are currently taking antidepressants, Wulinshen doesn’t necessarily have to be ruled out completely.
A 2016 Chinese study concluded that Wulinshen may augment the effects of anti-depressants and be associated with fewer negative side effects as a result of taking depression medication.
The scientific aspect of how Wulinshen works in our brains lies in its ability to increase the uptake of GABA or gamma-aminobutyric acid. Similar to the more well-known serotonin or dopamine, this is another neurotransmitter in our brains responsible for the regulation of mood. The advent of antidepressants, SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and benzodiazepines have been successful for great numbers of people suffering from a mood disorder. Still, the caveat of negative side effects remains, as with pharmaceutically developed sleep disorder medication.
The plethora of prescription medications available on the market today can be overwhelming. Coupled with a sleep or mood disorder, arriving at a decision for treatment might seem like an insurmountable task.
While medical attention is necessary, Wulinshen can serve as a natural alternative if you are not in fact diagnosed with a mood or sleep disorder. Or maybe you are one of the 20 million Americans who experience occasional sleeping problems. Whatever the case may be, consider keeping Wulinshen on your radar to keep side effects out of your life.
By Bill Hess, Nature Restore Wellness Contributor