Traditional Chinese medicine may be odd and mysterious to some people. Some individuals, though, still use these drugs without knowing how they exactly work in the body. However, many people claim its effectiveness.
One of the many Chinese drugs that people still use today is the fungus obtained from termite nests. Also know as Wu Ling Shen, they use it to treat depression and insomnia. Thus, experts thought there may be a scientific reason behind how it works; and they were right.
Xylaria nigripes (c) acsh.org
Taiwanese scientists cultured the fungus Xylaria nigripes
in the laboratory for the study. They did chemical extraction to obtain its biologically active compounds.
The extraction led them to the isolation of 11 compounds, seven of which were unknown to science. Then experts tested these molecules to see their ability to suppress inflammation in cultured mouse brain cells.
Experts learned that fomannoxin alcohol, and one of the unknown compounds (which experts named Nigriterpene C), reduced the expression of two enzymes linked to inflammation in the brain. Those enzymes were iNOS and COX-2.
Numerous studies have linked inflammation to depression and insomnia, therefore researchers concluded that this fungus truly helps in treating those conditions.
This isn't the first that researchers saw the abilities of this fungus. In 2015, a paper
published in the journal Seizure showed that compared to placebo, Xylaria nigripes
extracts reduced symptoms of depression in patients with epilepsy.
"Nigriterpene C (3) and fomannoxin alcohol exerted significant inhibitory effects on two induced enzymes and NO production without any significant cellular toxicity," according to the study.