Mushroom Extract Provides Relief from Tinnitus

Wuling mushroom

Wuling mushroom

A recent clinical study found the use of the fungal extract, Wuling capsule, was effective in reducing anxiety, depression and tinnitus.

Wuling powder is a traditional Chinese medicine isolated from a rare, medicinal mushroom in China. It is found growing in the abandoned mounds of termites. Wuling has traditionally been used to treat insomnia, anxiety and depression. It is known to regulate glutamate and GABA in the brain.

Both glutamate and GABA account for 80% of brain activity. They work to counteract each other. Glutamate accelerates brain activity and GABA puts the brakes on it. Glutamate is excitatory and GABA is calming. If we experience anxiety, the balance of these two chemicals is off and the brain’s activity level is turned up too high. Both of these neuro-chemicals are necessary and beneficial when they are in balance.

Tinnitus due to hearing loss is related to an excess of glutamate caused by noise damage to the tiny hair cells in the inner ear. This damage also suppresses the more calming GABA.

The Study and Results

The study, conducted in China, was first published in the Asian Journal of Surgery in January, 2022 and then online in Science Direct, an English language clinical studies database. (1)

100 tinnitus patients with anxiety and depression were randomly divided into two groups. One group of  50 patients were given Wuling capsule with the other group of 50 acting as the control group. All patients completed an audiology exam and filled out the Self-rating Depression Scale (SDS), Self-rating Anxiety Scale (SAS) and Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI). The Tinnitus Handicap Inventory is a self-administered test that Ear, Nose & Throat physicians, audiologists and other clinicians use to help determine the degree of distress suffered by a tinnitus patient.

Both tinnitus groups were administered a 20 mg vinpocetine injection and 10 mg alprostadil once a day for 14 days. Both of these vasodilators are used to increase blood flow. They also received Vitamin B12, 0.5 mg orally three times a day for 28 days and 10 mg lidocaine intravenously once a day for 10 days.

The Wuling group was given 3 capsules of Wuling, 1 gram each orally three times a day for 28 days. The control group did not receive Wuling capsule.

There was no significant difference in the scores from the SDS, SAS, and THI between the two groups before treatment. After treatment the SDS scores in the Wuling capsule group declined from 61.16 to 55.24 (10% decline). The SAS scores decreased from 62.48 to 58.48 (6% decline).

The largest improvement was seen in the THI score which decreased from 86.97 to 56.67 (35% decline). The Wuling capsule group had a significant decrease in their rating of tinnitus disability.

Wuling can also significantly shorten the time required to induce sleep. It antagonizes the abnormal excitation of the dopamine nervous system and maintains normal motor function. It also improves the immune function of the body.

At time of publication I have not been able to find a retail or online outlet for this product in the US. There are companies in the UK and EU that sell it as Wuling capsule. People in the US who would like to try this could contact a Chinese acupuncturist/herbalist or a Traditional Chinese Medication (TCM) practitioner. These specialists should be able to supply the product.

Traditional Chinese Medicine encompasses acupuncture therapy, Chinese diagnostic techniques and herbal therapy. Practitioners of TCM often incorporate diet and lifestyle changes to help patients resolve many of their health concerns.

References:

1 – Chen X, Tian C, Meng Z, Ran C; The Therapeutic Effect of Wuling Capsule on Tinnitus Patients with Anxiety and Depression. Asian J. Surg.2022 Mar;45(3):939-940. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35042631/