Mulungu Bark Powder or Erythrina mulungu is named after Mulungu (also spelled Murungu, Mlungu, and in other variants) is a common name of the creator deity in a number of Bantu languages and cultures over East and Central Africa. This includes the Nyamwezi, Shambaa, Kamba, Sukuma, Rufiji, Turu, and Kikuyu cultures. Today, the name “Mulungu” is also often used to refer to the Christian or Islamic God. The Swahili word for God, “Mungu”, is a contraction of the original form “Mulungu”, which still appears in Swahili manuscripts of the 18th Century.
In some Bantu cultures (for example the Ruvu culture) the same word “mulungu” is also used with a distinct meaning, to refer to certain forest spirits; this homonymy has occasionally confused ethnographers and missionaries. The original early-Bantu name for the creator God was probably Nyàmbé, possibly from the verb root -àmb-, “to begin”. With the diversification of Bantu cultures, other names came about, with “Mulungu” emerging in the ancient Southern-Kaskazi group (about 6000 BC). The etymology of the name is disputed. One hypothesis is that the name is derived from a verb root -ng-, meaning “to be rectified”, “to become right”; in this case, the original concept of Mulungu is that of a creator god that established the original, right order on the world. The Brazilian ornamental tree and medicinal plant is the source of Mulungu Bark Powder and is native to the cerrado and caatinga ecoregions in Brazil, South America.
Chemical compounds found in Mulungu extract include the tetrahydroisoquinoline alkaloids erythravine and (+)-11α-hydroxy-erythravine.