Ghrelin, a brain-gut peptide that induces anxiety and other abnormal emotions, contributes to the effects of insomnia on emotional behavior. In contrast, the traditional Chinese Medicine remedy Wen Dan Tang reduces insomnia-related anxiety, which may perhaps correspond to changes in the brain-gut axis. This suggests a possible relationship between Wen Dan Tang's pharmacological mechanism and the brain-gut axis. Based on this hypothesis, a research team from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine in China generated a sleep deprivation rat model, and orally administered Wen Dan Tang. Wen Dan Tang significantly reduced insomnia-related anxiety and prevented Ghrelin level decreases following sleep deprivation, especially in the hypothalamus. Increased expression of Ghrelin receptor mRNA in the hypothalamus was also observed, suggesting that reduced anxiety may be a result of Wen Dan Tang's regulation of Ghrelin-Ghrelin receptors. The relevant paper has been published in the Neural Regeneration Research (Vol. 9, No. 2, 2014).
Article: " Effects of Wen Dan Tang on insomnia-related anxiety and levels of the brain-gut peptide Ghrelin," by Liye Wang, Yuehan Song, Feng Li, Yan Liu, Jie Ma, Meng Mao, Fengzhi Wu, Ying Wu, Sinai Li, Binghe Guan, Xiaolan Liu(Nautical Chinese Medicine Key Subject, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100029, China)
Wang LY, Song YH, Li F, Liu Y, Ma J, Mao M, Wu FZ, Wu Y, Li SN, Guan BH, Liu XL. Effects of Wen Dan Tang on insomnia-related anxiety and levels of the brain-gut peptide Ghrelin. Neural Regen Res. 2014;9(2):205-212.