Angelica sinensis is the botanical name for an herb more commonly known as Chinese Angelica, women's ginseng, Dang gui, Danngui, Tang Kuei, Tan Jue Bai zhi, Dong quai, or Dong Qua. The pharmaceutical name is Radix Angelicae Sinensis. Though the names are similar, dong quai is not to be mixed up with Angelica seed or Angelica root.
Historically, dong quai has been used in culinary dishes and as a medicinal remedy. Its usage began in Japan, China, and Korea and continues today to be a staple of Chinese medicine, which is becoming more and more common in European countries and North America.
Dong quai claims a history more than 1000 years long, yet still remains mostly undocumented in scientific study and research. It has a great reputation as an herb that provides relief from symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, including cramps and back pain. It is also a menstrual cycle regulator for those with inconsistent periods who prefer to be on a more regular cycle. Additionally, it relieves the symptoms of menopause as well. It is these traits that earned it the nickname women's ginseng.' When women are relieved of these symptoms, their energy increases tremendously, as if they had taken an energetic supplement like ginseng.
But it is not only these conditions for which dong quai is extremely effective. Dong quai is used in traditional Chinese medicine for other things including respiratory conditions, increased blood Circulation, and the reproductive systems. LIver Disorders, Heart disease, bronchial conditions, stroke, pain, Anemia, migraines, colds, high Blood pressure, ulcers, and Constipation are often treated with dong quai. Dong quai can be used as a Sedative, an estrogenic, an analgesic, a tonic, a laxative, or an antibiotic. Quite versatile, this herb isn't just for women.
- Appetite Stimulation
- Digestive Aids
- Upset stomach
China, Japan, and Korea are home to dong quai, particularly the high altitudes of the mountain ranges where the air is cold and wet. Dong quai grows perennially, offering white blooms every summer. Its leaves are large and green and its stems are hollow and almost purple in color. A very tall plant, it is in fact the roots that are harvested for their medicinal qualities.
The constituents or principles in the makeup of dong qui include vitamin B 12, vitamin E, and ferulic acid, all of which work to fight the pain associated with Muscle spasm and menstrual cramps. Folate and biotin work with the vitamin B12 in the blood to fight Anemia that some exhibit related to their menstrual cycle. Other constituents include alpha pinene, beta carotene, beta sitosterol, cadinene, choline, chromium, linoleic-acid, safrole, and more. Nutrients include calcium, selenium, thiamin, Zinc, potassium, and iron.
One can find dong quai in many different forms including powder, tablet, capsule, and injection. Injections of dong qui are used only in hospital settings. The latter are used in China and Japan in appropriate hospital or health center settings and are not available over the counter. Homemade injections of dong quai should never be used.
It is best to purchase dong quai in the form of your choice at a health food store, but it is possible to grow it, as well. Plant seeds in the spring and harvest rhizomes in autumn. It may take as long as four months for seeds to germinate; it is not an easy process. The seeds must always, always be damp and buried deeply in nutrient rich soil. The first year, plants will yield leaves, which can be harvested for use in fresh medicinal recipes or dried. The second year, dong quai plants will flower at the beginning of the summer, which can be harvested and dried. Avoid harvesting roots until the second year, in the fall.
Don’t quai is meant for internal consumption. Prepared as a tea, a Tincture, or a capsule, it is equally potent in all forms. Adults may choose to boil the root in wine or water and drink resulting liquid or take up to 600 mg of the powder in capsule or tablet form as many as six times daily. Tinctures may be made by diluting five drops of dong quai oil in 70 percent alcohol. This Tincture can be ingested by the teaspoon full (up to 80 drops) as many as three times daily. Children, however, should not use dong quai in any form.
It is not recommended that anyone drink dong quai essential oil as it is known to have some Cancer causing agents. In regular doses, however, it is not a concern. No one who is diabetic, sensitive to light, pregnant or breastfeeding should take dong quai. Neither should anyone who is often plagued by bloating or Diarrhea. The root, powder, or capsules should always be stored in a dry place and kept slightly cooler than room temperature.
There are some herbs and medications which do not mix well with dong quai. Anyone taking these herbs or medications should not begin a dong quai regimen. Warfarin, for example, when mixed with dong quai is much stronger and therefore may cause excessive thinning of the blood. For this same reason, herbs like Feverfew, Ginkgo Biloba, ginseng, Ginger, Garlic, Chinese Skullcap, licorice, and turmeric should be avoided as well when taking dong quai regularly.
It is also advisable to avoid dong quai if currently on hormones, including oral contraceptives and estrogen, or taking an herb that increase sunlight sensitivity. Dong quai increases sensitivity to sunlight, so it is more important than ever to limit exposure to the sun when taking it.
This information is not verified or backed by the FDA and is not intended as medical advice. If you show adverse symptoms or have concerns, consult a doctor. Be sure to research the companies from whom you purchase all supplements and remember that quality can be expensive. Never cut corners when it comes to your health or use any herbal supplements or vitamins after the expiration date. Proper storage and dosage are essential to a healthy and proper treatment. Follow all directions on the bottle or package explicitly.