Angelica Sinensis – Dong Quai

Angelica SinensisNext to Panax Ginseng, the root of Dong Quai is undoubtedly the most honored and respected herb in China, and is quickly gaining an equal reputation among users in the rest of the world. Dong Quai has been called the “female ginseng” and is excellent as an all purpose women’s herb. It has been used for centuries in China, Japan and Korea for regulating the menstrual cycle, easing menstrual pain and cramping and recovery from childbirth. It is also known in Asian medicine as a “blood tonic”, and as such it can help in conditions of fatigue and/or low vitality caused by Anemia, cardiovascular conditions and high blood pressure.

Herb Uses and Medicinal Properties

The root of Angelica Sinensis is alternative, analgesic, anticholesterolemic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, emmenagogue, emollient, hepatic, laxative, mildly sedative and peripheral vasodilator.

Angelica could be helpful in the following health conditions:

  • Various gynecological disorders, such as irregular menstrual cycles, PMS, amenorrhea, Dysmenorrhea, uterine bleeding, abdominal pain after childbirth.
  • Regaining normal menstrual cycles after taking birth control pills.
  • Relieving symptoms of menopause, such as vaginal dryness, hot flashes, migraines and insomnia.
  • Increasing red blood cell count in the case of Anemia.
  • Treating Instable / High blood pressure in both men and women. This is due to Angelica’s effect of dilating the peripheral blood vessels. (The affect on blood pressure can be anoverall lowering although sometimes it may rise slightly first, followed by a decline).
  • Angelica helps the liver utilize more oxygen and therefore can be useful in treating hepatitis and liver cirrhosis.

PRECAUTION:

  • Not to be used during pregnancy.
  • Angelica contains furocoumarins, which may increase skin sensitivity to sunlight.
  • Angelica is contraindicated for those who take anticoagulant medicine, as the herb itself has anticoagulant properties.
  • Pharmacological and clinical research
  • Clin Exp Obstet Gynecol. 2003;30(4):203-6 – The immediate effect of natural plant extract,Angelica sinensis and Matricaria chamomilla (Climex) for the treatment of hot flushes during menopause. A preliminary report.
  • Fertil Steril. 1997 Dec;68(6):981-6 – Does dong quai have estrogenic effects in postmenopausal women? A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
  • Zhonghua Nei Ke Za Zhi. 1994 Jun;33(6):373-5 – Effect of radix Angelicae sinensis on serum gastrin levels in patients with cirrhosis
  • Life Sci. 2003 Jan 10;72(8):925-32 – Effect of polysaccharides from Angelica sinensis on gastric ulcer healing.
  • Burke BE, Olson RD, Cusack BJ, 2002 – Randomized, controlled trial of phytoestrogen in the prophylactic treatment of menstrual migraine.
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