Synonyms - Tang kwei, Danggui
Origin - Asia, primarily China, Korea, Japan
Part of the Plant used - Dried root
Description - Chinese Angelica, dong quai (or dang kwei) is the most important female tonic remedy in Chinese medicine. It is used for debility and poor vitality, convalescence and fatigue in women as well as all kinds of gynecological, menstrual, or menopausal symptoms. Dong quai is the Chinese name of the root of the plant Angelica sinensis belonging to the family, Umbelli-feraceae. It is related to the European Angelica, but its medicinal actions are more potent. The plant is a tall umbelliferous plant with branched celery-like leaves and a tall umbel of white-green flowers.
Pharmacology - Ligustilide, butylene phthalide and butyl phthalide are found in the volatile aromatic oil while ferulic acid and various polysaccharides are found in the non-aromatic fractions. Dong quai has an immediate and stimulating effect on the uterus, especially during pregnancy or delivery. It has been clinically observed to strengthen and normalize uterine contractions. These effects are thought to be due to components of the volitile oil, particularly ligustilide. Symptoms such as menstrual pain and irregularities, habitual abortion, chills in hands and feet, anemia and in some cases, sterility, have also responded well to dong quai. Animal and human studies have shown that dong quai also improves peripheral circulation and reduces blood viscosity. The research suggests that both ferulic acid and ligustilide are responsible, preventing spasms, relaxing vessels and reducing blood clotting in peripheral vessels.
Medicinal uses - Dong quai has been used as the main female tonic in the Orient while ginseng has been the more traditional male adaptogen. Dong quai is used to provide energy, vitality, and resistance to disease. It regulated female hormones. In the treatment of most menstrual and menopausal problems and in pregnancy and delivery. It is a blood tonic, promoting its production and circulation. It is therefore used in treating anemia, boils, headache, venous problems of peripheral blood flow.
Toxicity, Cautions & Contraindications - No toxicity. Side effects to dong quai are extremely rare. Rare cases of pyrogenia but requiring no need of treatment. People with gastrointestinal disease may experience diarrhea. Avoid in case of hemorrhagic disease, hypermenorrhea, first three months of pregnancy and during severe flu.
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