Biological Name: Angelica archangelica, Angelica sinensis
Carrot family, Umbelliferae
Other Names: Angelica, dong-quei, dong-quai, tang-kuei or dang-qui, dong quai in China.
Parts Used: roots, only the hips of the root, up to the head is used.
Active Compounds: Coumarins, bergapten, linalool and borneol.
Traditionally, dong quai is believed to have a balancing or adaptogenic effect on the female hormonal system. Contrary to the opinion of several authors, dong quai does not qualify as a phytoestrogen or have any hormone-like actions in the body. A large part of its actions with regard to premenstrual syndrome may be related to its antispasmodic actions, particularly on smooth muscles.
Legends says that angelica was revealed in a dream by an angel to cure the deadly bubonic plague.
In China, angelica has been used for several thousand years to treat many kinds of female problems. In traditional Chinese medicine, dong quai is often referred to as the “female ginseng.” It is often included in prescriptions for abnormal menstruation, suppressed menstrual flow, painful or difficult menstruation, and uterine bleeding. A traditional use of dong quai was for hot flashes associated with perimenopause. Dong quai is also used for both men and women with cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure and problems with pe-ripheral circulation.
Appetizer, carminative, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic, tonic
Angelica is useful for:
Fibrocystic breast disease
Angelica is described as a herb with “an affinity for the female constitution”. It is good for treating anemia and weak glands, regulating monthly periods, correcting hot flashes and vaginal spasms (PMS), and assisting women through the difficult transition of menopause. It is never given to women during pregnancy.
The upper part of the root is considered a great blood builder. The tails of the root is used in emergencies as a blood clot dissolver after serious accidents or for expelling the afterbirth that has failed to appear. The coumarins in angelica are valuable medication for reducing high-protein edemas, such as swelling of the lymph nodes (lymphedema). It is also used for treating psoriasis accompanying arthritis.
Angelica is a biennial or perennial herb that is found in in countries such as UK, Lapland and Iceland. In folklore, it is touted as “a protection against contagion, or purifying the blood and for curing practically every conceivable maladies”.
Chinese consider angelica (dang-qui) second only to ginseng.
This plant is commonly found in well watered mountain ravines, riverbanks and damp meadows. Its stem is round, grooved, hollow, branched near the top, tinged with blue. The plant grows to 3 to 7 feet. The leaves grow from dilated sheaths that surround the stem. The plant produces greenish-white flowers in June to August followed by elliptic-oblong fruit that is composed of two yellow winged seeds.
The powdered root can be used in capsules, tablets, tinctures, or as a tea. Many women take 3-4 grams per day. 2 capsules of dong-qui twice or three times daily for severe female problems. Use less for less severe cases.
Chinese herbalists advise that for best results, little or no fruit should be eaten while you take dong-quai. Do not take any other root teas such as ginseng for 2 to 3 hours after taking this medication. Use vegetables cooked with a slice of ginger to bring proper balance.
Dong quai is generally considered to be of extremely low toxicity. It may cause some fair-skinned persons to become more sensitive to sunlight. Persons using it on a regular basis should limit prolonged exposure to the sun or other sources of ultraviolet radiation. Dong quai is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women.