Part Used: Dried smoke-cured root without rootlets
Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis) is a biennial or perennial herb, which is an aromatic herb that grows in China, Korea, and Japan. It is also known as second to Ginseng and is considered the ultimate, all-purpose woman's tonic herb. It is used for almost every gynecological complaint from regulating the menstrual cycle to treating menopausal symptoms caused by hormonal changes. Dong Quai is frequently used by the Chinese as a strengthening treatment for the heart, spleen, liver and kidneys. Both men and women use the herb as a general blood tonic.
Dong Quai contains vitamins E, A and B12. Researchers have isolated at least six coumarin derivatives that exert antispasmodic and vasodilatory effects. Antispasmodics are a remedy for menstrual cramps. The essential oil in Dong Quai contains Ligustilide, butylphthalide and numerous other minor components. Ferulic acid and various polysaccharides are also found. These elements can prevent spasms, reduce blood clotting and relax peripheral blood vessels. Modern treatments prescribe the herb to combat PMS and to help women resume normal menstruation after using birth control pills. The herb has been found useful in balancing and treating many female systems and cycles. Dong Quai's constituents can act to stimulate the central nervous system which can remedy weakness and headaches associated with menstrual disorders. It strengthens internal reproductive organs, helps with endometriosis and internal bleeding or bruising. It relieves menopausal conditions such as vaginal dryness and hot flashes.
Dong Quai has also been used as a blood purifier, to promote blood circulation and nourish the blood in both sexes. It is high in iron content and may help to prevent iron deficiency and anemia. Studies show that it can aid in regulating blood sugar and in lowering blood pressure. It has a mild sedative effect which can relieve stress and calms the nerves. It has also be used to stimulate the uterus during childbirth, treat insomnia, alleviate constipation and for migraine headaches.
Medline Plus. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/patient-dongquai.html
Herbs Information Center. http://www.kcweb.com/herb/donquai.htm