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Botanical Name:Angelica sinensis.
Species: A. sinensis
Habitat :Dong Quai is native to China, Japan, and Korea. It grows on high ground in cool and damp areas of western and north-western China. Forests.
Description: Dong Quai is a perennial herb , growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.7 m (2ft 4in). The herb produces white flowers with a green hue that bloom from May to August, and the plant is typically found growing in moist mountain gullies, meadows, along river banks and in coastal areas.The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile. The root of the Dong Quai plant has a number of medicinal appications.
Dong Quai, or traditionally known as Chinese Angelica, is commonly used for treating conditions in females in both America and China. Traditional Chinese medicine, frequently refers to Dong Quai as female ginseng.
Dong quai comes in tablet, liquid extract, and raw root forms. In Chinese medicine, dong quai is often boiled or soaked in wine. The root is removed and the liquid is taken orally.
Often called “the female ginseng.” Though dong quai has no specific hormonal action, it exerts a regulating and normalizing influence on hormonal production through its positive action on the liver and endocrine system. It has a sweet and unusually thick pungent taste and is warming and moistening to the body. Chinese angelica is taken in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a tonic for “deficient blood” conditions, anemia and for the symptoms of anemia due to blood loss, pale complexion, palpitations, and lowered vitality. Chinese angelica regulates the menstrual cycle, relieves menstrual pains and cramps and is a tonic for women with heavy menstrual bleeding who risk becoming anemic. Since it also stimulates menstrual bleeding, other tonic herbs, such as nettle, are best taken during menstruation if the flow is heavy. It is also a uterine tonic and helps infertility. Chinese angelica is a “warming” herb, improving the circulation to the abdomen and to the hands and feet. It strengthens the digestion and it also is useful in the treatment of abscesses and boils. Research has shown that the whole plant, including the rhizome, strengthens liver function and the whole rhizome has an antibiotic effect. In China, physicians inject their patients with Dong quai extract to treat sciatic pain. Clinical trials show that when this extract is injected into the acupuncture points used to treat sciatica, about 90% of people receiving treatment report significant improvement.
In Chinese medicine, different parts of the dong quai root are believed to have different actions – the head of the root has anticoagulant activity, the main part of the root is a tonic, and the end of the root eliminates blood stagnation. it is considered the “female ginseng” because of its balancing effect on the female hormonal system. However, studies have not found dong quai to have hormone-like effects.
*Weakness after childbirth
*Chronic nasal or sinus congestion
*PMS, painful menstruation
*Irregular menstrual bleeding
*High blood pressure
*Fibrocystic breast disease
*Rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis
In Chinese medicine, Dong quai is most often used in combination with other herbs, and is used as a component of formulas for liver qi stasis and spleen deficiency. It is believed to work best in patients with a yin profile, and is considered to be a mildly warming herb. Dong quai is thought to return the body to proper order by nourishing the blood and harmonizing vital energy. The name Dong quai translates as “return to order” based on its alleged restorative properties.
Although Dong quai has many historical and theoretical uses based on animal studies, there is little human evidence supporting the effects of Dong quai for any condition. Most of the available clinical studies have either been poorly designed or reported insignificant results. Also, most have examined combination formulas containing multiple ingredients in addition to Dong quai, making it difficult to determine which ingredient may cause certain effects.
Other Uses: This plant is said to contain vitamin B12
Its drying root is commonly known in Chinese as Radix Angelicae Sinensis, or Chinese angelica is widely used in Chinese traditional medicine to treat gynecological ailments, fatigue, mild anemia and high blood pressure. Chinese angelica possesses the distinction of being one of the few good non-animal sources of Vitamin B12, along with some varieties of yeast and microalgae like spirulina. It has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and sedative effects. The plant’s phytochemicals consist of coumarins, phytosterols, polysaccharides, ferulate, and flavonoids.
It is also used as an aphrodisiac.
Possible Side Effects and Safety Concerns
Dong quai should not be used by people with bleeding disorders, excessive menstrual bleeding, diarrhea, abdominal bloating, or during infections such as colds and flu. Call your health practitioner if you experience bleeding, unusual bruising, diarrhea, or fever.
Dong quai may contain estrogen-like compounds and should not be taken by pregnant or nursing women, children, or people with breast cancer.
People taking blood thinners (anticoagulants) such as warfarin should not use Dong quai.
Dong quai should not be used during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. It should also not be used during breast-feeding.
Dong quai can cause photosensitivity, so people should limit sun exposure and wear sunblock.
Being a uterine tonic and hormonal regulator this herb is an effective herb for female reproductive system. It is often used in premenstrual syndrome formulas as well as menopausal formulas. However, this herb is not recommended during pregnancy due to possible hormonal, anticoagulant, and anti-platelet properties. Animal research has noted conflicting effects on the uterus, with reports of both stimulation and relaxation. Dong quai is traditionally viewed as increasing the risk of miscarriage.
Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.