Dong Quai - angelica root, also known as angelica sinensis, female ginseng, archangel root, wild celery, and dang gui (tang kwei), is a member of the celery family and is native to China, Korea, and Japan. For medicinal purposes its root is used. In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is known to treat gynecological problems, fatigue, anemia, and high blood pressure. It is the only non-animal source of Vitamin B12, has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antispasmodic, and sedative properties, and is also used as an aphrodisiac.
Dong quai – Angelica Root Health Benefits
Dong quai contains essential oils, coumarins, phytosterols, polysaccharides, ferulate, and flavonoids. It is considered the ultimate, all-purpose tonic herb for women and it is prescribed for almost every gynecological complaint, from regulating the menstrual cycle to treating menopausal symptoms caused by hormonal changes. Dong quai produces a balancing effect on estrogen activity, relieves PMS symptoms, helps women to resume normal menstruation after using birth control pills, strengthens internal reproductive organs, helps with endometriosis and internal bleeding, and relieves menopausal symptoms such as vaginal dryness and hot flashes. Both men and women use Dong quai as a general blood tonic. It is high in iron content and helps to prevent iron deficiency and anemia. Studies have shown that it can help in regulating blood sugar and in lowering blood pressure. It also helps to relieve intestinal problems and poor digestion. Dong quai is used to strengthen the heart and lungs and to improve liver and spleen function. Small amounts help to stimulate digestive secretions. People have reported that they lost their taste for alcohol when they took Dong Quai. In the West, it is said that archangel Raphael appeared to a monk in a dream and told him that angelica root would cure bubonic plague. People used to take it to ward off evil and bring good luck to their homes.
Dong quai – Angelica Root Doses
Dong quai is sold in tablet, capsule, liquid extract, tea, herbal preparations, and raw root form. It can be consumed raw or cooked, alone or in combination with other herbs. To eat it raw, the root is steamed for a few minutes and then cut into thin slices. The slices are dried in a warm dry place, but not in direct sunlight, for about 24 hours. Afterwards they are put in a dark jar to store. It is recommended to eat one or two pieces each day. The liquid form is taken by adding one tablespoon of extract to a cup of boiling water, letting it steep for about five minutes and then drinking it. This tonic should be taken twice a day, once before breakfast and again at bedtime. The root can also be prepared for drinking. To do this, one root is cooked together with six red jujube dates in 3 cups of water and let to simmer until one cup remains, half of which is drunk. This should be repeated twice a day for three days. Dong quai root can also be cooked together with other vegetables in a chicken soup. The soup should be consumed over a four-day period. This method is recommended for everyone who is recovering from an illness, or who is too thin, pale or weak.
Dong Quai – Angelica Root Risks and Safety
Dong quai should not be taken by people with bleeding disorders, diarrhea, abdominal bloating, or while suffering from an infection such as colds and flu. Dong quai contains estrogen-like compounds and should not be taken by pregnant or nursing women, or women with breast-cancer. People who have to take anticoagulants should not use Dong quai. Dong quai can cause photosensitivity, so sun exposure should be avoided.