Dong Quai, also called Chinese Angelica, Dang Gui, and Tang Kuei is one of many species of the herb Angelica. Other species include Japanese Angelica (Angelica Acutiloba), European Angelica (Angelica Archangelica), American Angelica (Angelica Atropurpurea).
Dong Quai is a tall, aromatic plant, with a sweet honey scent and umbrella shaped clusters of flowers. The part used for medicinal use is the root which is harvested when the plant reaches maturity. It grows at high altitudes in the cold, mountainous regions of China, Korea and Japan, along river banks and in coastal areas.
History and Folklore
This herb has been used very extensively in China, especially after delivery of a child as a tonic. It was first found in Chinese literature dating from 500 B.C.
It was also used to regulate menses, as a blood tonic, as a mild sedative, and for abdominal pains.
In medieval times it was used as a remedy for poisons and infections.
It was believed that it protects from plague. Legends say an angel appeared to people with plague and brought Angelica as a cure.
It was thought to be efficient against spells.
In Chinese medicine, Dong Quai is often referred to as the "female ginseng". It is used by herbalists for a variety of gynecological treatments because it tonifies the blood and promotes its flow to the reproductive organs. It relieves menstrual disorders such as cramps, irregular menstrual cycles, infrequent periods, PMS and menopausal symptoms. It is also recommended during pregnancy to ease delivery and reduce pain.
It is rich in Vitamin E, Vitamin A, B12, Iron, Cobalt, essential oils and tannins.
The high Iron content makes it useful to treat anemia.
It is a blood tonic, promoting blood production and circulation. It purifies the blood by increasing the absorption of oxygen by the liver. It also stimulates white blood cell production and reduces cholesterol levels.
It is hypotensive, lowering the blood pressure.
It boosts the metabolism, helps stabilize blood sugar levels, improves digestion and relieves constipation. Very efficient as an aid to any weight loss program.
Being an anti-inflammatory, it relieves pain caused by arthritis.
Having sedative properties, it relieves stress and calm nerves.
Dong Quai and Menopause
Angelica roots contain phytoestrogen which is a plant hormone whose chemical structure is nearly identical to the estrogen produced in the human body. At menopause, hormonal imbalance can be restored by using phytoestrogenic plants.