Also known as Angelica sinensis.
Dong Quai is a perennial aromatic herb that grows in China, Korea, and Japan. It reaches about 3 feet in height and flowers during August-September. The reputation of Dong Quai is second only to Ginseng and is considered the ultimate, all-purpose woman's tonic herb. It is used for almost every gynaecological complaint from regulating the menstrual cycle to treating menopausal symptoms caused by hormonal changes. It has also be used to stimulate the uterus during childbirth, treat insomnia, alleviate constipation and for migraine headaches.
Dong Quai is an essential herb of Chinese medicine, and is also known in this practice as a women's herb - aiding menstrual cramps, irregularity, or delayed flow and weakness, vaginal spasms or infections and hot flushes. In America Dong Quai has become popular for relieving the symptoms of PMT.
Dong Quai is also a nutritive tonic assisting the treatment of anaemia weakness and nervousness. It has a mild sedative effect which can relieve stress and calms the nerves.
Dong Quai is an excellent liver medicine and valuable in its ability to remove toxins from the blood. It is often used for the relief of flatulent dyspepsia as it acts to eliminate gases from the stomach and intestines.
It 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 also isolated at least six coumarin derivatives that exert antispasmodic and vasodilatory effects. This makes it a very useful 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 in Dong quai root. These elements can prevent spasms, reduce blood clotting and relax
peripheral blood vessels. Research has shown that Dong Quai produces a balancing effect on oestrogen activity.
Modern treatments prescribe the herb to combat PMS and to help women resume normal menstruation after using birth control pills.
It is not recommended during pregnancy, for women with
excessive menstrual flow or for people taking blood thinning agents.