Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis)
Dong quai is among one of the oldest and well rooted herbs in Chinese medicine. It has historically been used to treat blood deficiency and Qi stagnation, mainly in the liver and spleen. Curiously, Western medicine is catching up with the ancients by acknowledging the medicinal uses of this age-old herb.
Dong Quai to Treat Female Ailments
Dong quai is used by practitioners of TCM for female conditions such as:
- Infrequent periods (oligomenorrhea)
- Absent periods (amenorrhea)
- Painful periods (dysmenorrhea)
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Menopausal symptoms
I have successfully used this root in combination with others, to treat abnormal and painful periods, PMS, cardiac arrhythmia, and anemia, all of which only occur just right before my period starts.
If you have symptoms of cardiac malfunction, please consult your doctor immediately.
Dong Quai to Treat Abnormal Cardiac Symptoms
Dong quai is used by practitioners of TCM for conditions of blood deficiency such as pale face and lips, fatigue, and depression.
If you think that those symptoms sounds reminiscent of anemia, then I say you are correct!
Although, it is important to note that traditional Chinese medicine is a medicinal practice independent of Western medicine, so comparing TCM to Western medicine is like comparing apples to oranges.
But, the studies speak for themselves and apples and oranges are both fruits! Just saying.
Indeed, there are experimental studies which support dong quai as a treatment for cardiac symptoms and anemia.
Extracts of dong quai (Angelica sinensis) have been shown to counteract abnormal heart rhythm, and to significantly increase blood flow to and from the heart.
It also has been shown to decrease oxygen consumption to the heart in a study performed in guinea pigs.
A study by K.P. Wang et al., 2007, states that dong quai (Angelica sinensis) may even be able to reverse the effects of iron deficiency anemia.
Note: More studies are needed but funding for herbal medicine research is hard to come by, since herbs cannot be patented and exploited by pharmaceutical companies.
Dong quai may increase a sensitivity to UV rays, so it is important to decrease sun exposure and use sunscreen while taking this herb.
How is it administered?
- brewed as tea
- in a tincture
- in capsules and tablets
What are the side effects?
Some side effects may include:
- abnormal heart rhythm
Dong quai may increase the effects of:
- ibuprofen (Advil®)
- naproxen (Aleve®)
Dong quai should be avoided by:
- pregnant women
- those taking estrogenic drugs (birth control)
- people who have had certain types of cancer
- people with bleeding disorders
- those taking anticoagulant medication such as Warfarin (Coumadin®)
Summary: Dong quai is among one of the oldest and well rooted herbs in Chinese medicine. It can effectively treat problems with menstruation and may even be able to reverse the effects of iron deficiency anemia. Caution should be used while taking this herb since it can potentiate the effects of some medications.
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Boon, H., & Smith, M. (2009). In 55 most Common MEDICINAL herbs: The complete natural medicine Guide (pp. 161–167). essay, Firefly Books Ltd.
U.S Department of Health and Human Services. (2008, September). Chemical Information Review Document for Dong quai [CAS Nos. 308068-61-3 (root) and 299184-76-2 (extract)]. National Toxicology Program . Retrieved September 13, 2021, from https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/noms/support_docs/dong_quai090308.pdf.
What is Qi Stagnation? AIAM School of Acupuncture & Acupuncture Clinic. American Institute of Alternative Medicine. (2020, July 24). Retrieved September 13, 2021, from https://www.aiam.edu/acupuncture/qi-stagnation/.