Don Quai or Angelica – Herbs For Alternative Medicine


Dong quai or angelica, an aromatic herb that grows in China, Korea, and Japan and is used by Chinese herbalists as a treatment for almost every gynecological complaint from regulating the menstrual cycle to treating menopausal symptoms caused by hormonal changes.

It is considered the ultimate, woman’s tonic herb. Both men and women use the herb as a general blood tonic.

Dong quai contains vitamins E, A and B12 and rich in tannins. Researchers have isolated at least six coumarin derivatives that exert antispasmodic and vasodilatory effects. Antispasmodics are a 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’s root. These elements can prevent spasms, reduce blood clotting and relax peripheral blood vessels.

Claims and Common Uses:

  • Increases the effects of ovarian and testicular hormones
  • Dried root is used in the treatment of liver disorders
  • High iron content and may help to prevent iron deficiency anemia
  • Aids in regulating blood sugar and in lowering blood pressure
  • Relieves constipation and insomnia
  • Soothes muscle spasms
  • Relieves buildup of phlegm due to asthma and bronchitis.
  • Exhibits anti-tumor, anti-bacterial activity
  • Used in the treatment of arrhythmia and heartburn
  • Brings great relief from symptoms of PMS, migraine headaches, abdominal pain and arthritis
  • May help women resume normal menstruation after using birth control pills
  • Acts as a mild sedative which can relieve stress and anxiety
  • Strengthens internal reproductive organs, helps with endometriosis and internal bleeding or bruising
  • Relieves menopausal conditions such as vaginal dryness and hot flashes
  • Effective remedy for vitiligo and psoriasis
  • Good remedy for skin lice
  • Can be used in the bath water to ease the pain of aching joints

Parts Used: Whole root, herb and seed.

Preparations: Found in tea, herbal preparations, capsules, tablets, extract and recipes.

  • You should avoid the herb if it is dry or has a greenish brown cross section.
  • Frying the herb in vinegar or wine improves its tonic effect on blood circulation.
  • Toasting it to ash increases its ability to stop bleeding
  • Mixed with astragalus, dong quai provides a tonic for treating fatigue and other symptoms associated with loss of blood
  • Dong quai is also combined with honeysuckle flowers and red peony root to form a preparation that reduces the swelling and alleviates the pain of abscesses and sores
  • Consult a Chinese medicine practitioner for further information on mixtures and doses

Side Effects and Warnings of Dong Quai:

  • Benefits not worth the risk.   Not recommended for use.
  • Do not use during pregnancy or for women with excessive menstrual flow
  • Diabetics should avoid angelica or Dong quai, as it can push the blood sugar level up very high
  • It is not recommended for people taking blood-thinning agents
  • Do not exceed recommended dose, large doses can affect blood pressure, heart action, and respiration.
  • May cause diarrhea or abdominal bloating. Check on the use of this herb with your Chinese medicine practitioner if you have any of these symptoms, it is not recommended in some cases
  • Can react with sunlight to cause a rash or severe sunburn.
  • Essential oil contains safrole, a carcinogen