Angelica sinensis, A polymorpha, A acutiloba, are often collectively known as “Chinese angelica,” plants native of China, Korea and Japan. The active compounds of its root are aromatic oils like ligustilide, butyl phthalide and butylene phthalide, while ferulic acid and various polysaccharides make up the remainder.
- Female tonic. Dong quai is the most important female tonic in Chinese medicine, its use dating back to ancient times. Today, its use is widespread throughout the world. It is used against general debility and poor vitality, tiredness and convalescence, and a large variety of gynecological, menstrual and menopausal problems, such as menstrual pain and irregularities, habitual abortion, hot flashes, chills in hand and feet, etc. It contains a series of phytoestrogens that can regulate estrogen activity in women, both on the positive and negative side, re-establishing hormonal balance.
- Anti-allergic. This effect of dong quai appears to be due to its capacity to selectively limit the production of allergy-related antibodies, such as immunoglobulin E (IgE), which in allergic individuals may be 3-10 higher than normal.
- Circulation stimulant. The herb is known to dilate vessels, and to possess a vitamin E like effect on the circulation system. Thus it is successfully used against anemia, excessive blood viscosity, blood clotting, boils, headaches, peripheral blood flow, venous problems, etc.
- Immune stimulant. Dong quai is known for inducing increased resistance to disease and it has been so used in Asia.
- Muscle relaxant. Dong quai acts as a general smooth muscle relaxant, especially on the uterus. It has been clinically observed to strengthen and at the same time normalize uterine contractions, particularly useful during pregnancy and delivery. The same effect on other muscles may be responsible for the use of the herb in blood pressure regulation and bronchial asthma.
- Pain reliever. Research has shown dong quai to be an effective analgesic. This together with its muscle relaxing properties, make it a valuable remedy for menstrual cramps, dysmenorrhea, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), etc.
Caution: Use during pregnancy requires the service of qualified and experienced health care practitioner. Persons with gastro-intestinal problems may experience diarrhea. Its use must be avoided in case of hemorrhagic disease, hypermenorrhea, spontaneous abortion, and during severe flu.