Dong quai is an herb in the celery family, which is native to China, Korea and Japan. Also known as Angelica sinensis scientifically, the roots of this herb have been used for thousands of years as a spice, stimulant and medicine in China, Korea and Japan. It is still used along with the combination of other herbs in the Chinese traditional medicine. The herb is mostly used to treat woman’s reproductive problems such as painful menstruation, and also helps in improved circulation. Hence, from this, we understand that the roots of dong quai are medicinally active. Dong quai comes out in the form of tablets, liquid take out and raw root forms. As a Chinese medicine, Dong quai is mostly boiled or saturated in wine. Then the root is removed and the fluid is taken orally.
Facts of Dong Quai:
Dong quail grows at very high elevations in the cold, wet mountains of China, Korea and Japan. The roots of dried Dong quai are yellowish-brown and thick branched. They are available as dehydrated whole root, segment root, crushed root and extracts, tablets and tinctures.
Dong quai contains seven coumarin derivates, which have the ability to stimulate the uterus and the central nervous system and fight spasm. Some laboratory tests suggest that dong quai has compounds that help in the reduction of pain, dilate blood vessels and relax the uterine muscles. It is considered as female ginseng because of its harmonizing effect on the female hormonal system. However, studies also suggest that dong quai does not have hormone-like effects.
There are different diseases that can be effectively treated with this herbal medicine. It is commonly regarded as a female medicine. Menopause, weakness after the birth of a child, fibroid tumors, high blood pressure, PMS, painful menstruation, anemia, allergies, chronic nasal congestion, rheumatoid arthritis, constipation, hepatitis, headache, shingle, fibrocystic breast disease, women’s tonic, irregular menstrual bleeding are the diseases that can be effectively treated with the roots of the herb.
However, dong quai also creates essential oil, which should not be consumed orally as it contains a small amount of cancer-causing substance. It should not be used generally in times of pregnancy and particularly in the first trimester as well as during breast-feeding.
Dong quai can also cause photosensitivity (sensitivity to sunlight) resulting in skin inflammation and rashes. Hence, people should limit their exposure to sun and wear sun block. One must avoid dong quai when the person is suffering from bleeding disorders, diarrhea, excessive menstrual bleeding and abdominal swelling and also in times of cold and flu.