Dong Quai is a member the celery family of plants. The herb produces white flowers with a green hue that bloom from May to August, and the plant is typically found growing in moist mountain gullies, meadows, along river banks and in coastal areas. The root of the Dong Quai plant has a number of medicinal appications.
Dong Quai, or traditionally known as Chinese Angelica, is commonly used for treating conditions in females in both America and China. Traditional Chinese medicine, frequently refers to Dong Quai as female ginseng.
Dong quai is often included in herbal combinations as a treatment for abnormal menstruation, including suppressed menstrual flow, dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), and uterine bleeding. However it is not recommended, according to Chinese medicine, for treatment of menopause, or related symptoms such as hot flashes. And contrary to some recent theories, donq quai is not a replacement for estrogen, nor does it offer any hormone-like effects on the body. Its reported ability to relieve menstrual related symptoms and conditions is believed to stem from its power to quell spasms in the internal organs. Traditional Chinese medicine employs dong quai in treating both men and women with cardiovascular disease, including symptoms of high blood pressure and problems with peripheral circulation.
Dong quai's constituents can stimulate the central nervous system whereby alleviating weakness and frequent headaches associated with menstrual disorders. Dong quai also strengthens the internal reproductive organs, helps with endometriosis and aids in internal bleeding or bruising. It also relieves symptoms of menopause such as vaginal dryness and hot flashes.
Dong quai also works as a blood purifier, it has been known to promote blood circulation and provide nourishment to the blood in both sexes. It has a high iron content and may assist in preventing iron deficiency and anemia. Studies show that it can aid in regulating blood sugar levels and in lowering blood pressure.
Dong quai has slight sedative properties, which may relieve stress and calm nerves. It has been used to stimulate a mother's uterus during labor, treat insomnia, relieve constipation and treat migraine headaches.Dosage Information
Dong quai as a root is often ground into powder and taken in capsule or tablet form. Women usually take 3 to 4 grams per day. Strengths of commercial preparations may vary, so make sure to follow the manufacturer's directions on the label. Possible Side Effects
Dong quai may cause those with fair skin, to become more sensitive to sunlight. Those consuming this herb on a regular basis, should minimize exposure to the sun and all kinds of ultraviolet radiation. Dong quai should not be taken if pregnant or by women who are breast-feeding.
There is some concern that some medications may have a negative interaction with dong quai. Consult a doctor before taking dong quai if you are taking other medications.Supporting LiteratureDerMarderosian A, ed. Dong Quai. In: Facts and Comparisons The Review of Natural Products. St. Louis, MO: Wolters Kluwer Co.: 1997.
Foster S, Yue CX. Herbal Emissaries. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 1992, 65-72.
Hardy ML. Herbs of special interest to women. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2000;40(2):234-242.