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Dong quai quick review
Botanical description: a perennial aromatic herb (Angelica sinensis) native to China and Japan, a member of the Umbelliferae family.
Active constituents:ligustilide, n-butylphthalide, ferulic acid, nicotinic acid, succinic acid, coumarin derivatives, vitamin A, carotenoids, vitamin B12, vitamin E, ascorbic acid, folinic acid, biotin, calcium, magnesium, phytosterols, polysaccharides, and flavonoids.
Health benefits : used mainly in combination with other herbals to relieve menstrual cramps, regulate menstrual periods, and lessen menopausal symptoms. Helps to slow the heart while strengthening ventricular contractility, increase coronary blood flow, increase peripheral blood flow.

Side effects : may cause some fair-skinned people to become more sensitive to sunlight, not recommended for pregnant or breast-feeding women. Dong quai may increase the anti-clotting effects of prescription anticoagulants.
 
Dong Quai by Natures Sunshine
Dong Quai is considered the queen of herbs by the Chinese and is China¡¯s most popular herb for women. Chinese physicians use the herb to enrich the blood, promote circulation, regulate menstruation, calm nerves and soothe the intestines. Dong Quai by Natures Sunshine is manuafactured according to the highest pharmaceutical standards and uses only the best quality raw ingredients. Click here for more information.
 

Dong quai (Angelica sinensis)


Dong quai is a perennial aromatic herb (Angelica sinensis) native to China and Japan. Dong quai grows at high altitudes in the cold, damp, mountain regions of China, Korea and Japan. Common names for the herb include angelica, Chinese angelica, dang gui and tang kuie. Dong quai grows in northern and western areas of China. A perennial plant related to celery, it can grow as tall as 8 feet. A member of the Umbelliferae family, Angelica produces white flowers that bloom in umbrella-like clusters in June-July. The leaves of dong quai are divided into a number of small leaflets and its small flowers are arranged in flat groups. The lower leaves are large and tri-pinnate each further divided into two-three leaflets. The smaller, upper leaves are pinnate, with leaflets arranged in opposite rows along the leaf stalk. The yellowish-brown thick-branched roots of the dong quai plant have a number of medicinal uses. Dong quai is widely used in Chinese traditional medicine to treat gynecological ailments, fatigue, mild anemia and high blood pressure.
 

Active constituents of dong quai


Dong quai root contains 0.4-0.7% volatile oils, the key components of volatile oil are ligustilide, n-butylphthalide, ferulic acid, nicotinic acid, and succinic acid. Natural coumarin derivatives found in dong quai include angelol, angelicone, bergapten, oxypeucedanin, osthole, psoralen, and 7-desmethylsuberosin. Dong quai root is also profound in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, carotenoids, vitamin B12, vitamin E, ascorbic acid, folinic acid, biotin, calcium, and magnesium. The plant has numerous phytochemicals, including coumarins, phytosterols, polysaccharides, and flavonoids. Other constituents include delta-2,4-dihydrophthalic anhydride, uracil, adenine, carvacrol, safrole, isosafrole, sesquiterpenes, n-dodecanol, n-tetradecanol, n-valerophenone-O-carboxylic acid, beta-cadinene, palmitic acid, angelic acid, myristic acid, and sucrose.
 

Medicinal uses and health benefits of dong quai


In traditional Chinese medicine, dong quai is referred to as the female ginseng. Dong quai is often included in herbal combinations for abnormal menstruation, suppressed menstrual flow, dysmenorrhea, and uterine bleeding. Chinese women have used dong
quai for thousands of years to help regulate the menstrual cycle and stop menstrual pain. Dong quai has been traditionally used to slow the heart beat, improve coronary circulation, control arrhythmia, improve high blood pressure and increase blood flow to the periphery. It is also used in TCM for both men and women with cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure and problems with peripheral circulation.

Dong quai is used mainly in combination with other herbals to relieve menstrual cramps, regulate menstrual periods, and lessen menopausal symptoms. Dong quai helps to promote uterine health and regulate the menstrual cycle. Dong quai works well in combination with chasteberry to restore the hormonal imbalances that can cause the often severe pain of menstrual disorders such as cramps, irregular menstrual cycles, infrequent periods, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and menopausal symptoms. Dong quai promotes natural progesterone synthesis, a hormone that declines during menopause. It acts to increase vaginal secretions and to nourish vaginal tissue. Phytoestrogens found in dong quai may help by compensating for menopause-related drops in natural estrogen levels. In combination with herbs such as black cohosh, chasteberry, and Siberian ginseng, dong quai appears to be useful for controlling hot flashes and reducing vaginal dryness. Dong quai's ability to relieve menstrual problems has been attributed to its muscle relaxing properties and its action to quiet spasms in the internal organs.

Dong quai helps to slow the heart while strengthening ventricular contractility, increase coronary blood flow, increase peripheral blood flow, prevent experimental atherosclerosis, reduce arterial hyperlipidemia, and reduce blood pressure. Ferulic acid, one of the constituents of dong quai, can inhibit the polymerization of platelets in blood circulation. It retards platelet release of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) and adenosine diphosphate (ADP). Dong quai can dilate the coronary vessels, increase coronary flow, and reduce respiratory rate. Dong quai contains several active compounds called coumarins which dilate (open up) the blood vessels, stimulate the central nervous system, and help control spasms.

Dong quai has a relaxing effect on uterine muscles and a stimulating uterine effect when the herb is decocted long enough to drive off the volatiles. Dong quai has a tonic effect on all female reproductive organs and increases blood flow to the uterus. It has been found to increase the rate of uterine tissue multiplication, normalize irregular uterine contractions, decrease uterine bleeding, and decrease menstrual pain. It has also been shown that effects on the uterus are not due to any estrogenic or hormonal mode of action.

Dong quai has significant effects as a diuretic, laxative, hepatoprotective, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antispasmodic herb. The sedative properties of dong quai ameliorate emotional distress and irritability. It is used to treat mild anemia and as a liver tonic. Dong quai is also commonly used as a reproductive normalizer to normalize digestion and relieve flatulence. When used in combination with ginseng and astragalus, dong quai may decrease symptoms of chest pain and improve exercise tolerance. The herb has also been useful in the treatment of migraine headaches. Dong quai has been used successfully to support treatment of hepatitis, thrombosis, herpes zoster, rheumatic pain, chronic bronchitis, and vitamin E deficiency.

 

Side effects, precautions, interactions


Dong quai is generally considered to be quite safe when used properly. Dong quai is not recommended for pregnant or breast-feeding women. Because the root contains chemicals called psoralens, dong quai may cause some fair-skinned people to become more sensitive to sunlight. Dong quai should not be used by those who have chronic diarrhea or abdominal bloating. The essential oil of dong quai contains a small amount of cancer-causing substances, so driking directly drinking is not recommended. Men with prostate cancer and women with endometriosis, breast cancer, or cancers of the uterus or ovaries should not take dong quai. Dong quai may increase the anti-clotting effects of prescription anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents, aspirin, and other herbal products.