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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

aka Chinese Angelica, Danggui, Dang Quai, Female Ginseng, Tang kwei
(Angelica sinensis syn Angelica polymorpha var sinensis)
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See also: Angelica and American Angelica


Avoid when pregnant or nursing. Do not use if periods are typically heavy. Avoid large doses if diabetic due to sugar content. Possible skin allergen for some people. Contains psoralens and can cause photosensitivity; external use of the oil can cause photosensitivity. May be contraindicated in 'hot' conditions.

FYIA Chinese herb of note which is grown in the provinces of Shansi, Shantung, and Chili. The ROOT is fleshy, being brown on the outside with a strong celery-like odor and a sweet taste (a bitter taste means it is weak and unsuitable for use); the fresh root should be moist, outwardly brown and with a white cross section; avoid any with a greenish cross section. Was first introduced into Western medicine in 1899 by the Merck Co. In Chinese medicine it is not combined with ginseng as the two are said to be incompatible §

CONTAINS: Fumocoumarins; estrogenic compounds; 40% sucrose; essential oil (carvacrol, safrol, isosafrol, alcohols, sesquiterpenes, cadinen, n-dodecanol, n-tetradecanol, n-butylphalid); a non-blycosidal, non-alkaloid water soluable crystalline component with B-12 and carotene; vitamin E; fixed oils; resin; phthalates; pseudotannin; liguistilide; saponin; sitisterol; psoralen; bergapten; starch; water when fresh is 78%, when air dried 9%
BASED on ZERO MOISTURE per 100 gms: 42 mg aluminum, 5.6% ash, 282 mg calcium, 0.09 mg chromium, 1.51 mg cobalt, 8.8 mg iron, 265 mg magnesium, 0.26 mg manganese, 6.8 mg niacin, 334 mg phosphorus, 1,070 mg potassium, 0.34 mg riboflavin, 0.035 mg selenium, 0.34 mg silicon, trace mg sodium, trace mg thiamine, 0.4 mg tin, 201 IU vitamin A, 30.4 mg vitamin C, trace mg zinc

PROPAGATION By SEED (viable 1 year only and best sown fresh) in spring or fall; surface sow by sprinkling on soil where they are to grow and press down
HARVEST ROOTS are taken in autumn; LEAVES are taken before flowering occurs; SEEDS are harvested as they ripen; STEMS are taken in early summer. All parts are dried
FORM Decoction; Tincture
RELATED SPECIES MOUNTAIN ANGELICA (A. brewerii): Native to the California Sierras and used as a substitute for Dong Quai
Bittersweet, aromatic, diuretic, laxative (mild), emmenagogue, sedative, anodyne, estrogenic, uterine tonic, blood tonic (both sexes), blood purifier, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, alterative, liver tonic, hypotensive, vasodilator; used as a tonic for the female reproductive system and the liver (protects liver from carbon tetrachloride); possible antibacterial activity; affects female reproductive system, muscular system, circulatory system; affects heart, liver, and spleen. Inhibits production of 1gE antibody (key part of pollen allergies). Stimulates activity of macrophages to destroy foreign invaders, including tumor growth.

Usually combined with Black Cohosh for the improved effect of both. When Dong Quai is the predominate ingredient, then menstrual cramping is alleviated and menstrual flow increases; when Black Cohosh predominates the menstrual flow is decreased and swelling is reduced.

Has been used internally for menstrual, postpartum, and menopausal problems. Chinese chicken soup with Dong Quai has been used as a female tonic after childbirth. In Chinese traditional medicine a tea of the roots has been taken beginning two months prior to childbirth to ease labor. For low libido problems, decoction made of 3 to 6 tsp powdered root to 1 pint of boiling water has been taken 3 times daily.

Has been used for iron-deficiency anemia (symptoms include breathlessness, and/or palpitations, very pale nails or inner eyelids, and rheumatic type pains).

Has been used in injection form at acupuncture points for injuries with pain, hypertension, neuralgia, angina, sciatica, and arthritis.

Has been used in Chinese medicine for hemorrhages of all kinds as well as colds, constipation (especially in the elderly and due to internal dryness), dyspepsia, intermittent fever, cirrhosis of the liver (2 to 6 tsp a day in tea form, taken cool; also tincture and pills according to manufacturer's directions).

A combined tea of equal parts Dong Quai and Peach Bark has been used to treat alcoholism.

The tea has been used for arthritis, bronchitis, the side-effects of chemotherapy, cancer of the esophagus (to ease), fevers, headache (1 cup tea or a warm pack soaked in the tea), intestinal pain, bruises (alternating hot and cold packs which have been soaked in the tea), migraines (men), hypoglycemia, blood clots, and nervousness.

!All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
♦ Root should be sweet; if bitter, it is weak
FRESH ROOT = 1 to 3 tbsp
DRIED ROOT = 1/2 tsp (2 gm) to 1 tsp (4 gm)
INFUSION = 1 tsp dried root to 1 cup water; steeped 10 to 20 minutes
DECOCTION = 1 oz (30 gm) to 1 pint water; simmered 10 to 15 minutes; taken in 3 doses (upto 1 tbsp [15 gm] at a time)
EXTRACT = 1 oz dried root combined with 6 oz of 100 proof vodka

Used in China to make Dong Quai Duck
Flowers of Dong Quai attract beneficial insects that prey on garden pests

©2001 & 2007 by Ernestina Parziale, CH