What is Dong Quai Good For

Dong quai or “Female Ginseng,” is an herb, the root of which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, most often combined with other herbs in formulations.

Dong Quai has many other benefits other than being a natural way to support a woman’s health and reproductive system; such as cardiovascular and blood health, as an antispasmodic, diuretic and laxative, uterine tonic, it improves immune function, has antiviral and antibacterial properties and much more. Learn about Dong Quai’s many applications.

History of Dong Quai

Dong Quai is the dried extract root of Chinese Angelica, a robust perennial plant that is native to Japan and China. Its appearance when cultivated is one of great height capable of reaching a height of up to six feet, displaying bright green leaves and clusters of white flowers. As far as therapeutic effects, both the Chinese species (Angelica sinensis) and Japanese species (Angelica acutiloba) are very similar, although there seems to be a bit of rivalry – each country claims to produce the superior Dong Quai.

Dong was first recorded in Asia, 588 B.C. and has since been cultivated for thousands of years for its medicinal benefits. Proof of its value, dong quai is second only in reputation and sales to ginseng and licorice root.  Impressive chemical elements of Dong Quai include coumarins, essential oils, vitamins B-1, B-2, B-5 and vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, phosphorus, potassium selenium, acids, flavonoids and phytoestrogens (characterized by both high and low estrogen levels which may account for much of the plant’s use to regulate female disorders).

Botanical: Angelica sinensis

Family: Apiaceae (parsley)

Other common names: Tang-kuei, Dang Gui, Chinese Angelica Root, Woman’s Herb

Beneficial Uses

Female Applications:

  1. Dong Quai is well-known as a general tonic for the reproductive system that assists the body in using and balancing hormones
  2. Widely used to relieve the discomforts of PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome), dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), amenorrhea (absence of menstruation), menorrhagia (abnormal menstruation) and for the treatment of painful menstruation
  3. Called upon in cases of infertility
  4. Dong Quai is considered a post-partum tonic, assisting to regulate menses and build the blood after the delivery of a child
  5. Also helpful in re-establishing the menstrual cycle after stopping birth control pills – helps regulate monthly cycle
  6. Often used to relieve the discomforts of menopause and premenstrual syndrome
  7. Hot flashes, vaginal dryness, menopausal symptoms including mood swings, dong quai appears effective in helping to balance female hormones

Wide Range of Cardiovascular Benefits

  1. When it comes to supporting healthy blood and cardiovascular function, both men and women use Dong Quai as a tonic to promote better blood circulation, to cleanse and purify the blood
  2. Dong Quai has significant blood pressure lowering capabilities, owing to its ability to dilate blood vessels
  3. Dong quai also possesses calcium channel blockers; which help a wide variety of cardiovascular conditions, like hypertension, arteriosclerosis and angina
  4. Constituents in Dong Quai appear to impede blood clotting, thus helping to guard against stroke and heart attack – improving overall circulation
  5. Dong quai inhibits platelet aggregation, increasing blood flow to the heart, brain and extremities

Other Benefits

Antispasmodic: Dong quai has confirmed its historical use as a remedy in the treatment of intestinal spasms and uterine cramps, due to its chemical agents known as coumarins that act to dilate the blood vessels and relax the smooth muscles of the intestines and uterus. Through the same actions, it also displays hypotensive (lowering blood pressure) results (action upon the vascular smooth muscle) which could also explain why it relieves the discomforts of asthma (due to its action upon the bronchial smooth muscle).

Immune function: These same compounds, coumarin, have demonstrated immune enhancing activity in healthy patients as well as in ill patients. How they work. These compounds work by stimulating white blood cells, increasing their ability to destroy foreign particles and persistent infection. As well, the immune cells macrophages have shown to be stimulated and activated. These immune cells are called upon to surround and digest foreign materials and harmful cellular debris in the body.

Allergies: In the Orient, Chinese and Japanese herbalists have also used Dong Quai for the prevention and treatment of allergic symptoms in individuals who are sensitive to a variety of substances, such as pollen, dust, animal dander, foods, etc.

Uterine tonic: Dong quai promotes an increase in contractions followed by a prolonged relaxation

Insomnia: Dong Quai is useful as a sleep aid, it has alleviated sleeplessness in both sexes. Studies claim that dong quai has tranquilizing effects and will calm the nerves.

Eye disorders: Dong Quai is a rich source of flavonoids, well recognized to protect the microscopic blood vessels in the eye from leaking and causing swelling in the retina. In addition to impeding the formation of microscopic blood clots that could impede circulation in the eye.

Antibacterial and antiviral: Dong quai has demonstrated antibiotic effects, standing up against several forms of bacteria such as strep, E-coli and shigella in studies.

Because dong quai is said to possess analgesic activity, combined with its smooth muscle relaxing properties and improved circulation, dong quai has shown to relieve the following conditions:

  • Tinnitus
    Blurred vision
  • Palpitations
  • Migraine headaches
  • Pain of traumatic injuries
    Improve a variety of skin conditions including psoriasis and vitilago
  • Improves brain stimulation and alertness
  • A mild diuretic
  • Laxative, by lubricating the bowel, it helps with constipation
  • Pain due to arthritis
  • Abdominal pain, cramps
  • Headaches

 Recommended Dosage:

Dong quai is available as a dietary supplement. Take one (1) capsule, two (2) times each day with water at mealtimes.

Copyright © 2021 – All Rights Reserved – Michelle Honda Ph.D.


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While close attention was given to the accuracy of information in this article, the author accepts neither responsibility nor liability to any person with respect to injury, damage, loss or any circumstances involving alleged causes directly or indirectly related to the information in this article. The sole purpose is to educate and broaden ones awareness. This information is not meant to replace medical advice or services provided by a health care professional.

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