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Dong Quai is a herb in the celery family native to China, Japan, and Korea. The root is medicinally active. Also known as Chinese Angelica, it has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese, Korean, and Japanese medicine.
Chinese herbalists recommend dong quai for both males and females to treat cardiovascular disorders like high blood pressure or circulatory problems. It is also used to purify the bloodstream of toxins, stimulate circulation, and is very beneficial to the blood. Dong Quai is rich in iron and so it is used to treat or prevent anemia. Research indicates it is also effective in evening out blood sugar amounts and reducing blood pressure. It is also given for strengthening xue (loosely translated as "the blood"), for cardiovascular conditions/high blood pressure, inflammation, headache, infections, and nerve pain. Dong Quai has been known to increase activity of the central nervous system, which gives increased strength and energy. Dong quai is also used orally for the treatment of loss of skin color (depigmentation) and psoriasis.
It remains one of the most popular plants in Chinese medicine, and is used primarily for health conditions in women. Dong quai has been called "female ginseng," based on its use for gynecological disorders (such as painful menstruation or pelvic pain), recovery from childbirth or illness, and fatigue/low vitality. It is also beneficial to the reproductive organs, and is used to treat endometriosis, or internal bleeding or bruising. It can sometimes treat problems associated with menopause like hot flashes or vaginal dehydration.
Dong Quai is an aromatic herb that grows in China, Korea, and Japan. The reputation of dong quai is second only to Ginseng and is considered the ultimate, all-purpose woman's tonic herb. It is used for almost every gynecological complaint from regulating the menstrual cycle to treating menopausal symptoms caused by hormonal changes.
In the late 1800s, an extract of dong quai called Eumenol became popular in Europe as a treatment for gynecological complaints. Recently, interest in dong quai has resurged due to its proposed weak estrogen-like properties. However, it remains unclear if Dong quai has the same effects on the body as estrogens, blocks the activity of estrogens, or has no significant hormonal effects. Additional research is necessary in this area before a firm conclusion can be drawn.
Dong quai has also be used to stimulate the uterus during childbirth, treat insomnia, alleviate constipation and for migraine headaches. The root has earned a reputation as the "ultimate herb" for women. It is used to restore balance to a woman's hormones and cycles and is helpful in restoring menstrual regularity and for conditions of the reproductive system. Modern treatments prescribe the herb to help women resume normal menstruation after using birth control pills.
Dong Quai has been used for the following symptoms:
For menstruating women:
It has a mild sedative effect which can relieve stress and calms the nerves. It has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic effects. The plant's phytochemicals consist of coumarins, phytosterols, polysaccharides, ferulate, and flavonoids. It has antioxidant activity. It is also used as an aphrodisiac.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, dong quai is, foremost, a blood tonic used to nourish the blood and invigorate the blood circulation. The associated acupuncture meridians are the liver, heart and spleen. Christopher Hobbs, a well-respected herbalist, writes very highly of herbal tonics; "Tonics are very gentle and slow stimulants, and they provide nutrients that the body can use, such as vitamins, minerals and many other constituents like plant pigments, e.g. anthocyanins or flavonoids. Large quantities can be given without harm of overstressing cells, tissues, organs or body systems."
Herbal tonics nourish cells, tissues, organs; in fact they feed and nourish the whole body. Being safe for long term use, herbal tonics focus on the vitality of an individual and are often used for supporting the nervous system, hormonal system and the immune system.
Being described as a tonic, the herb has been reported to improve digestion and to exhibit mild laxative properties that aid in bowel movement. Its diuretic effects are helpful in improving kidney function and blood pressure management. The herb is also promoted as helpful in weight management.
Some of the chemical components of Dong Quai include vitamin B (nictonic acid, folic acid, vitamin B12), and vitamin A. Dong Quai is one of the few non-animal sources of cobalamin, or Vitamin B12. The rest of its phytochemicals are coumarins, flavonoids, phytosterols, ferulates, and polysaccharides. Coumarin reduces appetite, and flavonoids are antioxidants that slow aging and protect against cancer and heart disease. Phytosterols can reduce cholesterol, and are sometimes used as a food additive. Ferulate is the sodium salt of ferulic acid, and it is used to treat cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, and to prevent thrombosis. Polysaccharides are complex carbohydrates which provide energy, and in this Chinese herb are manifested as starch and leukocyte-stimulating substances.
In Chinese medicine, different parts of the dong quai root are believed to have different actions - the head of the root has anticoagulant activity, the main part of the root is a tonic, and the end of the root eliminates blood stagnation. Dong Quai comes in tablet, liquid extract, and raw root forms. Sometimes a combination of herbs will be more effective than a single herbs and dong quai is often used in herbal combinations.
Dong quai is not recommended during pregnancy, for women with excessive menstrual flow or for people taking blood thinning agents.
Dong Quai can slow blood clotting. It might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop taking dong quai at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery. Taking dong quai along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
Dong quai can cause photosensitivity, so people should limit sun exposure and wear sunblock
Dong Quai (100 capsules)