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Dong Quai

The Queen of Herbs

Do you feel tense?
Do you suffer from muscle cramps or pre-menstrual tension?
Then read on, this might help.

Dong Quai is an “aromatic herb that has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese, Korean, and Japanese medicine. 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 given for strengthening xue (loosely translated as "the blood"), for cardiovascular conditions/high blood pressure, inflammation, headache, infections, and nerve pain.

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.

In Chinese medicine, Dong Quai is most often used in combination with other herbs. It is used as a component of formulas for liver qi stasis and spleen deficiency. It is believed to work best in patients with a yin profile, and is considered to be a mildly warming herb.

Dong Quai is thought to return the body to proper order by nourishing the blood and harmonizing vital energy. The name Dong Quai translates as "return to order" based on its alleged restorative properties.

Dong Quai is rich in Vitamins A, B3, B12, C, E, and also has high content of minerals such as Calcium, iron, zinc, sodium, magnesium, and volatile oils etc.

Muscle Relaxant

Even though it is good for women, it also helps treat the heart, spleen, liver and kidneys that help both men and women. The effect of the herb in treating cramps is explained by the compounds that help relax the muscle tissue and relieves pain.

Dong Quai also stimulates the central nervous system, which can remedy menstrual weakness and headaches. The use of this herb is mostly found in tea, herbal preparations, capsules and extracts. It usually comes in tablet, liquid extract and raw root forms.

Using Dong Quai regularly relieves menstrual cramps, prevents the symptoms of menopause and PMS, corrects hormone imbalance and acts as a general tonic for the female reproductive system. There isn’t a certain amount of dosage for Dong Quai but in Chinese medicine Dong Quai is made in a special way. It is boiled or soaked in wine, then the liquid is taken orally while the root is being removed.

The best use of Dong Quai to provide long term relief from menopausal syndromes is to take it regularly for 8 to 12 weeks at a time.

It is widely used in Chinese traditional medicine to treat gynecological ailments, fatigue, mild anemia and high blood pressure. It has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and sedative effects. The plant's phytochemicals consist of coumarins, phytosterols, polysaccharides, ferulate, and flavonoids. It has antioxidant activity.

It is also used as an aphrodisiac. Angelica sinensis, commonly known as "Dong Quai" or "Female Ginseng" is a herb from the family Apiaceae, indigenous to China.

IMPORTANT: Dong Quai is NOT recommended for pregnant women because of its hormonal, anticoagulant, and anti-platelet characteristics. It is recommended to consult your herbal practitioner for usage advice.