This herb is often referred to as Chinese Angelica or Dong Quai pronounced 'Dong Kwy', its other common names include Dang Gui and Tang Kuei. As the Latin name suggests, this herb is related to the Angelica species which are all members of the Carrot family. In its native country, China, Dong Quai is the next best-selling herb to Licorice, where millions of women are reputed to take it every day as an invigorating and blood purifying tonic. The term 'female ginseng' is often used by herbalists when referring to Dong Quai and its tonifying properties.
WHAT IS A TONIC?
In many traditional systems of healing, such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), herbal tonics are considered the 'creme de la creme' of remedies and are highly sought-after. 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
USES OF DONG QUAI
I have already mentioned the tonifying effects of Dong Quai, this is especially true for its actions on the female reproductive system. Its ability to regulate and normalize hormonal imbalances means that this herb can be extremely valuable in alleviating symptoms associated with PMT, infertility, and menopause. Some of the chemical components of Dong Quai include vitamin B (nicotinic acid, folic acid, vitamin B12), and vitamin A.
For menstruating women, Dong Quai can help: PMT (Pre-menstrual tension, or pre-menstrual syndrome) Amenorrhoea (lack of menstrual flow), Dysmenorrhoea (painful menstruation), Infertility, and Anaemia (blood iron deficiency) Menopause - Dong Quai can improve; Hot flushes (flashes) Dizziness Blurred vision Menopause cramps Sleeplessness Nerve debility (panic attacks, general nervousness) Anaemia, and Osteoporosis 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
Some herbs have a reputation for reducing alcohol cravings. Angelica (Angelica atropurpurea), also known as Dong Quai, may not only reduce cravings, it may help create a dislike for alcohol. The plant has antihistamine properties. Histamine is a brain neurotransmitter. According to Joan Mathews Larson, Ph.D., both low and high histamine levels are tied to alcoholism. Binge drinkers who are irritable, tire easily, and quickly become frustrated may have low histamine levels, while more compulsive and driven types who need little sleep may have high histamine levels. Angelica may work better for the second group
Do not take Dong Quai during pregnancy, and it would be wise to avoid it when taking any other product or drug which affects the female hormone system - such as HRT or the contraceptive pill. Dong Quai can stimulate menstrual flow, therefore it is considered best to avoid its use with heavy menstrual flow or flooding.