Dong quai: botanical image of the dong quai plant

Dong Qaui

Angelica sinensis

Family: Apiaceae/Umbelliferae

Bio-Live: Dong quai is a key herb in Bio-Live Women.

Description: A perennial hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs), growing to 1m (3ft 4in) in height. The flowers bloom in early autumn and produce winged seeds in September-October. Purplish in colour, the stems have 12-36 five-petal, white flowers forming umbels. The root is yellowish/brown and fragrant.

Habit and cultivation: Native to the high altitudes in the cold, damp mountainous regions of China, Korea and Japan, this hardy plant prefers moist soil and and semi-shade. Taking three years to cultivate, the root is then harvested and formulated into a variety of dosage forms.

Actions (known for): Anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-arrhythmic, anti-platelet, anti-spasmodic (uterine), Circulatory stimulant, uterine tonic and vasodilator.

History: Known as the female ginseng, it has been used for thousands of years and is one of the more popular female medicines in China. Also known as the ‘Root of the Holy Ghost’, since an angel visited a monk in a dream imparting to him that this herb would cure the plague.The Icelandic people used this herb as a food source when nothing was available to eat. The Danes were the first to produce a tasty sweet from the roots and stems. Given to the poets in Lapland for inspiration; the French use it to make the liquor Chartreuse.

Parts used: Root.

Constituents (bio available chemicals): Essential oil: ligustilide and n-butylidene phthalide. Phytosterols, ferulic acid, fixed oil. Coumarins: angelol and angelicone.

Nutritional constituents: High in Vitamin E, also Vitamin A, B12 and C. Minerals: iron, cobalt, magnesium, potassium and niacin.

Indications: Allergies/sensitivities, digestive weakness, dysmenorrhoea, endometriosis, infertility, injuries, liver disease, menopause (symptoms) and premenstrual syndrome.

Dosage: Liquid extract (1:2): 30-60ml per week. Raw root: 4.5-15g per day boiled or soaked in wine. Capsules: 500-600mg daily.

Cautions for therapeutic doses: Conra-indicated during first trimester of pregnancy. Heavy periods. Acute viral infections such as colds or influenza. Associated with photosensitivity. Diarrhoea or abdominal distention.

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