Dong Quai, also known as Chinese Angelica, is an herb that belongs to the celery family and is typically found in China, Japan and Korea. The plant is usually found near mountains, meadows and in coastal areas. The dong quai root however is the part that has medicinal value and has been used by Chinese herbalists throughout the ages for various purposes.
The most prominent use of dong quai has been for helping women in menstruation problems. However, there are many uses of dong quai other than this. The connection of dong quai with women is so strong that in traditional Chinese medicine, it is referred to as female ginseng because of its rejuvenating properties.
Dong Quai root has plenty of benefits and most of them are for women. An important point to note – Dong Quai may help women but it doesn’t mean that it can be considered as a replacement for estrogen. It alleviates all these symptoms because it can control the spasms in internal organs, which is often the root of these problems in the first place.
- Menstruation problems – Dong Quai root is often used with different herbs to help treat menstruation related problems. This could refer to irregular or abnormal bleeding, uterine bleeding, suppressed menstrual flow and dysmenorrhea. The latter is a common problem with women, in which they suffer from painful periods. The pain being largely concentrated to stomach cramps and lower back pain.
- Menopause treatment – Women undergoing menopause are often suffer from hot flashes that can be uncomfortable, embarrassing and very disruptive. They also experience vaginal dryness, which can be uncomfortable for various reasons. Dong Quai root can help alleviate these symptoms considerably.
- Endometriosis – For some women, the endometrium grows outside the uterus and as a result it can cause scarring, pain and heavy bleeding. Dong Quai helps in improving the health of the uterus and the ovaries and is typically used to treat endometriosis.
- Central Nervous System activity – Dong Quai has been associated with increased activity of the central nervous system, which increases mental energy and strength and helps cope with headaches that occur as a menstruation related problem.
- Cardiovascular disorders – Traditional Chinese herbalists prescribe dong quai root for both men and women to treat cardiovascular disorders such as high blood pressure or problems related to circulation.
- Blood purifier- Dong quai is considered as a blood purifier as it can remove the toxins from the blood stream and stimulate the circulation of blood. This aspect of the dong quai root is helpful for both men and women. Dong quai is known to contain vitamin B 12, folic acid, nicotinic acid and biotin and is used in traditional Chinese blood building formulas.
- Male fertility – Although known as the female ginseng, dong quai can also boost male fertility because of ferulic acid, which is found in it. This antioxidant can improve the quality of the sperm.
- Anemia treatment – Anemia or low hemoglobin count has become a common feature today, especially for women. The Dong Quai root is often prescribed to treat anemia because it is rich in iron and with regular use it can even prevent anemia.
- Blood sugar – Research is being conducted to verify this aspect, but so far, it has been seen that the dong quai root can be used to regulate blood sugar levels and thereby help diabetics.
- Mild sedative – It’s interesting to note that the dong quai root can be used as a mild sedative and this, in turn, helps people to calm down and handle stress better.
- Skin conditions – Dong quai is known to improve blood circulation and one of the advantages of this is that it can aid in healing common skin conditions such as eczema, hives, vitiligo, etc.
- Other uses – Some have been known to use it to stimulate the uterus during labor, to banish insomnia, for migraines and even to relieve constipation.
Dong quai root is not without its side effects. As it is often stated, pregnant or lactating women should not consume the dong quai root. It’s also advisable for women who have excessive menstrual bleeding to avoid the dong quai root because it can exacerbate the symptoms greatly.
Those who have diarrhea and infections such as cold or flu should also stay away from it. Dong Quai can cause photosensitivity, especially in fair-skinned people, so it’s best to stay away from sunlight and avoid ultraviolet radiation.
Dong Quai is a root that you can grind into powder and consume as a capsule or tablet. It can also be taken as a liquid extract or in its natural root form. In traditional Chinese medicine, dong quai is either boiled or soaked in wine and then the root is removed, while the liquid that has been enriched by the dong quai can be consumed.