The Magic of Dong Quai
Angelica sinensis, commonly known as dong quai, is a herb belonging to the family Apiaceae, indigenous to China. Angelica sinensis grows in cool high altitude mountains in China, Japan, and Korea. The yellowish brown root of the plant is harvested in the fall and is a well-known Chinese medicine which has been used for thousands of years.
Dong Quai is used for relieving menstrual cramps, PMS, and menopausal indicators. Also known as a "blood purifier"; to cope with hypertension, infertility, joint pain, ulcers, anemia, and constipation; also has proven positive in the preclusion and management of allergic outbreaks.
Known as the Female Ginseng
Traditionally used to nourish and tonify the blood, help women with symptoms of PMS during menstruation, promote defecation in those suffering constipation and relieve pain; widely used as a panacea for gynecological problems and is also asserted as an invigorating tonic for both women and men. The pharmacological effects of “Dong Quai” are likely related to the phytoestrogen that it contains (phytoestrogens or dietary estrogens are naturally occurring compounds found in plants).
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a condition that can affect a woman's emotions, physical health, and behavior during certain periods of the menstrual cycle, generally just before the cycle begins. PMS is a very common condition. Its symptoms affect more than 90 percent of menstruating women.
The medicinal constituents in dong quai, namely ferulic acid and Z-ligustilide, exhibit the capacity to prevent platelet aggregation, which helps lessen blood viscosity due to these anticoagulative effects. It also shows anti-inflammatory actions by regulating cytokine release and immune cell recruitment, which is known to cause inflammation. This suggests that ingestion of dong quai can improve blood flow and combat coagulation seen in pathological conditions such as atherosclerosis. It is noted that care should be taken for people with pre-existing heart conditions and those prescribed blood thinners or conversely, procoagulants.
There is evidence that show administration of this plants’ extract containing Z-ligustilide, can inhibit smooth muscle contractility of the uterus, intestine, and the endothelial tissues of blood vessels. Therefore, it can relieve pain associated with menstrual cramps associated with the normal contractility of the uterus during menstrual shedding, while also improving blood flow due to this smooth muscle mediated dilation. Additionally, the action on the musculature of the intestines may provide users a mild laxation effect.
Effects in Cancer
In addition to dong quai’s antioxidative effects which can suppress tumorigenesis, it also seems to promote programmed cell death or apoptosis, in cancer cell lines of brain tumors like glioblastoma, as well as colon and leukemia.
In addition to the anti-inflammatory and anti-coagulative effects of dong quai, it also looks to increase the vasodilatory chemical released naturally but the vascular endothelium namely, nitric oxide. This results in enhanced blood flow and lowered blood pressure, which may have clinical benefit for people with hypertension. This effect of nitric oxide production and enhanced blood flow also shows to help men suffering from erectile dysfunction not attributed to a stress/psychosomatic link. It is worthy of note here for full disclosure, to inform your doctor about sudden erectile issues, as it may be a symptom of cardiovascular problems or atherosclerosis and subsequent reduction in blood flow.
Immunity boosting, nourishing herbs & roots accompanied by an earthy sweet flavour that wraps you in warmth and relaxation, an amazing feeling comes over you upon sip, providing hormonal support for both men and women, with sensual benefits.
Often referred to as the “empress of herbs,” Dong Quai Root can alleviate menstrual cramps, treat PMS, and regulate the menstrual cycle. In Men, this amazing herb boosts male fertility; Ferulic acid, an antioxidant found in Dong Quai, has been shown to improve sperm quality and helps with premature ejaculation.
Dong Quai also shows promise in the prevention and treatment of thrombosis or blood clot pathology, blood pressure, cancer and inflammation.
As always, a conversation with your doctor may be warranted if intrigued by the potential of this ancient medicinal plant.
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National Toxicology Program, N. (2008). Chemical Information Review Document for Dong quai [CAS Nos. 308068-61-3 (root) and 299184-76-2 (extract)]. Retrieved 2021, from https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/noms/support_docs/dong_quai090308.pdf