Health Benefits and Uses of Dong Quai (Female Ginseng)

Health & Wellness

Dong Quai - Female Ginseng (Angelica sinensis) | Health Benefits of Dong Quai - Female Ginseng / 

Dong Quai (Female Ginseng also referred as the “Empress of Herbs”) scientifically known as Angelica sinensis is a  is a fragrant, perennial, well-known Chinese herb from Umbelliferae (Apiaceae) family, a botanical group which also includes Carrots, Parsley, Dill and Celery. It typically grows at high altitudes in cold, damp regions of Asia and can reach heights of up to 7 feet. The plant grows without any shade or within semi-shaded areas in moist, sandy, loamy, or clay soils. The plant is native to China, as one of the most famous herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) used in the treatment of female ailments for thousands of years. While there are approximately 50 species in the Angelica genus, Angelica sinensis, Chinese Angelica, is the only true version of Dong Quai. It is, however, sometimes mistaken for closely related species native to other continents. Angelica atropurpurea, or American Angelica, is similar in structure but less aromatic; and Angelica archangelica, or European Angelica, is beneficial for overall health and provides other medicinal benefits, but it is significantly less potent. Its reputation is perhaps second only to Ginseng (Panax ginseng) and it is particularly noted for its blood tonic effects on women. Dong Quai should not be mistaken with American Ginseng. They have different uses and effects despite their similar tastes. This is because the American ginseng cools you down, which is the exact opposite of what the Asian Ginseng does. They are referred to as "Yin and Yang" in some Chinese circles.

The plant can be found in high altitude regions throughout the Far East. The name "Dong Quai" means “return to health” or “return to order", in the Chinese language and is an indication of the rejuvenating ability of the herb. Also known as “Female Ginseng”, there is an interesting legend as to how it got its name: A newly married young man once decided to move away from his home. The men in the village had questioned his masculinity. To show them that he was manly enough, the young man wanted to go into the mountain wilderness and live there alone for some time. He instructed his wife to remarry should he not return after three years since he could very well be dead by then. Three years passed, but the young man never returned home. Heartbroken and lonely, the wife decided to remarry according to her husband’s instruction. But soon after her second marriage, the young man returned. Filled with regret and remorse, she fell ill. Fortunately, the young man had an unknown plant with him that he had collected from the mountains. A medicine was made with it and his wife was restored to health. From that day on, the herb is believed to have been called Dong Quai. Interestingly enough, the name of this herb even hints at its beneficial effect on sexual health. In Chinese, Dong Quai supposedly means “the husband returns back to his wife".

The active ingredients like ferulic acid, coumarin, various polysaccharides, and more than 70 other powerful chemical compounds result in significant effects on our system, and it’s becoming harder to deny. The root has a sweet pungent aroma that is very distinctive and it is often used in cooking. Dong Quai has none of the spicinesses that Ginger has. Instead, it is similar in taste to Celery or Curry. The taste is sweet and pleasant, and it has an intense and distinguishing aroma. It brings a certain warmth to you when you take it, which is why many Chinese people prefer to take it in winter. The yellow root of the Dong Quai plant is where the most valuable chemical components are found. This root is then dried and used to make a number of powders, tinctures, tonics, and other herbal supplements, notably for female health issues, but more recently for an impressive array of benefits.  It is also used in dried and raw form while its leaves are used in beverages or boiled with tea. It has a wide range of varieties within the family and has often been a target of duplicity. It is also used in the preparation of liquor. Dong Quai is majorly used for its medicinal benefits, but when mixed with other herbs, it can add a different twist to your meals. The flavor of this root is quite mild, but you definitely won’t miss it in your meals. You can also use it in non-Asian meals to give them a nice twist. Dong Quai has been used in China to treat various health issues affecting women, including menopausal symptoms, irregular menstruation, and lack of fertility. Despite its long usage, its effects have baffled many scientists due to how random they seem to be.

According to The Epoch Times:“Its effects suggest that it influences estrogen, but scientists have been unable to prove significant estrogenic effects. It has been shown to stimulate the uterus, but it has also been shown to relax it, depending on how it’s prepared. In animal studies, Dong Quai’s success at fixing menstrual problems is a mixed bag: Some trials show an effect, while in others it performs no better than a placebo”.

Dong Quai has been called “Female Ginseng” because it is commonly used for health conditions in women. Dong Quai is a supplement that has proposed benefits for blood health and may have an effect on slowing cancer growth. While it’s been used in Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years, there aren’t many scientific studies to show that Dong Quai can significantly improve your blood health. Talk to your doctor before taking Dong Quai, especially if you’re taking other medications. Discontinue Dong Quai and visit a doctor if you experience any type of easy bleeding, such as bleeding gums or blood in your urine or stool. Avoid using Dong Quai if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive. The plant has been used for menstrual cramps, anemia associated with menstruation, pregnancy, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), pelvic pain, recovery from childbirth or illness, and fatigue or low energy, treating women’s problems including lack of sexual desire. While some studies suggest estrogen-like effects in dong quai extracts, whereas others report minimal interaction between Chinese angelica root's biocompounds and the endocrine system. Dong Quai is used in both men and women for heart conditions, high blood pressure, inflammation, headache, infections, and nerve pain. Dong Quai is considered a blood tonic and is used to support health during conditions of blood deficiency.

Dong Quai contains compounds that, in laboratory tests, have demonstrated activities that may translate into reduction of pain, dilation of blood vessels and stimulation as well as relaxation of uterine muscles. Animal studies suggest that dong quai may treat abnormal heart rhythm, prevent accumulation of platelets in blood vessels (contributing to plaque formation or atherosclerosis), protect the liver, promote urination, act as a mild laxative, promote sleep, fight infection and soothe ulcers. The data consists primarily of laboratory and animal studies with a few preliminary studies in people. More studies are needed to determine the herb's safety and effectiveness in humans.

Other studies suggest that Dong Quai offers some value when used in conjunction with other Chinese herbs, particularly Black Cohosh, to treat PMS. When used in combination with Ginseng (Asian Ginseng) and astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus), Dong Quai decreased symptoms of chest pain and improved exercise tolerance in a small group of people with heart disease. A series of reports published in China indicate that the use of dong quai just following a stroke demonstrated a decrease in the amount of brain damage. It has also been indicated for constipation, migraines, pain and liver disorders though studies are still lacking.

The World Health Organization (WHO) monograph is not a pharmacopoeial monograph, yet it is a comprehensive reference useful for physicians, researchers, regulatory authorities and the general public. It observes that in folk medicine the herb has been used for the “Treatment of dehydration, lumbago, abnormal menstruation, menopausal symptoms (including hot flushes), hypertonia and nervous disorders”. Dong Quai has been used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years for these and many other conditions. The Merck Manual, the oldest medicine textbook in English, has been published for over 100 years. In 1899 it introduced Dong Quai to the Western World under the name Eumenol and recommended the alcoholic fluid extract for regulating menstrual processes. The Compendium of Pharmacological Actions of Medicinal Plants and Their Constituents by Eric Yarnell, ND (2012) classifies Dong Quai as an immunomodulator, phyto cytokine, adaptogen and notes that it contains polysaccharides and coumarins.

Ligustilide is a major compound in Dong Quai, and it is thought to be mainly responsible for the antioxidant and antithrombotic activities of the Chinese angelica root. Ligustilide has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke and help regulate high blood presure, as well as supporting nervous system health. Dong Quai contains essential vitamins and minerals to help support optimal health, including vitamin E, iron, cobalt, niacin, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and B12. The plant also contains numerous phytochemicals, including coumarins, phytosterols, polysaccharides, and flavonoids. Dang Quai is also comprised of essential oils and water-soluble compounds, such as lipid compounds, phenolic compounds, carbohydrates, organic acids, and other constituents. The most active ingredients are polysaccharides, Z-Ligustilide, and ferulic acid. Together, these compounds may all help contribute to the potential health benefits of the plant.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the beneficial effects of Dong Quai are extracted from the raw root, by boiling it in water or soaking it in wine. Dong Quai tablets, teas, tinctures, and capsules generally offer a standard dosage, important for effective treatment. In TCM, it is combined with rehmannia rhizome and donkey-hide gelatin to support healthy blood flow. To support healthy-looking skin, Dong Quai can be combined with rehmannia root and white peony root. To support regular bowel movement, Dong Quai can be added to hemp seed, fleeceflower root, cistanche. When used with astragalus root and pilose asiabell root, Dong Quai may help replenish qi (vital energy) and temporarily relieve symptoms related to seasonal health challenges. For temporary headache relief, Dong Quai is used with Sichuan lovage rhizome and white peony root. To support a restful sleep, TCM practitioners use Dong Quai with sour jujube seed and longan aril. TCM practitioners have also long prescribed Dong Quai for women's reproductive health. Chinese herbalists prepare Dong Quai in combination with other herbs, including astragalus as a fatigue tonic, mugwort, bai shao (white peony), chai hu (bupleurum root), and rou gui (Cinnamon bark) in medicinal formulas for women. When combined with herbs like rehmannia rhizome, peony root, and Sichuan lovage rhizome, Dong Quai helps support regular menstruation and temporarily relieves menstrual pain and postpartum abdominal pain. It can also be paired with peony root bark and red peony root to clear heat in the blood, such as during menopausal hot flashes. Another herb commonly combined with Dong Quai is black cohosh. This herb is used to reduce symptoms associated with menstruation and menopause.

As one of the fundamental components of the Traditional Chinese Medicine, Dong Quai benefits have been valued throughout Asia, where the root is also called Radix angelicae sinensis and it has been used as an everyday tonic and herbal medicine for centuries. A Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor can recommend the formulation best for you.

  • Rinse each ingredient in a bowl of cool water.
  • Bring to a boil in a clay pot.
  • Lower the heat and let the tea slowly simmer for two hours. (Alternatively, you can do as my family does and buy a special Chinese herbal medicine cooker and let it do all the work for you).

Women's Health:

For thousands of years practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have used Dong Quai to treat problems related to disorders of the female reproductive system. Dong Quai has a well-earned reputation as a female tonic. Historically, practitioners of Chinese medicine found that dong quai balances the female hormone system, especially during the declining hormone levels of menopause. Dong Quai has the reputation of acting as a catalyst in the production of progesterone, a hormone essential in the production of vaginal tissues and secretions. Dong Quai is particularly useful in helping to end hot flashes and menstrual cramps. It is also used as a liver tonic and in treating sciatica and shingles. It is one of the most widely consumed herbs in China, used as frequently as ginseng and licorice. Dong Quai has been used by the Chinese for more than two thousand years, as a strengthener of the heart, lung, spleen, liver and kidney meridians and as a tonic for the blood. It is traditionally characterized as a warm atmospheric energy that promotes blood circulation. Female Ginseng is also a blood tonic in Traditional Chinese Medicine that has been utilized to improve red blood cell counts that help after menstruation. It also increases blood flow to the reproductive system, reducing congestion and excess pain. It is traditionally used for situations of stagnation such as PCOS, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and uterine fibroids. To reduce or improve these conditions, Dong Quai improve symptoms such as iron deficiency by increasing the production of hemoglobin. It will increase both blood volume and blood flow while also replenishing the body’s red blood cells. It works to strengthen the uterus by regulating hormones such as estrogen. Its calming effects help to relax the uterus.

The root has earned a reputation as the "ultimate herb" for women. It is widely used among Chinese women as a fortifying daily tonic, much as Chinese men rely on ginseng. Women in other parts of the world have also discovered this 5,000 year old tradition that naturally provides balancing and normalizing support for women's unique rhythms, cycles and body systems. It is not recommended during pregnancy or menstruation or for people taking blood thinning agents. Reports indicate that dong quai may lower blood pressure in some individuals.

Studies at The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine by Dr. Patricia Eagon show that Dong Quai binds to estrogen receptors. However, analysis of Dong Quai identifies that it contains no estrogen constituents. Instead, the beneficial effects of this herb appear to come from Dong Quai’s soothing antispasmodic action.

Dong Quai is a hard-working team player, found in combination with other herbs, depending on the health disorder to be treated. When combined with Black Cohosh and Chasteberry, Dong Quai is an effective treatment for female health disorders. It is also found in formulas with Cascara Sagrada, Capsicum, and Ginger to calm stomach contractions, aid digestion, and alleviate flatulence, and in other formulas to treat circulatory and liver conditions. The list goes on, as Dong Quai is effective for conditions ranging from constipation to rheumatoid arthritis.

Menstrual Cramps:

Dong Quai is called female ginseng because of its effects on the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and menopause. Cramping, mood swings, and general discomfort of menstruation is relieved by the antispasmodic properties of Dong Quai, while also helping to reload the blood after your menstruation period so that you don’t feel weak or tired for days afterwards. For women who have chosen to get off birth control pills, Dong Quai can actually help to naturally regulate and ease your cycle. Women who experience abdominal cramps due to their period may find Dong Quai soothing. ligustilide, a component of Dong Quai, is shown to promote nonspecific antispasmodic activity, especially for uterine muscles. Dong quai may also help regulate your menstrual cycle, although there’s little evidence for this.

A 2004 study showed that 39% of the women who took a concentrated dose of Dong Quai twice daily reported an improvement in their abdominal pain (such that they didn’t need painkillers) and a normalizing of their menstrual cycle. The majority, 54% thought that the pain was less severe but still needed painkillers to do day-to-day tasks.

But the study wasn’t balanced, and the results were too similar to the control group to conclude that Dong Quai directly affects menstrual pain. It’s possible that dong quai simply has a placebo effect.

Menstrual Disorders:

Thousands of years of ancient wisdom tells us that Dong Quai is a safe and effective option for period pain. However, conditions like dysmenorrhea are often best treated through multiple modes of action. Relying on just one method of treatment, such as Dong Quai, may not be enough to eliminate period pain in some people. While there are several herbs that regulate uterine tone, Dong Quai is one the most potent. The unique mix of volatile oils found in Dong Quai’s roots block the action of epinephrine and histamine, compounds that regulate muscle contraction, causing the uterus to relax. Pain researchers have concluded Dong Quai's pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic activities can make it a powerful period cramp soother.

You know that feeling of fatigue and drowsiness after your period? Dong Quai can help to alleviate that, too. While it doesn’t have any caffeine properties, Dong Quai is said to replenish the blood to help those feel rejuvenated after their periods. However, due to the blood-thinning properties of dong quai, it is not recommended to consume this herb when you are on your period. Dong quai has beneficial effects on the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and menopause. This includes alleviating the pain of cramping, nausea, mood swings, back pain, and the general discomfort of menstruation. The cramping, mood swings, and general discomfort of menstruation are alleviated by the antispasmodic properties of Dong Quai. Owing to the presence of soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, Female Ginseng is highly recommended for women suffering from extreme menstrual pain, cramps and discomfort. It also helps curb mood swings and other effects arising from menopausal and PMS conditions.

Those women who have an abnormal or absent menstrual cycle, known as amenorrhea or missing period, may also benefit from the use of Dong Quai. Its use as a tonic improves the blood flow to the pelvis relieving pelvic congestion syndrome. As a side effect, it can even relieve pelvic pain in those who experience it during the menstrual cycle.

Researchers also think that ferulic acid, the major organic acid in Dong Quai, may also lend some unique health benefits as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Ferulic acid is also a potent anticoagulant that improves blood flow and prevents blood clots, including the painful kind during your period. In traditional Chinese medicine, this process prevents a condition called “stagnant blood” However, it is important to note that it is not good, rather it is harmful to take Dong Quai while on periods.

Dysmenorrhea:

Dysmenorrhea is the clinical term for period pain. It’s a common, and often debilitating, gynecological condition that affects between 45% and 95% of menstruating women. Despite how prevalent, dysmenorrhea is often poorly treated, and even disregarded, by health professionals and pain researchers. While many women with periods accept pain as a normal part of their cycle, periods don't have to be painful. Dysmenorrhea is treatable, and you have options for managing period pain. This article describes how herbs like dong quai offer a natural solution for reducing period cramps.

Currently, the most common pharmacological treatment for dysmenorrhea is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil, aspirin, and ibuprofen. Globally, NSAIDs are among the most frequently prescribed group of drugs. For the most part, NSAIDs do a good job at treating dysmenorrhea. It’s estimated they relieve pain in about 80% of women with periods. While effective, NSAIDs may come with a host of well-documented side effects. These include stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, gas, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness, though more serious side effects are possible. Nearly 1 in 5 women with periods feel no relief from NSAIDs. For these people, oral contraceptives (i.e. birth control pills) are often used as a second-line therapy. While the pill can also be effective at reducing period pain, it also has side effects and may cause long-term health problems. While NSAIDs have only been around for the last 100 years or so, traditional medicines have been supporting health for centuries.

The tradition is still alive; approximately 60% of the world’s population is dependent almost entirely on plants as medication for all health problems, including menstrual disorders. Because plant compounds are known to be effective, many modern pharmaceutical drugs have an ancient herbal basis. When taken responsibly, herbs offer a natural alternative to pharmaceuticals with a lower risk of side effects. To appreciate why Dong Quai is helpful for dysmenorrhea, it’s helpful to understand what’s going on in the uterus during menstruation. Throughout the month, the lining of the uterus grows a thick mucous membrane to prepare for the possibility that an egg might be fertilized and nestle in. Blood vessels grow throughout the mucous membrane to nourish a potential embryo with blood and nutrients. At the end of the cycle, if a fertilized egg hasn’t settled in, the uterus ditches its mucous membrane. The uterus’s powerful muscles rhythmically contract and relax, which detaches the membrane from the uterine wall. Some of the blood vessels in the membrane open up, which leaks blood into the uterus and produces a period.

In Traditional Herbal Medicine, the tone of the uterine muscles matters. The uterus is a mostly-muscular organ capable of serious contractions. For the easiest menstrual flow, it’s important that the uterus be adaptable, it must relax and contract at the right moments to shed its mucous membrane in the least painful way possible. If the uterus is hypotonic (too limp and languid), a menstruating person may experience heavy bleeding. If the uterus is hypertonic (too stiff and rigid), it may be difficult to begin menstruating on time. In either case, improving the uterine tone can help regulate menstruation.

Research shows that people with dysmenorrhea have higher levels of overall uterine activity compared to those without period pain. Resting uterine tone, intrauterine pressure, and frequency of uterine contractions are all increased in people with dysmenorrhea. Research also shows that these strong uterine contractions are associated with lack of blood flow to the uterus. Because blood delivers oxygen, cutting off blood flow starves the uterus of the oxygen it needs to function properly, resulting in painful cramps.

Dong quai seems to help manage dysmenorrhea by regulating uterine contractions. It displays the unique ability to first stimulate the uterus, then relax it. Some uterine contractions are necessary to effectively shed the mucous membrane, and stimulating uterine tissue may help strengthens it over time. But relaxation is also important for maintaining a healthy blood flow to the uterus. Because Dong Quai regulates the uterus’s muscular rhythms, it may improve the timing of the menstrual cycle. This explains why Dong Quai has been used for thousands of years to treat periods that come too frequently, as well as those that don’t come frequently enough.

Premenstrual Symptoms (PMS):

Dong Quai also has benefits for PMS symptoms and painful periods. Just like how Dong Quai is helpful for treating iron deficiency anemia, it is also great to help support women both before and after their monthly menstrual cycle. It can help replenish lost blood after menstruation, while also easing cramps and supporting a normal and regular cycle. The hormone-balancing nature of dong quai can help to regulate periods and lessen mood swings. It also has antispasmodic properties which can help to relieve painful cramping. Dong Quai is considered a blood tonic in traditional Chinese Medicine and can help to replenish the blood more quickly after menstruation.

Premenstrual syndrome symptoms such as cramps respond well to the calming effect of this herb. Dong quai is a mainstay treatment for menstruation and menopause disorders in traditional Chinese medicine. Herbal alternatives that include dong quai in their formulas may relieve night sweats, mood swings, hot flashes, bloating, and heavy bleeding. Dong Quai also offers an alternative to risky Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) treatments, which have been under scrutiny in recent years.

In combination with other herbs, Dong Quai ameliorates premenstrual symptoms and menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. It has been used in the past to address missed periods, premenstrual issues and fatigue. It is considered by some to have mild estrogenic properties, but this has not been established conclusively.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS):

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome can hinder a woman’s ability to successfully conceive. It also has many other negative side effects such as an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. It is often treated with ovulation-promoting drugs. Endometriosis is a disorder in women where the uterine tissue begins to develop outside of the uterus. It can lead to both pain and infertility.

According to practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine, endometriosis is a condition caused by congealed blood. Dong Quai helps to improve the microcirculation of both the ovaries and the uterus. It also has analgesic effects and works to increase blood flow which combats the congealed blood that may be causing symptoms.

Female Sexual Health:

Dong Quai is also a blood tonic in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and has been shown to improve red blood cell counts which is helpful after menstruation has ended as the blood is replenished more rapidly. It increases blood flow to the reproductive system, reducing congestion and pain; it is traditionally used for situations of stagnation such as PCOS, endometriosis, ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids. Dong Quai is usually prescribed in conjunction with other herbs in TCM to treat symptoms of the menopause.

A recent randomised, placebo controlled study examining the effects of Dong Quai combined with Chamomile, found a significant difference in the relief of hot flashes, insomnia and fatigue between the treatment and placebo groups. The researchers concluded that treatment of menopausal symptoms was effective and without any side effects.

Estrogen Balance:

This potent women's herb has the ability to regulate oestrogen levels, whether they're too high or too low, strengthening the uterus, improving uterine tone and regulating the menstrual cycle. Dong Quai can be rather fast-acting and effective as a part of a natural fertility program.

Dr. Aviva Romm in her book "Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health" shares that clinical studies are inconclusive and have not yet proven that Dong Quai has estrogenic effects in humans although it does, like many plants, contain phytoestrogens. As the “gynecological regulator” of herbs, Dong Quai may have the ability to lower high estrogen levels and raise low estrogen levels, meeting the needs of the body versus causing an estrogen imbalance.

Hormonal Balance:

One of the most traditional uses for Dong Quai is to enhance fertility and balance female hormones. For thousands of years, Dong Quai has mainly been turned to by the fairer sex, as it has a very unique ability to regulate estrogen levels within the body. Whether you’re too high or too low in the estrogen department, Dong Quai extracts and supplements can get your system back on track, effectively protecting feminine health by helping to regulate periods. If your estrogen levels are out of balance, Dong Quai may be able to help get them balanced whether you are dealing with levels that are too high or too low. This can be especially beneficial for women who experience hot flashes due to estrogen imbalance.

Though research is still ongoing, Dong Quai appears to have a unique ability to balance estrogen in the body. Rather than specifically increasing or decreasing estrogen levels, Dong Quai can help to balance both high and low levels of estrogen. This property makes dong quai a powerful herb to use when dealing with fertility issues and hormone imbalances. It can also improve libido for men and women. To bring hormones back in balance and enhance fertility, try taking Dong Quai in this herbal tea blend. Like Ginseng, Dong Quai is used as a tonic, especially by women experiencing health symptoms due to menopause. Although studies have not yet been able to identify its mechanisms in the treatment of hot flashes and other menopausal complaints, Dong Quai continues to be used by a large number of women, who nevertheless obtain a benefit.

Fertility:

Dong Quai used with other therapies has shown to improve fertility by increasing the ovulation rate in women. It works to promote the secretion of both progesterone and estrogen and even promotes follicular development. Since it is a powerful anti-inflammatory, it has been used in the treatment of salpingitis which is a condition that affects the fallopian tubes. Once this condition clears, the chances of conception improve. For those women who marry later in life and are unable to conceive, Dong Quai coupled with other conventional treatments has been shown to successfully result in pregnancy. The balance of estrogen levels and regulation of periods means that women who consume Dong Quai are more likely to find a boost in fertility. This is often a preferred version of fertility clinics and painful procedures due to the costs.

Menopause:

Menopause is a normal life-phase that typically happens for women in their late 40s or early 50s. However, it often comes with unpleasant symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, mood swing, hair loss, an increased risk of osteoporosis and more. Because these symptoms often come from low estrogen levels, Dong Quai can help to alleviate them due to its estrogenic effect. Menopause is a highly uncomfortable and unpredictable time during a woman’s life that cannot be avoided or treated. Dong Quai is one of the few herbal remedies to help alleviate any pain from extreme period cramping, exhaustion, hot flushes, and more. A preparation of Dong Quai and Chamomile seems to be especially effective at relieving hot flashes and trouble sleeping.

For symptom relief, many women turn to hormone replacement therapy, a type of treatment that provides the same synthetic hormones found in birth control pills. However, these medications can come with their own set of side effects and risks. Dong Quai has a long history as a natural alternative to help alleviate symptoms of menopause. Dong Quai is a good natural alternative to hormone replacement therapy and can be even more effective when combined with herbs like Black Cohosh. There is also some research showing that Dong Quai can help prevent or treat bone density loss, which often comes along with menopause.

According to one Italian study, Dong Quai could have an estrogenic effect and may be able to help regulate hormone levels and relieve your menopause symptoms without the use of synthetic chemicals.

However, a 2006 study published in The Journal American Family Physician also concludes that more research needs to be done on Dong Quai’s effectiveness in treating hot flashes. In one randomized controlled trial, which lasted for over a year, there was no significant difference in women who took a hot flash management product with dong quai as an ingredient. 

Another study published in 2004 found that a mixture of Dong Quai and German Chamomile was able to reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes by up to 96%. Reducing stress, getting more sleep and supplementing with other menopause natural remedies like Black Cohosh or Chasteberry can also provide relief from menopause symptoms.

Despite these benefits, Dong Quai is not without side effects and must be carefully used. Women who are pregnant should avoid consuming this herb as it can have a stimulating effect on the uterus, thus putting them at risk of miscarriage. If you take high doses of Dong Quai, it can lead to rashes, skin inflammation, and photosensitivity. Since there is no general consensus as to what an acceptable dose is, it is better to consult a doctor before you use Dong Quai.

Benefits After Giving Birth:

Postpartum use of Dong Quai is highly recommended in Traditional Chinese Medicine and a long-standing tradition in most Asian countries. Most women who recently gave birth will suffer from what TCM calls "Qi and blood deficiency", a mix of blood deficiency and Qi deficiency. This is due to the sheer amount of energy used during birth-giving and the massive blood loss suffered. Symptoms of Qi and blood deficiency include: fatigue, hair loss, watery and pale milk, soft breasts, pale face and lips, spontaneous flow of breastmilk, no desire to move or speak. As much as 70% of postpartum women will experience a more or less severe form of Qi and blood deficiency. It makes sense that Dong Quai would be used to treat Qi and blood deficiency since it is TCM's premier blood-supplying herb. In fact for centuries tradition in many Asian countries calls for feeding postpartum mothers with dishes made with Dong Quai a postpartum classic.

Breastfeeding:

Is Dong Quai safe while breastfeeding? Not only is Dong Quai safe while breastfeeding, Dong Quai can be of tremendous help to many nursing mothers. China is probably the country who knows most about Dong Quai since they have eaten it and used it as a herbal ingredient for millennia. The Chinese Ministry of Health has classified Dong Quai as safe as food, the safest possible classification. It is however advised, like with many other roots with medicinal properties, not to consume too much of it on a daily basis; no more than 15g a day being the general advice. As such it is ideal to use it as a small ingredient in soups, dishes or in herbal blends.

Dong Quai helps treat Qi and blood deficiency, a pattern that affects most postpartum women. Women suffering from Qi and blood deficiency will notably have many breastfeeding-related symptoms such as not enough breast milk or a breast milk of poor quality, watery and pale. A perfect formula to treat Qi and blood deficiency is Milk Boost Tea. Of course it contains Dong Quai, which is one of its main ingredients, among 12 other herbs. Milk Boost Tea isn't only designed to help boost milk supply, it does so through resolving the underlying Qi and blood deficiency.

Uterine Pain:

A thin uterine lining will decrease woman’s chances of conceiving. One of the benefits of Dong Quai for fertility is that it improves and increases blood flow to a woman’s pelvic area. It improves circulation which brings strength to the lining of the uterus. Known to relax and stimulate uterine, vascular, and intestinal smooth muscle, Dong Quai may be useful in relieving pelvic congestion by increasing circulation. This benefit may be useful in the case of painful menstruation.

Ovarian Cysts and Uterus Fibroids:

Two other symptoms of blood stagnation are ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids. These symptoms can not only cause infertility, but they can also be painful. Dong Quai is an effective treatment to reduce the pain associated with these conditions. It works to increase the blood flow to the entire reproductive system to rid the body of this congestion.

Men's Health:

Male Fertility:

Women are not the only ones who can achieve Dong Quai benefits for fertility. It can also increase a man’s sperm quality. It contains ferulic acid which improves sperm quality and has an antioxidant effect. It also improves sperm viability to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. As well as the aphrodisiac and estrogen-balancing properties, Dong Quai is also said to boost fertility levels in men. Dong Quai contains an antioxidant called ferulic acid, which is said to improve sperm quality.

The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database shares that external application of an herbal cream containing Dong Quai has been used by men with premature ejaculation and proven “possibly effective”.

Benefits for Men’s Premature Ejaculation:

Traditionally Dong Quai has also been used by men suffering from premature ejaculation, which both improves the chances of fertility and the length of intercourse.

Sexual Health:

Natural Aphrodisiac:

Dong Quai certainly helps men and women and are used as an aphrodisiac. Studies have shown that Dong Quai in various forms can increase male and female libido levels, as well as their fertility likelihood. Instead of going to expensive fertility centers and paying thousands of dollars or spending years trying to conceive, adding some powerful Dong Quai to your diet can help boost your chances of conception, and increase your interest in the act itself. This is why Dong Quai supposedly means “the husband returns back to his wife” in Chinese.

Sexual Performance:

Female Ginseng has been commonly used as an aphrodisiac. It has been since ancient time used to improve libido in men and counter the problem of erectile dysfunction. Dong Quai comes in handy as the most effective herb to tackle this situation as it has almost no side effects and is purely natural.

Boosts Fertility:

This Chinese herb is commonly used for both men and women alike can struggle with infertility. It can be a truly heartbreaking and trying time for many couples, and it can add a substantial amount of stress to the relationship. There are a lot of options for those who experience difficulty when trying to conceive. Unfortunately, some of those options are costly, involve drugs and harmful chemicals, or they may even involve months’ worth of doctor visits and injections. Dong Quai is rich in ferulic acid, which is an antioxidant that may help support sperm quality. This herb may also help support female fertility by boosting ovulation. It works to promote the secretion of both progesterone and estrogen and even promotes follicular development. Dong Quai when combined with other treatments treatments has been shown to successfully result in pregnancy.

Many practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine use Dong Quai for fertility. Dong Quai benefits for fertility are a safer answer to the traditional fertility treatments used in western medicine. Native to China, Japan, and Korea, Dong Quai is an herb that thrives in high altitude. Dong Quai has been used in TCM for centuries. In addition to improving fertility, it is also commonly used to regulate the menstrual cycle and as a treatment for endometriosis. It is considered TCM’s most powerful fertility tonic thanks to its ability to both stimulate and relax the tissue of the uterus.

Psychological Benefits:

Stress:

Female Ginseng boosts the energy levels of the body and enhances the metabolic function. This helps reduce the anxiety and stress levels in the body. Consumption of Dong Quai interferes with the production of hormones in the body and thus, ensures that the production of stress hormone is kept at its minimum. Dong Quai is nourishing to the central nervous system, in turn helping to reduce stress and mood swings, reduce depression and promote relaxation. This may be due to its hormone-balancing, invigorating and arousing properties.

A study out of the Department of Neurology’s Zhongnan Hospital at Wuhan University were able to show that treatments with Dong Quai can reduce stress by providing an anti-depressant effect in rats.

Anxiety and Depression:

Dong Quai has the ability to improve mood and lessen anxiety, depression, and stress. For women undergoing the hormonal rollercoaster of menopause or menstruation, as well as men suffering from anxiety, stress, and depression, it can help to regulate hormones to reduce mood swings and ease our minds. Mood swings from the menstrual cycle can lead to symptoms of depression, or worsening symptoms of depression if the individual already has the mental illness. Dong Quai is said to treat and fight the symptoms of depression in both men and women, as the components of the herb help to level serotonin and dopamine hormones. Some studies have found that Dong Quai could have an anti-depressant effect and may have a positive impact when it comes to your mood.

A 2016 animal study induced depression in rats by exposing them to mild stress. In response, the rats exhibited a decreased appetite and increased physical inactivity. Interestingly enough, treating them with Dong Quai extract altered the activity of a protein in the brain linked to depression and normalized these depressive behaviors.

Another animal study had similar findings, demonstrating that an herbal preparation containing Dong Quai had clear anti-depressant properties. When used alone or in combination with traditional treatments and natural remedies, Dong Quai may be helpful for decreasing symptoms of depression.

Support Balance:

Similar to how Dong Quai may help support a happier mood, this herb may also have a balancing effect on the body, helping you feel more centered. The world goes at such a fast pace, supplementing with a herb to help your body feel a bit more grounded can be beneficial in reducing feelings of anxiety.

Mood Swings:

Due to its invigorating and arousing properties, Dong Quai has been related with reducing depression and lessening the effects on our system. There is a relationship between dopamine and serotonin releases in our body from certain active components of dong quai, which can explain this wonderfully uplifting quality of this supplement. It is said that Dong Quai is great for reducing mood swings, which is why it is so popular for alleviating PMS mental health. The serotonin and dopamine releases in our brain have a direct relationship with some of the components of Dong Quai. This herb has the ability to improve mood and lessen anxiety and stress. For women undergoing the hormonal roller coaster of menopause or menstruation, as well as men suffering from anxiety and stress, Dong Quai can help to control hormones to reduce mood swings and ease our minds.

Enhances Mood:

If you’re in need of a mood boost, Dong Quai may be the herb for you. This Chinese herb has been known to help combat stress, ease tension, and promote a sense of relaxation.

Research at The University of Illinois concluded that Dong Quai has potential serotonin-like activity, which could explain its mood-boosting effects.

Skin Care:

Antioxidant compounds found in Female Ginseng plays an important role in keeping the skin young and healthy in appearance. Dong Quai more specifically works as an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial substance for skin conditions like vitiligo, rosacea, alopecia, psoriasis, hives, eczema, and other skin afflictions, lessening the discomfort and appearance of these skin illnesses quickly. Since this powerful herb helps support circulation, it has been known to help promote healing from various skin-related conditions.

Improves Skin Quality:

Female Ginseng is responsible for stimulating blood flow in the body especially to the skin cells. This keeps the body hydrated and makes the skin appear fresh and supple. Skin being the largest organ of the body requires a more detailed focus which Dong Quai efficiently renders. It detoxifies the skin and enhances the immune response of the body to the skin.

It’s no secret that skincare is one of the leading industries in Asia, and the natural skin-improving qualities of dong quai is why the herb is found so often in skincare products. Dong Quai is also high in antioxidants, which helps to keep the skin looking young and healthy for longer. The improvement of blood circulation also helps to create a brightened complexion due to the increased oxygen in the cells.

Supports Cardiovascular Health - Heart Health:

The way Dong Quai can contribute to heart health is twofold. Firstly it contains active compounds that increase the cardiac rest period between heartbeats and relax blood pressure inside the arteries which in turn helps to increase blood flow. Research indicates that Dong Quai reduces the formation of plaque in the blood vessel walls, potentially working as a preventive agent against atherosclerosis, strokes, myocardial infarction (heart attack) and hypertension. It can also treat abnormal heart rhythms due to its antispasmodic capabilities. Secondly, Dong Quai has been found to reduce dangerous cholesterol levels and triglycerides, especially when combined with another Chinese herb called Huang Qi. Decreasing cholesterol levels is an effective way to reduce the risk of heart disease and support better heart health. Although it can’t replace a healthy diet or exercise, Dong Quai can be a very heart-healthy addition to your diet.

Heart Diseases:

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease and is usually caused by the buildup of plaque and cholesterol in the arteries, causing them to become narrow and hardened.

Blood Circulation:

Female Ginseng consists of significant levels of iron that can significantly boost circulation throughout the body. Iron is actually a key component of red blood cells, and without it, people often suffer from anemia, characterized by headaches, muscle weakness, unexplained fatigue, and cognitive disorders. By increasing circulation throughout the body, you can boost energy levels as extremities in the body become oxygenated and energized with nutrients. This works to increase energy levels and can fasten the healing process from injury or surgery.

Dong Quai is included in combinations for circulatory and liver conditions due to its ability to reduce the viscosity of blood. The antispasmodic and soothing effects of Dong Quai have made it the herb of choice in treating conditions such as hypertension and high blood pressure. By soothing the arteries and calming the vascular system, it lowers stress on the heart.

One 2005 study reported an increase of blood flow and drop in blood pressure in a dog, cat, and rabbit after injecting dong quai root oil, according to the European Medicines Agency.

Blood Tonic:

It is also a powerful blood tonic, meaning it can help support circulation. It is known for supporting circulation in the abdomen and pelvis. It’s also rich in vitamins and minerals to support the blood such as vitamin B12, folic acid, and biotin, makes it a key ingredient in the majority of Chinese blood-boosting formulas. It acts as a blood purifier and thinner, which helps prevent blood clots. This is great for women on contraception like contraceptive pills, as the pill can often increase the risk of blood clots. Dong Quai may also reduce tissue congestion through enhanced blood and lymph circulation. It also contains nicotinic acid, which is believed to have a blood vessel relaxing or vasodilating action.

This also means that Dong Quai can be used to treat areas of injury or wounds, as it works to increase the volume of blood and replenishes the red blood cells. For this reason, Dong Quai is found in virtually every herbal blood-building products.

Blood Purifier:

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Dong Quai is considered a blood purifier and tonic. What exactly does this mean? The nutrients and compounds in dong quai make it effective for improving blood circulation. This helps keep the blood healthy, prevents blood clots, ensures blood reaches extremities, and can also boost energy levels. In addition, Dong Quai also helps to replenish and nourish blood supply. It contains a good source of iron, which is a key component of red blood cells. This means that Dong Quai can help to prevent or treat anemia and replenish the blood supply after blood loss.

Blood Thinner:

Dong Quai should not be taken in conjunction with blood thinners such as warfarin as Dong Quai contains coumarin, an anticoagulant that prevents the action of vitamin K, the blood-clotting vitamin. Due to the complex dosage requirements, take Dong Quai only under the guidance of a clinical herbalist.

High Blood Pressure:

Dong Quai is beneficial for lowering blood pressure and supporting cardiac function. Research has even shown that Dong Quai may be beneficial for those with high blood pressure, another risk factor for heart disease. Results show that that Dong Quai can help lower blood pressure and support proper cardiac function. Especially when mixed with other herbs that also support cardiac function.

Build the Blood:

Dong Quai’s circulation-increasing effects, and its vitamin and mineral content (vitamin B12, folic acid, folinic, ferulic and nicotinic acids, iron, along with biotin) boost red blood cell production, in turn increasing blood volume, which is key to why it offers each of the benefits listed below. Low iron levels in particular contribute to anemia which is important to avoid when trying to conceive. Dong Quai is also slightly blood-thinning which may slow blood clotting.

Oxygenate the Blood:

Dong Quai also contains cobalt, which is believed to increase the hemoglobin content of red blood cells. Hemoglobin is a protein in blood that carries oxygen to red blood cells and contains iron.

Cholesterol Levels:

Decreasing your cholesterol levels is an effective way to reduce your risk of heart disease and support better heart health.

One animal study showed that treating mice with Dong Quai for four weeks decreased levels of total cholesterol as well as triglycerides.

Another study found that combining Dong Quai with Huang Qi, another medicinal plant, reduced triglycerides, total cholesterol and bad LDL cholesterol levels in rats.

In vitro, Dong Quai protected human vascular endothelial cells from the damaging effects of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (the “bad” cholesterol), indicating a potential use in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

To boost the heart-healthy benefits of Dong Quai even more, remember to eat a balanced diet and incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine.

Anemia - Prevents and Treats:

The iron and cobalt contents of Dong Quai are said to prevent anemia and iron deficiencies. This is achieved by the cobalt that increases the blood’s hemoglobin content, which is an iron-containing protein that helps to carry oxygen to cells. For those who struggle with the symptoms of anemia, including headaches, fatigue, muscle weakness, and cognitive disorders, Dong Quai is said to be a powerful herbal remedy. Dong Quai happens to be a great herb to help this condition, as it may help increase the hemoglobin in your blood. Hemoglobin is essential as it helps carry oxygen to cells.

A 2020 study "Polysaccharide from Angelica Sinensis Suppresses Inflammation and Reverses Anemia in Complete Freund's Adjuvant-induced Rats" published in Curr Med Sci by Ming-Ming Li, Yu Zhang, Jun Wu, Kai-Ping Wang was investigated in a complete freund's adjuvant (CFA)-induced arthritic rat model. It was observed that serum iron (SI) and total iron binding capacity (TIBC) levels were elevated after 4-week oral administration of Angelica sinensis polysaccharide. Red blood cell (RBC) count and hemoglobin (Hb) concentrations were ameliorated as well. Moreover, inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-a were decreased strikingly in CFA-induced arthritic rats after treatment of  Angelica sinensis polysaccharide. Evidence also showed that Angelica sinensis polysaccharide strongly inhibited hepcidin expression through the Janus kinase/signal transducers and activators of transcription (JAK2/STAT3) pathway.

Another 2020 study "Angelica sinensis polysaccharide prevents mitochondrial apoptosis by regulating the Treg/Th17 ratio in aplastic anemia" published in BMC Complement Med Ther by Zetao Chen, Li Cheng, Jing Zhang, Xing Cui aims to investigate whether mitochondrial apoptosis in aplastic anemia could be corrected by Angelica sinensis polysaccharide by adjusting an abnormal level of regulatory T cell (Treg)/ IL-17 secreting CD4 T cell (Th17) ratio. Angelica sinensis polysaccharide might prevent mitochondrial apoptosis to restore the function of hematopoietic stem cells by suppressing abnormal T-cell immunity in aplastic anemia.

A 2011 study found that taking Dong Quai can be effective in reducing the incidence of anemia, low red blood cell count, in people with cancer. 

Boosts Immune System:

Dong quai may increase production of white blood cells, which fight infection and boost the liver’s ability to detoxify the body. It is also a widely revered blood purifier, helping to reduce toxicity throughout the body. Based on traditional use, or scientific theory, Dong Quai may be useful for immune cytopenias resulting in a decreased number of immune cells in the blood, which may be associated with underlying autoimmune disease.

A 2019 study "Polyethylenimine-coated PLGA nanoparticles-encapsulated Angelica sinensis polysaccharide as an adjuvant to enhance immune responses" published in Int J Pharm by Pengfei Gu, Adelijiang Wusiman, Siyuan Wang, Yue Zhang, Zhenguang Liu, Yuanliang Hu, Jiaguo Liu, Deyun Wang have been widely investigated as new vaccines strategy to enhance the immune responses to antigens against infectious diseases. The positively charged nanoparticles could efficiently improve the immune responses due to targeting and activating the antigen-presenting cells. In this study, the immunopotentiator Angelica sinensis polysaccharide (ASP) was encapsulated into Poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles, and the polyethylenimine, one of the cationic polymers, was used to coat nanoparticles to develop a new nanoparticle delivery system (ASP-PLGA-PEI) with positively charged. Findings demonstrate that the positively charged nanoparticles (ASP-PLGA-PEI) have the potential to serve as an effective vaccine delivery and adjuvant system to induce vigorous and long-term immune responses.

If experiencing immune-related infertility or blood disorders, consider researching the use of Dong Quai further with the help of your healthcare provider.

Respiratory Health:

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD):

A study looking at the effects of Dong Quai in cells derived from the lungs of 10 patients with chronic bronchitis found an anti-inflammatory effect for an extract of the Dong Quai. In COPD patients with high pulmonary blood pressure, an injection of 25% Angelica sinensis reduced pulmonary arterial pressure, pulmonary vascular resistance and other factors, leading the researchers to conclude that the herb could improve the blood flow dynamics in COPD patients.

Neurological Health:

Brain Booster:

In cultured cells treated with amyloid beta (the toxic protein that accumulates in the brains of humans with Alzheimer’s disease), dong quai extract prevented resultant oxidative stress-induced neurotoxicity, indicating a protective role against Alzheimer’s disease.

A study involving 1,404 subjects with acute cerebral infarction (brain damage due to blockage of blood flow to the brain) found improvement in 78.7% of those given Dong Quaias measured by neuro-function deficit scores.

Increases Energy:

With more balance and rejuvenation, you can help strengthen your Qi, also known as your energy. With more balanced Qi, you will likely feel better on both a physical and emotional level.

Ischemic Stroke:

Ischemic stroke is a common cerebrovascular disease. Due to sudden interruption of blood flow by arterial thrombus, amounts of neurons in ischemic central and penumbral regions occur necrosis and apoptosis resulting in serious injury of neurological function. Chinese medicines have a great advantage in ischemic stroke treatment and recovery, especially Angelica sinensis.

There are a large number of studies reported that Angelica injection and Angelica sinensis active compounds. We systematically reviewed the effects and mechanisms of Angelica sinensis in recent years according to the guidelines of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) statements, and excavated its therapeutic potentiality for exploring more effective and safe compounds for ischemic stroke precision treatment.

A 2021 study "Overview of therapeutic potentiality of Angelica sinensis for ischemic stroke" published in Phytomedicine by Yan Han, Ying Chen, Qian Zhang, Bo-Wen Liu, Li Yang, You-Hua Xu, Yong-Hua Zhao about Angelica sinensis extracts and active compounds, such as Z-ligustilide, 3-n-Butylphthalide, and ferulic acid have significant effects of anti-inflammation, anti-oxidative stress, angiogenesis, neurogenesis, anti-platelet aggregation, anti-atherosclerosis, protection of vessels, which contributes to improvement of neurological function on ischemic stroke. Angelica sinensis is a key agent for ischemic stroke treatment, and worth deeply excavating its therapeutic potentiality with the aid of pharmacological network, computer-aided drug design, artificial intelligence, big data and multi-scale modelling techniques.

Bone Health:

Especially affecting menopausal and post-menopausal women, osteoporosis can be due in part to the stark drop in oestrogen levels that accompanies the menopause. Research suggests that Dong Quai helps to strengthen bones by stimulating bone cells to form bones.

In an in vitro study published in 2002, Dong Quai was found to exert a bone reformation effect on human bone cells. Using Dong Quai extract on osteoblast precursor cells (an essential component involved in bone formation), the herb stimulated bone remodelling by enhancing protein secretion and collagen synthesis of bone tissue.

Strengthens Bones:

Dong Quai helps in increasing bone density in men and women. It helps prevent osteoporosis by strengthening the bones, which is an obvious symptom in women after menopause. Dong quai is proven to improve bone density in both men and women. In addition to Dong Quai, eating plenty of calcium-rich foods, getting regular physical activity and spending a few minutes outside each day to get your fix of vitamin D can all help build up your bones.

A study involving bone-building cells found an increase in cell proliferation as well as other bone-building factors.

An animal study from Korea showed that treating rats with Dong Quai extract helped preserve bone mineral density.

Joint Health:

An additional Dong Quai compound known as calycosin has shown powerful binding affinity with the interleukin-6 receptor, which supports its traditional usage in Chinese Medicine for the treatment of arthritis.

Osteoporosis:

Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by weak, brittle bones and an increased risk of breaks and fractures. Though this condition can affect anyone, older women are the most susceptible. This is because menopause causes a decline in levels of estrogen, an important hormone for regulating both bone formation and the breakdown of bone cells. In addition to treating some of the most obvious symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, dong quai may also be useful in preventing bone loss as a result of menopause.

Some research shows that it could help prevent osteoporosis by building up and strengthening bones. One study found that treating bone cells with Dong Quai extract increased bone cell formation.

Osteoarthritis:

The dried root of Angelica sinensis is widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for its beneficial effects against several diseases, including osteoarthritis. In order to understand the mechanism of action, two main components of the plant, the phytochemical, sodium ferulate, and a polysaccharidic fraction have been tested on osteoarthritis animal models or in human chondrocytes stimulated by the pro-inflammatory cytokine, Interleukine-1β.

In an experimental osteoarthritis study, sodium ferulate derived from Dong Quai root reduced inflammation and apoptosis (programmed cell death) while another fraction promoted cartilage synthesis important for joint cushioning and mobility.

A study from 2018 found that a polysaccharide extracted from the roots of Dong Quai had the ability to reverse oxidative stress often linked with osteoarthritis.

A 2015 study "Angelica sinensis and osteoarthritis" published in Biomed Mater Eng by Jacques Magdalou, Liao-Bin Chen, Hui Wang, Jun Qin, Yingxian Wen, Xiao-Jun Li, Liang Shang, Jing Li showed that sodium ferulate exhibited marked anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic properties by inhibiting the TNF/TNFR signal transduction pathway. On the other hand, the polysaccharidic fraction which contains a mixture of various carbohydrates was found to promote proteoglycan biosynthesis in cartilage matrix by stimulating the activity of the UDP-glycosyltransferases that synthesize the chondroitin sulfate chains of aggrecans. It is suggested that the combined action of sodium ferulate and polysaccharidic fraction would prevent cartilage destruction in osteoarthritis and favor cartilage repair.

Cancer - Treatment and Prevention:

Dong quai appears to act against cancer as well. Dong Quai extracts have the potential to stop the cell cycle and cause cell death in cancerous cells. Research suggests that Dong Quai can potentially kill cancer cells for brain tumors, leukemia, and colon cancer. But others studies note that there isn’t significant impact against cancer cells, especially in humans.

The near-universal uses for the herb mean that men and women take it for many reasons. Always talk to your doctor before taking the herb. It may cause side effects with other medications you may be taking.

Leukemia:

A polysaccharide from Dong Quai has also been shown to stop the growth in acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) stem cells. In colon cancer cells, three compounds derived from Dong Quai worked together synergistically to inhibit the spread of cancer cells.

Breast Cancer:

The root of Angelica sinensis is widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for relieving gynecological discomforts among the women population. However, its hormone-like effects have raised great attention on whether it is appropriate to use in breast cancer patients. Hence, this study aimed to investigate the tumorigenic effect of aqueous root extract of Angelica sinensis on estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer growth through estrogen receptor-induced stemness in-vitro and in-vivo.

A 2021 study "Tumorigenic risk of Angelica sinensis on estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer growth through estrogen receptor-induced stemness in vitro and in vivo" published in Ethnopharmacol by Hongni Zhu, Jeishu You, Yi Wen, Lei Jia, Fei Gao, Kumar Ganesan, Jianping Chen, about the chemical composition of the Angelica sinensis was characterized by HPLC. Cell viability was detected by MTS assay. The in-vivo effect of Angelica sinensis was investigated by xenograft model, immunohistochemistry, histology, Western blot, and self-renewal ability assay. Target verification was used by shRNA construction and transfection. Mammosphere formation assay was performed by flow cytometry. Angelica sinensis significantly promoted the proliferation of MCF-7 cells and inhibited the growth of MDA-MB-231 cells. Angelica sinensis significantly induced tumor growth (2.5 mg/kg) in xenograft models and however tamoxifen treatment significantly suppressed the Angelica sinensis-induced tumor growth. Angelica sinensis induced estrogen receptor α expression in both in-vivo and in-vitro and promoted cancer stem cell activity in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. Angelica sinensis shows the tumorigenic potential on estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer growth through estrogen receptor-α induced stemness, suggesting that the usage of Angelica sinensis is not recommended for breast cancer in terms of safety measures.

Liver Cancer:

A 2019 study "Angelica sinensis polysaccharide nanoparticles as a targeted drug delivery system for enhanced therapy of liver cancer" published in Carbohydr Polym by Yu Zhang, Zheng Cui, Hao Mei, Jingya Xu, Tao Zhou, Fang Cheng, Kaiping Wang, the utilization of polysaccharides as targeted drug carriers has attracted considerable attention. Herein, Angelica sinensis polysaccharide (ASP), a plant polysaccharide with good biocompatibility, excellent aqueous solubility and intrinsic liver-targeted capability, was modified with hydrophobic group (deoxycholic acid) to fabricate amphiphilic conjugate (ASP-DOCA). Self-assembled nanoparticles were successfully developed for hepatoma-targeted delivery of therapeutic drug doxorubicin (DOX). The DOX loaded nanoparticles (DOX/ASP-DOCA NPs) were spherical in shape with a particle size of 228 nm and negatively charged around -17 mV. DOX was released from nanoparticles in a sustainable and pH-dependent manner. In vitro cellular uptake revealed that DOX/ASP-DOCA NPs were internalized into HepG2 cells through asialoglycoprotein receptor (ASGPR)-mediated endocytosis, resulting in a higher anti-proliferation effect than DOX-loaded dextran derivative DOX/DEX-DOCA NPs. Taken together, ASP-DOCA NPs possess potential applications in drug delivery systems targeting liver cancer.

Lung Cancer:

A 2012 study "Angelica sinensis suppresses human lung adenocarcinoma A549 cell metastasis by regulating MMPs/TIMPs and TGF-β1" published in Oncol Rep by Min Gao, Jun-Hong Zhang, Fu-Xiang Zhou, Cong-Hua Xie, Guang Han, Sheng-Quan Fang, Yun-Feng Zhou investigated the potential effects of Angelica sinensis on the growth and metastasis in human lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells. In vitro the Cck-8 assays showed that Angelica sinensis had weak antiproliferative effect on A549 cells only at high concentration. The cell adhesion assay showed that Angelica sinensis decreased the adhesive ability of A549 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Transwell invasion and migration assay showed that Angelica sinensis reduced the invasive and migratory abilities of A549 cells in a dose-dependent manner. In vivo the animal experiments showed that Angelica sinensis suppressed lung metastasis of nude mice at high concentration. Then, we attempted to clarify the mechanisms of anti-metastatic activities of Angelica sinensis. The results showed Angelica sinensis inhibited the enzymatic activity of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), it involved the down-regulation of the expressions of MMP-2 and MMP-9 at both the protein and mRNA levels, which may be associated with Angelica sinensis suppressing the expression of TGF-β1. It also involved the increase of the tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases TIMP-2, but TIMP-1 decreased upon incubation of A549 cells with Angelica sinensis. The results suggest that Angelica sinensis might exert anti-growth and anti-metastasis activity against lung cancer cells through the decrease of MMP-2, MMP-9, TGF-β1 and TIMP-1 and increase of TIMP-2.

Colorectal Cancer:

Female Ginseng has proven to be the best in the field of oncology when it comes to curbing colorectal cancer. Adding Dong Quai to ones regular diet has shown positive results when it comes to preventing the spread of the said type of cancer.

Cervical Cancer:

When tested in other cell lines, Dong Quai has also demonstrated anticancer benefits. In cervical cancer cells, an extract from Dong Quai inhibited cell proliferation and induced apoptosis, both in cell cultures and in implanted cells.

Brain Cancer:

In rat and human brain tumor cells, administration of Dong Quai resulted in cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. In addition, animals experienced tumor shrinkage and prolonged survival, leading the researchers to conclude that Dong Quai has potential as an anti-brain tumor agent.

Reduces Inflammation:

Inflammation is a normal immune response of the body, but chronic inflammation can lead to all kinds of diseases. Many conditions can be linked back to inflammation, and in addition to an anti-inflammatory diet, Dong Quai may be able to help ease inflammatory symptoms. In times of injury or infection, your body often initiates an immune response to help fight off foreign organisms. Inflammation is part of this normal immune reaction. However, chronic inflammation is at the root of most diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Some people take this herb for things like migraine headaches and fatigue.

Dong Quai’s antioxidant content and other active compounds make it beneficial for reducing inflammation. These anti-inflammatory properties also make it a useful herb for helping with inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne. Dong Quai helps to reduce several inflammatory markers in the body, which is the body’s reaction to fight off foreign organisms. The rich source of antioxidants present in it makes it an extremely effective anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory food. Some studies have discovered that Dong Quai possesses powerful properties that can help reduce inflammation and may lower the risk of chronic disease.

A test-tube study published in Inflammation showed that Dong Quai combined with Sophora extract effectively decreased the levels of several different inflammatory markers.

Another study looked at the effects of Dong Quai extract on rats and found that Dong Quai significantly lowered inflammation caused by spinal cord injury. Besides Dong Quai, eating a healthy diet full of high antioxidant foods like fruits and vegetables can also help ease inflammation and make a major impact on your health.

A 2015 study "Angelica Sinensis attenuates inflammatory reaction in experimental rat models having spinal cord injury" published in Int J Clin Exp Pathol by Jun Xu, Xiao-Qiang E, Hui-Yong Liu, Jun Tian, Jing-Long Yan was aimed to evaluate the effect of Angelica sinensis on experimental rat models in which spinal cord injury was induced by studying different factors. Different factors causing inflammation play a key role in pathophysiology of SCI. Here three groups of rats (n=15, each was used). These included a sham control group where only laminectomy was performed, SCI group where SCI was induced and AS/SCI group where although SCI was induced but Angelica sinensis was also administered to study its effect and draw a comparison with control. The expression of I-kBα and NF-kB p65 was also studied using western blotting and after recording optical density (OD) values of western blots. MPO activity was used to measure the effect of 20 mg/kg Angelica sinensis. The levels of proinflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6 were also studied. As compared with SCI group and sham control it was observed that Angelica sinensis significantly reduced the expression of I-kBα and NF-kB p65, (P<0.05), while MPO activity was also significantly reduced. Proinflammatory cytokine level was also reduced in treated group as compared to both other groups. On the basis of this study we concluded that the use of 20 mg/kg Angelica sinensis in rat models can attenuate the secondary damage caused by SCI and thus help in controlling the pathology of SCI in rats.

Improves Digestive Health:

This versatile herb has also been found to have a gastroprotective effect, protecting the layer of mucous that covers the digestive tract from an overproduction of stomach acid. When this layer is diminished by excess stomach acid it can lead to chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. If left untreated, small tears in the stomach and small intestine will develop. These are more commonly known as peptic ulcers. Dong Quai is a potent anti-inflammatory which can prevent these lesions from forming in the first place. Studies show that it can also prevent damage to the mucous layer in the digestive tract for up to 12 hours after ingestion.

In as study published in International Journal of Medical Sciences, 2006, entitled “Polysaccharides from the root of Angelica sinensis protect bone marrow and gastrointestinal tissues against the cytotoxicity of cyclophosphamide in mice” reported that the polysaccharides from Angelica sinensis has a cytoprotective activity to spare the hemopoietic and gastrointestinal toxicities from Cyclophosphamide which is a cytostatic agent that produces systemic toxicity especially on cells with high proliferative capacity.

Liver Health:

Detox the Body:

One of the most common places for toxins and potentially harmful substances to appear in the body is in the blood. It can be difficult to cleanse the blood, but the high levels of nutrients and vitamins found in Female Ginseng, such as folic acid, biotin, and vitamin B12, actually work to clear out the blood and reduce toxicity throughout the body. The high levels of nutrients and vitamins in Dong Quai, such as folic acid, biotin, and vitamin B12, work to clear out the blood and reduce toxicity throughout the body.

Liver Fibrosis:

A 2020 study "Angelica sinensis polysaccharide attenuates CCl 4-induced liver fibrosis via the IL-22/STAT3 pathway" published in Int J Biol Macromol by Kaiping Wang, Junfeng Wang, Mengzi Song, Hanxiang Wang, Ni Xia, Yu Zhang about Angelica sinensis polysaccharide (ASP) has hepatoprotective effects in liver injury models. However, its role and mechanism in chronic liver fibrosis have not been fully elucidated. In this study, a carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced chronic liver fibrosis mouse model was established. The results showed that ASP treatment reduced serum alanine aminotransferase by approximately 50% and liver fibrosis areas by approximately 70%. Hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation was inhibited in ASP-treated mice. Furthermore, the mechanism was studied in-depth, focusing on the interleukin 22/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (IL-22/STAT3) axis. Concentrations of 50 μg/ml and 100 μg/ml ASP induced the secretion of IL-22 in vitro, which further increased at a concentration of 200 μg/ml. Moreover, in vivo data showed that ASP significantly promoted IL-22 production in splenocytes and liver tissues. The antifibrotic effects of ASP were abolished after IL-22 neutralization. In addition, ASP activated the STAT3 pathway in the liver, as demonstrated by a 2-fold increase compared to that of the CCl4 group, which was abrogated by the IL-22 antibody. Subsequently, we showed that the antifibrotic effects of ASP were abrogated by blocking STAT3 with S3I-201. In conclusion, ASP effectively alleviates chronic liver fibrosis by inhibiting HSC activation through the IL-22/STAT3 pathway.

Alcohol-Induced Acute Liver Injury:

A 2018 study "Angelica sinensis polysaccharide protects against acetaminophen-induced acute liver injury and cell death by suppressing oxidative stress and hepatic apoptosis in vivo and in vitro" published in Int J Biol Macromol by Peng Cao, Jinlu Sun, Mitchell A Sullivan, Xiao Huang, Hanxiang Wang, Yu Zhang, Na Wang, Kaiping Wang about acetaminophen (APAP)-induced hepatic damage is prevalent in western countries. The present study aimed to investigate the hepatoprotective effects of Angelica sinensis polysaccharide (ASP), an active constituent derived from a water extract of Angelica sinensis, in rats exposed to an APAP overdose. The mechanisms underlying the activity of this compound were also considered. Specifically, serum and hepatic biochemical parameters including alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate transaminase (AST), glutathione (GSH), malondialdehyde (MDA) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) were evaluated, and key proteins involved in hepatic apoptosis, including cleaved caspase-3, Bax and Bcl-2 were quantified. In vivo, H&E staining reveals that ASP reduces the degeneration of hepatocytes and the amount of cytoplasmic vacuolation in rats exposed to an overdose of APAP. ASP markedly alleviated liver injury via an increase in GSH levels and the inhibition of hepatic apoptosis. In vitro, ASP significantly elevated the survival rate of rat primary hepatocytes exposed to an overdose of APAP. The beneficial effect might be, at least in part, due to the amelioration of lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress, along with the inhibition of apoptosis. Taken together, our findings reveal that ASP has potential to be used as a hepatoprotective agent for the management of APAP-induced liver injury.

Another 2016 study "Angelica sinensis polysaccharide attenuates concanavalin A-induced liver injury in mice" published in Int Immunopharmacol by Kaiping Wang, Zhizhen Song, Hongjing Wang, Qiang Li, Zheng Cui, Yu Zhang about Angelica sinensis polysaccharide (ASP), extracted from the roots of Angelica sinensis (Oliv.) Diels, is a β-D-pyranoid polysaccharide with an average molecular weight of 72,900 Da. In this study, we investigated the protective effects of ASP against concanavalin A-induced liver failure and the underlying mechanisms. Concentrations of ASP ranging from 5 to 125 μg/mL could inhibit concanavalin A (ConA)-induced lymphoproliferative response. The potential hepatoprotective activity of ASP was demonstrated by the significant decrease in serum transaminase (ALT and AST) levels and the attenuation of liver inflammation damage exhibited by H&E stain of the liver. Furthermore, ASP pretreatment significantly decreased proinflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-2 and IL-6) and alleviated oxidative stress by reducing MDA and ROS levels and by enhancing SOD activity after ConA administration in mice. Results of Western blot analysis indicated that ASP attenuated Caspase-3-dependent apoptosis by Caspase-8 and JNK-mediated pathway and inhibited the activation of IL-6/STAT3 and NF-κB signaling pathways in ConA-induced liver damage in mice. In conclusion, ASP pretreatment could attenuate concanavalin A-induced liver injury through its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant actions in mice.

Diabetes:

Female Ginseng is a perfect match to curbing and preventing diabetes in the realm of natural treatments. It is known to manage the blood sugar levels in the body in addition to regulating the absorption of glucose by the body. It manages sudden fluctuations in the blood sugar levels preventing the body from making the disease become chronic. Research indicates that Dong Quai may have benefits for treating or preventing diabetes.

Blood Sugar:

High blood sugar can lead to symptoms like frequent urination, trouble concentrating, increased thirst and weight loss. Regular consumption of Dong Quai is suggested by studies to lower blood sugar levels and helps insulin resistance, which is ideal for improving fatty liver. Insulin is a hormone responsible for the transport of sugar from the bloodstream to the cells. When insulin levels stay elevated for long periods of time, it can lead to insulin resistance. This causes your body to stop responding normally to insulin, resulting in a buildup of sugar in the blood.

Studies have found that Dong Quai has a blood sugar-lowering effect and can help promote normal blood sugar levels to prevent adverse side effects. Studies show that regular consumption of Dong Quai helps in insulin resistance. Therefore, it helps in improving fatty liver and glucose homeostasis.

One animal study published in Journal Food & Function shows that it can help to lower blood sugar levels as well as improve insulin resistance. It showed that giving mice Dong Quai for 4 weeks decreased both blood sugar levels and insulin resistance.

Another study confirmed these results and also suggested that Dong Quai can be especially helpful for those who consume a high-fat diet and have fatty liver.

A 2016 study also confirmed these benefits on blood sugar, showing that administering Dong Quai extract to rats on a high-fat diet helped reduce blood sugar levels. Eating plenty of fiber, staying well-hydrated and keeping your carb intake under control are just a few other ways to keep blood sugar levels in check.

These studies were tested on rats who were deliberately put on a high-fat diet. Dong Quai should be consumed regularly and amongst other methods of lowering blood sugar levels, including eating a high-fiber and low-carb diet and drinking lots of water.

Diabetic Nephropathy:

A 2019 study "A branched arabinoglucan from Angelica sinensis ameliorates diabetic renal damage in rats" published in Phytother Res by Yi Sui, Wenjuan Liu, Wen Tian, Xiao-Qiang Li, Wei Cao, about diabetic nephropathy is a major complication in long-standing diabetic patients, and effective therapies are required. In this study, we examined the effects and mechanisms of an arabinoglucan isolated from Angelica sinensis on diabetic nephropathy, which was induced in rats by streptozotocin. The rats were intraperitoneally treated with arabinoglucan for 8 weeks. Diabetic rats exhibited renal dysfunction, as evidenced by reduced creatinine clearance, increased blood urea nitrogen and proteinuria, along with marked enhanced mesangial expansion. All of these abnormalities were reversed by the arabinoglucan. These findings suggest that this arabinoglucan, acting as a RAGE antagonist, is a promising agent for the prevention and treatment of diabetic nephropathy.

Supports Weight Loss:

Consumption of Female Ginseng suppresses the appetite apart from other effects like flushing out the toxins from the body and preventing accumulation of fat content. It curbs hunger pangs resulting in less food consumption and thus aids in weight loss.

Matabolism:

A 2021 study "Effect of cropping patterns onbacterial community diversity and metabolic function in rhizosphere soil of Angelica sinensis" published by Xiao-Feng Jiang, Feng-Xia Guo, Yuan Chen, Jian-Guo Guo, Xiao-Feng Liu about the sustainable development of Angelica sinensis industry is seriously restricted by continuous cropping obstacles. In order to explore an efficient cultivation technique for Angelica sinensis.

The results showed that:

  1. The physicochemical properties in Angelica sinensis rhizosphere soil varied among different cropping patterns. Compared with the control, soil electrical conductivity under C pattern was significantly higher, and lower under B, D and E, CO2 respiration rate for B, C, D and E were significantly increased.
  2. Soil bacteria of Angelica sinensis rhizosphere soil in the five cropping patterns belonged to 26 phyla and 368 genera. The dominant genera were Gemmatimonas from Gemmatimonadetes, Sphingomonas from Proteobacteria, and Subgroup_6 from Acidobacteria. Compared with the control, the relative abundance of Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria under B and C patterns was significantly higher, Acidobacteria in D pattern was significantly lower, while Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, and Actinobacteria in E pattern was significantly higher.
  3. There were significantly negative relations between soil pH, electrical conductivity, contents of organic matter, available nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium with the relative abundance of Proteobacteria in Angelica sinensis rhizosphere soil across the five cropping patterns.
  4. There was significant difference in relative abundance for bacteria of six metabolic pathways under the five cropping patterns. In conclusion, C pattern had a regulating effect on physicochemical properties and bacterial communities in Angelica sinensis rhizosphere soil, which could be taken as a major practice to overcome the continuous cropping obstacles.

Another 2021 study "Integrated transcriptomics and metabolites at different growth stages reveals the regulation mechanism of bolting and flowering of Angelica sinensis" published in Plant Biol (Stuttg) by J Li, M L Li, T T Zhu, X N Zhang, M F Li, J H Wei about the root of Angelica sinensis is one of the most widely used traditional Chinese medicines. In commercial planting, early bolting and flowering (EBF) of ca. 40% of 2-year-old plants reduces root yield and quality. A integrated analysis of transcriptomics, together with targeted hormones and soluble sugars, provides new insights into the regulation of EBF of Angelica sinensis.

Improves Cognitive Function:

Female Ginseng efficiently stimulates ones cognitive abilities associated with concentration and focus and the neural activity. Female Ginseng also helps in preventing and curing disorders such as Alzhemier’s, dementia and others.

Hair Care:

Female Ginseng has been widely researched to check its applications in the field of improving hair health. The carbohydrate content present in Dong Quai is known to prevent the occurrence of alopecia while also tackling the problem of male pattern baldness. Consumption and application of Dong Quai leads to strengthening of hair follicles, preventing dandruff and minimizing hair loss.

Antioxidant:

Dong Quai is notorious for its high capacity of antioxidants, which help to support a healthy immune system and eliminates free radicals from damaging organ systems to create chronic diseases. Dong Quai is chock full of powerful chemical compounds that have a wide range of effects on our body, including eliminating free radicals before they can damage our organ systems and cause chronic diseases. This means that it has the potential to reduce our chances of everything from heart disease to cancer due to these important antioxidant compounds. Research has suggested that consumption of the herb will help to reduce the likelihood of developing such diseases.

A 2020 study "Spectrum-effect relationship between HPLC fingerprints and antioxidant activity of Angelica sinensis" published in Biomed Chromatogr by Qin Fan, Ruijing Yang, Feixia Yang, Pengfei Xia, Lei Zhao evaluated that Angelica sinensis is one of the most important Traditional Chinese Medicines and has antioxidant activities that greatly contribute to its pharmacological action. However, the compounds responsible for its antioxidant activity remain unknown. In this study, the fingerprints of 10 batches of A. sinensis collected from different locations in China were established with HPLC to identify the common peaks. The antioxidant activities of these 10 batches were evaluated with 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl, 2,2'-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) diammonium salt, and ferric-reducing antioxidant power assays. The spectrum-effect relationship between HPLC fingerprints and antioxidant effect of Angelica sinensis was examined by the partial-least-square regression analysis and the variable importance in projection method. Results showed that the antioxidant effect of Angelica sinensis results from the synergistic effect of various compounds, and peaks X3 and X7-X18 were the main substances responsible for antioxidant efficacy. This study successfully identified the spectrum-effect relationship between HPLC fingerprints and the antioxidant effect of Angelica sinensis. This relationship can provide methods for establishing the quality standards for Angelica sinensis and developing new and effective products of Angelica sinensis based on its antioxidant ingredients.

Premature Aging:

Since days of yore, Female Ginseng has had a reputation of preventing the appearance of aging signs. It restricts the effects of the free radicals present in the body that are capable of damaging the healthy cells of the body.

Cooking Tips

People mainly use Female Ginseng in making soups and teas, especially in winter. The root can be used fresh, dried, or in powder form, depending on your preference. The fresh roots don’t have nearly as much flavor as the dried roots, so you can use it for people that are not familiar with this root.

Dried Dong Quai roots are usually prepared with other herbs so that it may give you a different and more exciting taste from the fresh roots. You can Dong Quai into several Chinese soup recipes, such as chicken soups for nursing mothers, older people, or sick children.

Female Ginseng tea is a popular drink in China and Korea, and it is mainly drunk for its calming heat during cold seasons. This tea is primarily ginseng infused water with some other herbs like red dates, and Ginger added to it for some flavor. It may also be drunk for its healing properties.

Many people find more ways to incorporate Ginseng into their everyday diet, so you see a lot of ginseng smoothies and energy drinks. While this is healthy, it is not advisable to use Ginseng too frequently.

Avoid giving Dong Quai to infants: Female ginseng can be given to small children as a treatment for certain illnesses, but it should never be given to infants. It may be too much for them, and this can lead to them developing complications.

Always cook the root for an extended period: When using ginseng root, especially the dry one, take your time to cook it properly because the root doesn’t release flavor on time.

Do not remove the root after cooking: The root of the female ginseng is still delicious after it has been used in a meal. You can eat the root later when it is tender.

Know what variety of Ginseng to use: Ginseng is an umbrella word that covers over a dozen types of the ginseng plant. Different varieties have different health benefits, so it is essential to know which one to use for what purpose.

  • Adaptogenic: Aid in the body's ability to adapt to stress in all forms.
  • Alterative: Restoring proper functioning to the body's metabolism.
  • Analgesic: relieves or diminishes pain.
  • Anaphrodisiac: Blunt sexual desire and decrease libido.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Alleviate inflammation throughout the body.
  • Anti-spasmodic: Prevents and eases spasms and relieves cramps.
  • Demulcent: Soothes and softens irritations of mucous membranes.
  • Depurative: Helps to purify the body, particularly the blood.
  • Diaphoretic: Promotes perspiration.
  • Emmenagogue: Stimulates, regulates, and normalizes menstruation.
  • Laxative: Aids bowel evacuation.
  • Nervine: Strengthens or tones the nerves and nervous system.

Traditional Uses of Dong Quai - Female Ginseng:

  • Female Ginseng is a well-known Chinese herb that has been used in the treatment of female ailments for thousands of years.
  • It can be used in the treatment of pernicious anaemia.
  • It is commonly used in the treatment of a wide range of women’s complaints where it regulates the menstrual cycle and relieves period pain and also to ensure a healthy pregnancy and easy delivery.
  • Its use prevents the decrease of liver glycogen and protects the liver.
  • It has an antibacterial action, preventing the growth of various bacteria including Bacillus dysenteriae, Bacillus typhi, B. comma, B. cholerae and haemolytic streptococci.
  • It has been used to treat pulmonary hypertension in combination with the allopathic medication nifedipine.
  • Female Ginseng is found in formulas used to treat weakness, infection, and metabolism problems.
  • Combined with astragalus root, it is used to strengthen kidney function.
  • Topical female Ginseng cream is used to treat premature ejaculation.
  • Female Ginseng preparation is injected into acupuncture points to relieve pain in China.
  • Female Ginseng has been shown to increase blood volume, red hemoglobin and blood cell count, and inhibit plaque formation.
  • It is also used as a liver tonic and in treating sciatica and shingles.
  • Dong quai has been used in China for thousands of years to help balance hormones, reduce PMS symptoms and increase libido.
    Dong Quai has also been used in Native American, Ayurvedic and Kampo medicine as a cure for conditions like anemia, heart disease and high blood sugar.
  • Dong Quai is a common natural remedy around the world used to treat everything from depression to menopause symptoms.
  • it has even been touted by some as a treatment for hair loss and certain skin conditions.

Culinary Uses of Dong Quai - Female Ginseng:

  • Dong Quai root is typically harvested and dried so that it can later be cut into pieces or ground up into powder form.
  • The root can be simmered, steamed or slow-cooked to infuse the strong flavor into soups, broths and tonics.
  • However, it is much easier to find dong quai in supplement form and, thanks to its growing popularity, you can usually find it at many pharmacies and health stores as well as online.
  • It is most often found as a capsule, but it is also available as a liquid extract or in dong quai tea.
  • When purchasing supplements, you should look for a reputable brand and check the ingredients label to make sure there are minimal added ingredients or fillers.

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