- Angelica sinensis L.
- Angelica polymorpha L.
- Umbel family
qui (Chinese name)
Parts Usually Used
Description of Plant(s) and Culture
There are many varieties of wild angelicas growing in the mountains
throughout North America. One of these, A. brewerii, found in the
California Sierras, is a promising substitute for dong quai.
The common garden angelica (A. archangelica)
has the emmenagogue blood-moving properties of dong quai, but lacks
the degree of sweetness necessary for tonics as dong quai has.
The stubby whitish-gray roots are usually from 2-4 inches long and
have a very distinctive pungent odor.
Blood tonic, emmenagogue, sedative, analgesic, laxative, tonic, diaphoretic,
Alcohols, cadinene, carotene, carvacrol, isosafrol, 0.2-0.3% essential
oil, safrol, sesquierpenes, 40% sucrose, and vitamins A, B12, and
Legends, Myths and Stories
The power to prolong life is among the virtues Orientals attribute
to ginseng root. Although ginseng may be taken by both men and women,
Chinese healers regard it primarily as a "man's herb" whereas the
female equivalent of ginseng is a root called dong quai.
The best quality of Chinese dong quai root has a strong pungent aroma
and taste. Korean dong quai is very mild and can be taken more often
during the day. Only the hips of the root, up to the head, are in
general use. The upper half is considered a great blood builder. The
tails of the root are used under the direction of Chinese herbalists
for emergency purposes only, to dissolve blood clots resulting from
serious accidents and for expelling afterbirth that is difficult to
Dong quai has been used in China for ages. The Chinese claim it has
remarkable powers for nourishing female glands, rebuilding blood,
and helping to delay the symptoms of old age in women.
One of the most widely used herbs in the Orient, dong quai duck is
a popular Cantonese dish.
Dong quai has been named the "female ginseng". It is an all-purpose
herb for a wide range of female complaints.
Used in the treatment of female problems such as hot
flashes, menopause, PMS, and
vaginal dryness. It helps women to resume normal menses after going
off "the pill." Increases the effect of ovarian/testicular hormones.
Treats all gynecological complaints; it regulates menstruation and
treats dysmenorrhea, and
amenorrhea. It reduces high
blood pressure and is good for tinnitus
caused by blood weakness, blurred vision and palpitations. It promotes
blood circulation and thus relieves the pain
of injuries. May prevent anemia;
is a blood tonic for
both men and women. Used for dryness of the bowels causing constipation,
Formulas or Dosages
It is essential that the roots be stored in a dry place, otherwise
they tend to soften and spoil. A good quality of dong quai and the
Chinese method used for preparing the herb results in a potent beverage.
Therefore, the Chinese women use it only once or twice a month. Since
the herb is also regarded as a blood builder, Chinese healers recommend
that for conditions of anemia the herb broth should be taken more
often until the blood becomes normal, and thereafter only once or
twice a month (for nourishing the female glands).
Place 4 cups of water in a large Pyrex or enamelware container. Do
not use aluminum; even stainless steel may not be used for this particular
herb. Add a few pieces of lean raw chicken or beef and one small dong
quai root, or half of a large one. Cover loosely and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, then allow the herb broth to cook slowly for several
hours or until the liquid is reduced to 1 1/2 cups. Strain and drink
the broth warm.
Infusion: 1 oz. root simmered in 3 cups of water for 30 minutes
along with a little fresh ginger. Take 1 day per week as a uterine
Carotene, sucrose, minerals and vitamins A, B12, and E.
Available in most health food stores and herb shops.
Capsules: take 1 capsule for up to 3 times a day.
Avoid use during pregnancy and if there is bloating, abdominal congestion
and conditions caused by wasting. If menses is a heavy flow, avoid
Avoid if hypertensive.