(commonly spelled Dong Quai on the market)
Angelos, meaning “messenger” in Greek creates our genus name, Angelica. The Chinese name Dang Gui translates to “state of return” because of Angelica’s ability to bring the blood back to where it belongs, relieving blood, and Qi, stagnation. Angelica root is indeed considered an edible, best in grain dishes or soups. In some places in Asia, it is traditional to serve a new mother a hearty vegetable, animal protein and Dang Gui soup, daily, during the month after childbirth.
The spectrum of ailments Dang Gui serves when it comes to menstrual troubles is a broad one, and Dang Gui is incredibly effective with all pieces of the spectrum. It is a versatile remedy, enhancing the hormones that need to be enhanced, regulating hormones that need to be regulated, stimulating what needs to be stimulated, relaxing what needs to be relaxed, diluting and softening what needs to be – relieving Blood stagnation, Qi stagnation and Qi constraints as needed. Indeed, a very intuitive and angelic plant by nature.
Dang Gui is part of the Apiaceae (Parsley) family. The root has a sweet, pungent and slightly bitter taste, suggesting the directions Dang Gui works in are through harmonizing waves dispersing downward. If you encounter an extremely bitter root, this is a poor quality root.
Dang Gui is warming, and moistening. It works under the Yin polarity and Water element. Planetarily, Dang Gui aligns with Venus, Mars, Jupiter and the Moon. You can imagine the spirit of Dang Gui quietly harmonizing by an easy-flowing creek in the moonlight – how wonderful of a Woman’s herb.
Besides the reproductive and endocrine systems, Dang Gui is also especially helpful for the cardiovascular system, the digestive system and the nervous system. It enters many meridian channels – the Liver, Spleen, Heart, Chong, Yin Wei, Ren, and Yin Qiao.
With the reproductive system, Angelia is a uterine stimulant/relaxant, an emmenagogue – relieving deficient or spasmodic menstruation featuring delays or scanty menses, relieving the total absence of menses (amenorrhea), relieving painful menses (spasmodic dysmenorrhea), and relieving infertility.
The estrogenic and progesteronic qualities of Angelica relieve hormone deficiencies or imbalances, resulting in reduction of PMS symptoms. This, paired with Angelica’s Liver restorative actions promoting the Liver to effectively and properly process the floods of hormone that come in to play, results in a lessened “hormonal overload” many experience with menses.
Indeed, Dang Gui looks out for the Mind during menses, as well, by acting as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory and nervous sedative – bringing a calmer state of Mind and clearing the muddy thought-waters that physical pain can bring about. Dang Gui is even a fetal relaxant, working with fetal unrest or threatened miscarriage. Speak with a team of herbalists and midwives before using herbs to help stop a miscarriage or work with an upset fetus through herbs. Indeed we have thousands of years of practice, collectively, using herbs during pregnancy – but it is still best to speak to someone well versed and experienced before trying anything on your own.
Outside the uterus, Angelica is secondarily a cornonary restorative – effective in cases of coronary disease and angina pectoris. It is antilipemic, as well, working to ease hyperlipemia and atherosclerosis. It is an anticoagulant – effective with uterine blood clots – helpful with thrombosis, traumatic contusion, or old injuries.
Dang Gui acts as an immunostimulant and phagocyte/lymphocyte stimulant for general infections. Ferulic acid content is thought to be instrumental in immune regulation. Angelica is also anti-allergic, helping ease the immune stress that comes with immediate allergies. Angelica is found to be antifungal… no more yeast infections, ladies? We see anti-tumor qualities working with women’s reproductive myoma and fibroids, as well. Peptic polysaccharides are considered to be modulating these anti-tumor and interferon-inducing actions.
Last but not least… Dang Gui is radiation protective. If you just can’t seem to get that cell phone out of your pocket and away from your uterus, Dang Gui can assist in relieving the cell phone damage. It’s as if the All the created Angelica knew, someday, Women would be constantly poisoned with radiation.
What an incredible herb!
We have two standard preparations of Angelica, in decoction and tincture forms. A decoction dose is 4-12g, a tincture dose is 2-4ml. This tincture dose follows a standard 1:3 in about 50% alcohol.
Balancing Blend for Women
from Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health
“This blend should be used throughout the month to help create a balanced hormonal system.”
2 parts chaste tree berry powder
2 parts dandelion root powder
1 part Dang Gui powder
1 part milk thistle seed powder
1 part yellow dock powder
“Combine the herbs and encapsulate in size 00 capsules. Take 2 capsules three times daily on a rotational cycle, that is, 5 days on, two days off, for up to 6 months. Discontinue during menses.”
A note on chaste tree berry: do not use Rhodiola rosea while using chaste tree berry. These two herbs make for a contraindicating combination.
As I’m sure many of us don’t have an encapsulator, or the time to put into individually encapsulating, we could use this formula in tincture form, simply doing the maths to combine these herbs into one formula bottle will work. You’d need to acquire the tinctures of all these, along with a graduated cylinder for measuring. 34ml of chaste tree berry, 34ml dandelion root, 18ml Dang Gui, 17ml milk thistle seed and 17ml yellow dock root will combine into a 120ml, 4oz, bottle. A dose of this in tincture form would come out to perhaps 3-6ml per dose, taken twice a day, 5 days on, two days off, up to 6 months, discontinuing during menses. Experiment and discover the right dose for you, increasing gradually and staying aware of the body’s response.
Click here to be redirected to Mountain Rose Herb’s list of extracts. All of these herbal extracts can be found here, very high quality, for reasonable price. Dang Gui is spelled Dong Quai with this company.
We discontinue use during menses as Dang Gui is a uterine stimulant – this is the same reason we avoid use of Dang Gui during pregnancy. Yin deficiencies with empty heat, presented most frequently as menopause, we avoid Dang Gui. Use caution and lessen the dosage during episodes of diarrhea, or abdominal distensions caused by the TCM pattern Intestinal Mucous Damp, as it is a gentle demulcent laxative and could heighten the severity of the diarrhea.
Jade Remedies Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Peter Holmes, First Edition, 1996
The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine, Brigitte Mars , A.H.G., 2007