Chinese angelica herb, also known as dong quai, is a beautiful flowering plant that has been used in the Far East since ancient times as a medicine, spice, and tonic.
The native European varieties of dong quai come in an array of colors similar to violets. It is the root of this wonderful herb that is used in herbal remedies.
In traditional medicine practices, Chinese angelica is usually soaked in wine or boiled and taken by mouth. The root is removed before ingestion. In folklore, it is told that an angel appeared to a monk in his dreams. The angel told him to boil angelica herb into a tea to cure illness.
All variations of angelica grow as umbrella-shaped perennials with fragrant clusters of blossoms. Our ancestors knew the power of herbs for influencing the menstrual cycle and promoting fertility.
The origin of the name may stem from the fact that Angelica herb blooms near the feast day of St. Michael the Archangel. Traditionally angelica herb was served to all members of the household in a chicken soup. The Chinese cooks just tossed in a chunk of the root in the pot to simmer.
What Is Dong Quai?
Dong quai, as above, is another name for angelica sinensis or Chinese angelica. It is also commonly known as “female ginseng” because of its benefits to the female reproductive system.
Dong quai tea and dong quai tincture are delicious and effective ways to help normalize female hormones, ease arthritis pain, and lower blood pressure.
Dong quai is a member of the parsley family and is often called wild celery where it originated in northern Europe and Asia.
Common Uses and Benefits of Chinese Angelica Herb
Angelica has been used as a pain reliever as well as muscle relaxer, and the plant has antihistamine properties, making it beneficial in treating allergies.
There are a great number of uses for dong quai, including in the treatment of menopause, painful menstruation, PMS, chronic sinus infection, high blood pressure, fibroid tumors, anemia, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Angelica herb is specifically used for lung diseases, bronchitis, and asthma. It has been found to be a powerful aid alongside additional herbs, such as Asian ginseng. When combined, the two potent herbs have been known to decrease chest pain in heart disease patients.
Angelica is used for building blood. This vertatile herb contains natural chemicals that have anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic qualities. It has proven to promote urinary tract health, improve sleep quality, and fight infections.
Dong Quai is well known for hormonal and menstrual regulation. It has other benefits as well such as providing clearer skin. Chinese angelica mixed with black cohosh is used in successfully treating severe premenstrual syndrome.
Contraindications of Dong Quai
Traditional Chinese medicine lists Chinese angelica herb as a blood tonic. As with most tonics, it should be avoided in certain conditions.
For instance, its use is inadvisable while taking particular medications because of a potential adverse reactions. These include hormone therapies, contraceptives, and other herbs that thin the blood, such as ginkgo biloba, ginseng, licorice, turmeric, garlic, ginger, and feverfew.
Although, dong quai aids with menstruation, it should only be used when not menstruating for premenstrual symptoms. Pregnant women should avoid taking the herb during pregnancy or while breast-feeding.
Possible Side Effects of Dong Quai
Consult your physician before using angelica home remedies, including drinking large amounts of dong quai tea or dong quai tincture. As a natural blood thinner, it could cause serious harm to the body in the case of an overdose.
Due to the powerful nature of the herb, it should never be administered to children. Also, angelica can cause sun sensitivity when used with St. John‘s Wort.
Growing Angelica For Fresh Dong Quai Tincture & Tea
Angelica needs to be planted during the fall in a cool spot of the garden. It should be planted deeply in rich, slightly acid, moist soil. Transplant seedlings when there are about six leaves present.
The plant takes an average of three years to fully mature. The herb is harvested to make angelica essential oil, powders, teas, supplements, and medicinal tonics and tinctures for a variety of physical ailments. After harvesting, store the plant in a cool, dry place to preserve its chemical properties.
How to use the Chinese Angelica Herb You Grow
Although the root is the most commonly used part, the stalk and leaves can be used to flavor dong quai tea and confections. The roots are best used in the fall of the first year, the stems and leaves in the spring of the second year, and the seeds are ready for use after the plant matures.
Review of Dong Quai Herbal Supplements
Supplement companies offer dong quai in pill or capsule form or mixed into herbal teas. In supplement form, angelica contains only trace amounts of the oil and poses no side effects if directions are followed.
Angelica essential oil is also available and is a very valuable ally in treating the joint stiffness and pain of arthritis. Angelica essential oil can also be used in aromatherapy smell, a relaxing addition to your stress-relieving bath.