Radix Angelica sinesis

Walking down the cool city of Edessa round September, just a bit further way from the byzantine bridge, in the nearby park, the stream will reaveal an angel in disquise. We are referring to the special herb Angelica.

The root of the herb comes under the votanical type of «Radix Angelica sinesis», Also known as chinese angelica,  Dang Gui or  Dong Quai (chin: dāng guī 当归). It is a very popylar medicne, widely used in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) but also in Korea for thousands of years.

It can grow up to 3 feet, while it blossoms round August and September.

Dong Quai (chin : dāng guī 当归), comes under the latin name «Radix Angelica Sinesis». It comprises a vital part of herbal therapy in Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM). It is also known as the female ginseng, as it has been used for centuries mainly for women ailments(hormone in particular).

Its root (Angelica sinesis) is also referred as Chinese Angelica. It is a very popular herb, used extensively in China, Korea for thousands of years. It can grow up to 3 feet high, while it blossoms round August and September.

As far as its quality is concerned, experts claim that it is discerned by its long and wide size, the greasy and wet texture and finally its characteristic smell.

Its primary use is  for  alleviating symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome.[**]


The fame of its tonic action comes right after the famous ginseng, and it is also known for its ability to fortify and strengthen the blood, by increasing the red-cell blood count. It contains significant quantities of vitamin B12,E, biotin, beta-carotene, b-sitosterol and other elements.

In vivo experiments presented that it can enhance antibodies, while it acts as antiflammatory and analgesic(relieves pain).Concurrently, the researchers found out that it lowers the cholesterol levels and the formation of atherosclerosis(a disease originating from atheroma,- a pile-up of lipid substances in the inner layer of arteries called endothelieum-)

Due to its calming effects, it is commonly used for treating symptoms during menstrual disorders, like pain during pms(pre menstrual syndrome).Men use it as a blood and muscle tonic.

Generally speaking, and according to TCM, Dong Quai is regarded not only an effective blood tonic, but it appears to have remarkable properties at soothing symptoms of common cold.

A lot of people use it to stimulate liver and the digestion system. It lubricates the gut, therefore alleviating from constipation. Furthermore, it is said to lower blood pressure by dilating the coronary vessels, increasing thus circulation in the coronary artery.

It is also recommended in fatique, irritability, mood-swings, pms and irregular menstrual cycle[**].

Action mechanism 

Substances called lingustilides are said to be responsible for its action as a female-hormone balancer and its antispasmodic effect in the lean muscle. Doing so, it relieves from menstrual cramps.

Dose and directions

The raw root of the dried herb may be boiled or alternatively soaked in wine prior to consumption.

The powdered form comes in capsules. Use 500-600mg capsules up to six times daily.

The tincture (1:5 w/v, 70% alcohol) can be taken at 40-80 drops ( round 2-4ml ) three times daily (– mind that a teaspoon is around 5ml)

Warnings and precautions 

In high doses it may increase sensitivity to light and therefore cause sunburns and skin inflammation. It is not addressed along with other herbs that may cause sun sensitivity like St. John’s Wort. Use sunscreen if prone to sunburns.

Avoid its consumptions along with anticoagulant treatments or herbs that possess such properties like Feverfew, garlic, ginger, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, liquorice and turmeric[*]. 

Although there is little research regarding its use along with other hormonal medications like estrogens, progesterones, and contraceptive pills, healers suggest that parallel use of Dong Quai with those medications should be avoided.

Despite its benefits it should be avoided from diarrhea sufferers with flatulence. In addition, people with irritation, nervousness or extreme fatique should refrain from taking the herb, as it may extend those symptoms. It should not be addressed to people with hot flushes or night sweats.

Do not use at pregnancy or breast feeding. This may cause muscular dysfunction of the uterus. Furthermore, little is known on its effect on the infant.

Above:  the beautifull walk by the stream leading to famous waterfalls of Edessa.

Note: As with all herbs and nutritional supplements, you should not try any of the above if you are on medical treatment unless you have the consent of a professional healthcare provider. The author takes no responsibility for the event of improper use of the above information.

[*] Page RL 2nd, Lawrence JD. Potentiation of warfarin by dong quai. Pharmacother. 1999;19(7):870-876.
[**] Wyandt CM, Williamson JS. For physicians and pharmacists: a comprehensive overview of popular herbs, their pharmacologic activities and potential uses. In: Saltmarsh N, Falcon M, Micozzi MS, Bacchus AN, eds. Physician’s Guide to Alternative Medicine. Atlanta, GA: American Health Consultants; 1999:37-38.

Originally published at
Greek version of this article here.

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