Angelica sinensis, commonly known as dong quai or “female ginseng” is a herb from the family Apiaceae, indigenous to China.
The dried root of A. sinensis is commonly known as Chinese angelica (simplified Chinese:当归; traditional Chinese: 當歸; pinyin: dāngguī; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: tong-kui) and is widely used inChinese traditional medicine for women’s health, cardiovascular conditions, osteoarthrosis,inflammation, headache, infections, mild anemia, fatigue and high blood pressure.
Dong quai is used for menopause vasomotor symptoms such as hot flashes. However, in a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial shows that dong quai is no more effective than placebo.
Potential anti-osteoporotic effects of dong quai independent of any estrogen mechanism were evaluated in rat models which showed that the extract of A. sinensis may prevent the bone loss. However, more high quality human evidence is needed to confirm same anti-osteoporotic effects of dong quai in humans.
Dong quai contains a chemical compound called butylidenephthalide which has antispasmodic activity in vitro and might relieve dysmenorrhoea muscle cramps by relaxing the uterus muscle. However, this claim lacks evidence of effectiveness in human clinical trials.
Overall, the U.S. National Library of Medicine states that more evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of dong quai for most uses
- Upset stomach (dyspepsia), when a combination of angelica and five other herbs is used. A specific combination product containing angelica (Iberogast, Medical Futures, Inc) seems to improve symptoms of upset stomach including acid reflux,stomach pain, cramping, nausea, and vomiting. The combination includes angelica plus peppermint leaf, clown’s mustard plant, German chamomile, caraway, licorice, milk thistle, celandine, and lemon balm.
- Premature ejaculation, when applied directly to the skin of the penis in combination with other medicines. The multi-ingredient cream studied in research (SS Cream, Cheil Jedang Corporation) contains Panax ginseng root, angelica root, Cistanches deserticola, Zanthoxyl species, torlidis seed, clove flower, asiasari root, cinnamon bark, and toad venom.
- It is also beneficial for:
- Intestinal cramps and gas.
- Nerve pain.
- Arthritis-like pain.
- Fluid retention.
- Menstrual disorders.
- Promoting sweating.
- Increasing urine production (diuretic).
- Other conditions.
Angelica seems to be safe when used in food amounts, although Canada does not allow the Archangelica species as food ingredients. There isn’t enough information to know if angelica is safe when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts.
Angelica root seems to be safe for most adults when used as a cream, short-term.
If you take angelica, wear sunblock outside, especially if you are light-skinned. Angelica might make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Angelica may not be safe when taken by mouth during pregnancy. It’s suggested that angelica can cause uterine contractions, and this could threaten the pregnancy.
There isn’t enough information about the safety of taking angelica if you are breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side, and don’t use it.
None are recorded.
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