As the world wakes up to the freshness of nature and natural products, Herbs take on a leading role. Simple everyday foods and herbs have moved out of the kitchen to be an effective, inexpensive and safe part of health care. The time-tested science of Ayurveda uses the goodness of single herbs and different foods to keep your body at its healthiest best. Women Fitness presents a detailed Directory of herbs.

Dong Quai



Dong Quai is an aromatic chinese herbal remedy made from the root of angelica sinensis, which is growing at high altitudes in China, Korea and Japan. The root has a strong smell and a sweet taste. Used since 588 BC for female problems; strengthens circulation; antibiotic for several "bugs;" encourages proper balance of female hormones; cleanses and purifies the blood; relieves tinnitis, blurred vision, and palpitations; enhances use of vitamin E; calms nerves; use as a post-partum tonic to build blood and regulate menses; bowel lubricant.

Dong Quai works by promoting blood flow to the pelvis where it will stimulate an absent or scanty period. It also nourishes the blood (it is in nearly all Chinese herbal blood-building formulas) and helps iron deficiency and anemia.

Dong Quai is known as a tonic herb for women and is used by women in the treatment of female disorders such as premenstrual syndrome, menstrual cramps and to help them with menopause. One of Dong Quai constituents is coumarin, widely known for its use in preventing blood clotting, but constituents related to it may have numerous actions. Coumarin compounds have an anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic effect, especially on the uterus.

Dong quai also contains ferulic acid, a pain reliever and muscle relaxer. Indeed, the herb is often used to treat painful menstrual cramps or other cases of uterine spasms. Oddly enough, several studies have shown that dong quai acts as a muscle relaxant overall, but before it relaxes the uterus, it stimulates the uterus briefly. The uterus is a muscle, and when dong quai stimulates it, its tone improves and it becomes tight and contracts more readily.

In combination with other herbs, dong quai is very effective for menopausal and menstrual difficulties. It is also commonly described as the supreme "woman's herb", and as the "queen of Chinese herbs".

Caution: Dong quai is considered to be of very low toxicity, but it may cause some fair-skinned persons to become more sensitive to sunlight. It should also not be taken in large quantities by pregnant women. Do not use during menstruation as it may increase the menstrual flow. Those with scanty flow may find it beneficial all month long.


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