Dong quai or female ginseng, scientific name angelica sinensis, is an herb belonging to the Apiaceae family that grows spontaneously on the mountains of China, Korea and Japan. The plant has been used for centuries by Chinese traditional medicine and, thanks to its properties, it is also mentioned in the Herb and Alternative medicine database of University of Maryland, Medical center, Baltimore, USA. Dong quai is used for its anti-anemic, tonic and antispasmodic action, it results able to regulate the menstrual period and to improve iron absorption. For this reason you can also use this remedy in case of heavy periods, tiredness, brittle hair and nails, pallor, palpitations, tinnitus but also symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes. These uses come from tradition but also science has started to study the properties of dong quai in order to demonstrate its effectiveness. A study published in 2006 on Phytotherapy Research by a team of the University of Messina (Circosta et al, 2006) has observed that the estrogenic action of the dong quai extract is useful to counteract the estrogen depletion typical of menopause and that causes the correlated effects. For what concerns the effectiveness of the remedy against hot flashes in menopause we can mention also the study performed in 2003 and published on the journal Clinical and experimental obstetrics and gynecology, this study has shown also that dong quai acts without causing any important collateral effects. For what concerns the anti anemic effect of dong quai it is supported by the study carried out in 2007 by a Chinese team and published on Chinese Journal of integrative medicine. You can find dong quai in chemist’s as well as herbalist’s shops. In the form of capsules or mother tincture obtained from the plant roots, in this case you can take 30 drops diluted in water from two to three times a day for treatments of three months. Avoid during pregnancy because it can cause abortion, avoid also during breastfeeding and in small children because of the lack of scientific studies that could confirm the safeness in these cases. When you take the remedy avoid sun exposure because dong quai may make the skin more sensitive and can cause skin irritations. Finally, don’t take the remedy together with drugs that act on the hormonal balance for possible interactions and don’t take in case of hormone dependent cancers.
Able to regulate menstruation, useful in case of heavy periods, anti-anemic and tonic action, useful to counteract hot flashes.