Dong Quai is another star of Chinese traditional medicine. True to the principles of Oriental herbology, it has a balancing effect on the entire body and is more of a holistic remedy for the female body than a specific cure.
The 'female ginseng' has been used for more than 2000 years in the traditional medicine of China, Japan and Korea. Although studies on the effects of Dong Quai are few and far between, the anecdotal evidence of centuries of use is compelling. Dong Quai has been used as a cure for conditions ranging from the menopause and PMS, to heart disease and stomach ulcers.
Its amazing how many herbs and plants originate from the unique botanies of China and Japan. Although it is mostly found in the mountainous regions of these countries, Dong Quai is actually closely related to another effective herb, Angelica, that is found in Scandinavia.
Dong Quai is a member of the celery family that tends to grow in high altitude areas with cold and damp climates. It has been used in Oriental medicine for hundreds of years but is now becoming more popular in Europe and America.
Dong Quai is primarily used by herbologists to treat conditions like PMS, menstrual cramping and other menstrual pain. It is known for its balancing effect on the female body.
Dong Quai contains a compound named Coumarin, which has an anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic effect. It works particularly well on the uterus and can quickly relieve the aching pain of stomach cramps. Another substance, Ferulic Acid, is an effective pain reliever and muscle relaxant that also helps with period pain.
Other constituents of Dong Quai have an antihistamine effect. leading to its use as a cure for respiratory complaints and allergies. And Chinese studies have found it to be effective in lowering blood pressure and treating anemia.
Dong Quai is a popular aphrodisiac in China, although there are no studies backing up its effectiveness. The plant itself is not used as a cuisine, however an extract from the plant is commonly used as flavoring.
The root of Dong Quai is where the power of the herb lies. In China, herbologists extract the active ingredients by boiling the root in wine, then drinking the wine. However, Donq Quai is also available in capsule and tablet form.
On occasion Dong Quai may lead to a greater sensitivity to direct sunlight. If you start to develop a rash on your skin, be sure to consult your doctor. Those with abdominal problems should also steer clear, as Dong Quai's mild laxative effect may exaggerate them.
As always, pregnant women should avoid Donq Quai, and you should consult your doctor before beginning any course.