Dang Gui (Radix Angelica Sinensis)
Dang means “should”, Gui means “return”. The herb of Dang Gui has a story. “In the ancient time, a lady failed to get pregnant for years because of her menstrual problems. Her husband was so angry and left home. The lady was very sad and went to see a Doctor. The doctor gave her the herb Gang gui. She started taking it everyday. After a while, her menstruation got back to normal. She was told by the doctor she was ready to get pregnant. The smart lady wanted her husband to come back. She did not know how to write, so she asked somebody to send a piece of Dang gui to her husband as a message for her. The husband saw the herb Dang Gui (Should return). He understood it was the time for him to go home. They had children soon after he went home. The whole family were living together happily in the rest of life.” In Chinese culture, Dang Gui is not only a precious herb, but also a love token between lovers.
This herb in shape can be classified as two parts, the body and the tail (the sharp part). This herb can both nourish blood (the body part) and move blood (the sharp part). Since menstrual flow depends on gathering of blood and movement of blood to the uterus, disorders of the menstruation, such as irregular menstruation, amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea, etc. could be caused by either blood deficiency or stagnation of blood, or both. That is why Dang Gui serves as a very important herb in treating menstrual disorders. In terms of modern research, Dang Gui contains some female hormones that why it is so important for women’s problems.
Dang Gui can move blood, but it is also a warm herb. So it is a good herb at relieving pain caused by blood deficiency and stasis. That is why it is also used to treat abdominal pain due to deficiency cold, pain due to blood stasis, traumatic injury and numbness of limbs in Bi syndrome.
Pharmaceutical name: Radix Angelicae sinensis
Latin botanical name: Angelica polymorpha Maxim. var sinensis Olive
Properties (characteristics): sweet, acrid, bitter, warm
Channels (meridians) entered: heart, liver, spleen channels
Actions & Indications: Tonic for blood and for regulating the menses, lubricates bowels to correct constipation, reduces swelling, expels pus, relieves pain. Dang gui wei (tail) is being used in condition of blood stasis and clots.
1. effects on uterus: experiments showed that it can have inhibiting and stimulating effects on uterus (outside the bodies ) of lab animals.
2. effects on blood: lowers lipids, anti platelet coagulation, and promotes production of red cells.
3. effects on circulatory system: tests showed that it can dilate the coronary arteries of guinea pigs and improve circulation volume. It can protect rat with arrhythmia.
4. anti oxidation and rid of free radicals
5. anti injuries of radiation
6. improve immune system
7. anti cancer: Research showed using the five polysaccharides of ming xian dang gui inhibited the EC, Hep, S180, Lewis B16 inplanted tumors of rats up to 39%. It has little side effects and can be used for long period of time. (But there are also reports that mention frequent ingesting of ginseng and dang gui may promote the multiplying of breast cancer cells. Chinese site)
8. anti inflammatory
9. protects digestive system (including liver)
Present Day Applications:
1.stroke due to lack of blood circulation
2. sickle cell anemia
4. phlebitis due to thrombosis
5. hardening of arteries of the brain
6. chronic thrombosis of the lung and high pressure of the lung arteries.
7. tip of breast bone syndromes
10. liver diseases
11. acute kidney infection
12. bleeding of upper digestive tract
13. chronic constipation
14. fissure of anus
15. pain during menses
16. prolapse of uterus
17. inflammation of pelvic area
18. pain caused by abortion
20. inflammation of penis
21. inflammation of surface vein
22. inflammation of shoulders
23. inflammation of soft ribs
24. pain in lower back and legs
25. pain after chest surgery
26. joints of jaw dysfunction
27. herpes shingles
28. rash and measles
Samples of formulae:
ba zhen tang 八珍湯
dang gui jian zhong tang 當歸健中湯
dang gui long hui wan 當歸龍薈丸
gui pi tang 歸脾湯,
jiao ai tang膠艾湯,
Li Dong Yuan qing feng san 李東垣清風散,
tuo hua jian 脫花煎
sheng hua tang, 生化湯
shi quan da bu tang﹐十全大補湯,
si wu tang四物湯,
Do not use in case of damp is high with fullness/flatulence and chronic diarrhea. See yeast infection.
Some women after menopause or some men do not tolerate long term usage or large dosages.
Over cooking may lessen the effectiveness because of the evaporating oil.