4 Health Benefits of Dong Quai Root [Infographic]
Dong quai root has been used in traditional Chinese, Japanese and Korean medicine for thousands of years. Modern research indicates the herb relieves various digestive disorders, normalizes heart function, inhibits certain cancers, and supports women’s health. Dong quai root also has a sweet woody and peppery scent that makes a calming tea infusion.
What is dong quai?
The root of the dong quai plant is highly valued for its medicinal properties. In traditional systems of medicine in many Asian cultures, it was used to support women’s health and for digestive and circulatory health, and hence it is sometimes referred to as the “female ginseng”. It was also used in Native American and Ayurvedic medicine to support cardiovascular health.
The name dong quai was derived from an ancient Chinese folktale. According to legend, an angel appeared to a monk in a dream and told him to use dong quai, which means “state of return” in Chinese, to cure the plague that was ravaging the country. Modern uses of dong quai include osteoporosis, premenstrual syndrome, rheumatism, and constipation.
The health benefits of dong quai root according to research
1. Digestive Health
The roots and leaves of dong quai are commonly used as a digestive stimulant. According to scientific studies, dong quai contains polysaccharides that possess anti-inflammatory action. Researchers believe these compounds may help inhibit the infiltration of certain white blood cells in the gastrointestinal tract.
The roots and rhizomes are currently approved by the German Commission E (Germany’s equivalent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) for digestive disorders such as flatulence and mild gastrointestinal spasms.
2. Heart and Circulatory Health
Research has shown that dong quai root can help normalize heart function and thin blood, which may help prevent blood clotting. Blood clots lead to limited or blocked blood flow, which in turn can cause heart attack, stroke, damage to the body's organs or even death. Dong quai has also been found to promote hematopoiesis (the body’s process of creating new blood cells) and therefore support overall cardiovascular health.
In addition, preliminary clinical evidence suggests that dong quai, in combination with other herbs, reduces the frequency and severity of episodes, and increases exercise tolerance, in people with coronary heart disease.
3. Immunity and Overall Health
Dong quai contains polysaccharides that have demonstrated anticarcinogenic (anti-cancer) activity in animals. Based on various in vitro studies, dong quai extracts were found to exhibit anticarcinogenic and neuroprotective properties, with potential effects against colon cancer and brain tumor growth.
In addition, the herb contains phytochemicals which has been shown to exhibit significant anti-tuberculosis activity. Tuberculosis is an infectious bacterial disease that mainly affects the lungs.
4. Women’s Health
Dong quai is used in traditional Chinese medicine to help regulate the menstrual cycle, and relieve pain and cramps associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). According to modern research, dong quai helps regulate uterine contractions, which may explain its benefits against PMS.
Some clinical evidence suggests that dong quai may also improve menopausal symptoms when used in combination with other constituents. Effects include reducing the frequency and severity of hot flushes, reducing the number of night sweats, and improving sleep quality.
* These are some of the pharmacological actions that have been observed or are under study in various evidence-based research studies. Herb may have other properties not listed here.
The statements on this page are for educational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult your healthcare practitioner prior to the use of any herbal products, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have allergies or medical conditions.
The information has been sourced and extracted from scientific papers, academic journals, research abstracts, and other sources. While Purify Tea makes every effort to present accurate and reliable information on this website, Purify Tea does not endorse, approve, or certify such information, nor does it guarantee the accuracy, completeness, efficiency, timeliness, or correct sequencing of such information. Use of such information is voluntary, and reliance on it should only be undertaken after an independent review of its accuracy, completeness, efficiency, and timeliness. While many traditional or folkloric remedies have a long history of use, modern research has only begun to investigate and substantiate their effectiveness. Research is still ongoing in many areas therefore conclusions are subject to change.
“Angelica.” The Herb Society of America, 2005. Web. June 9, 2016.
Chevallier, Andrew. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. New York, NY: DK Publishing, 2016. Print.
“Dong Quai.” The University of Michigan Health System. University of Michigan, April 14, 2015. Web. June 7, 2016.
“Dong quai.” University of Maryland Medical System. University of Maryland School of Medicine, March 24, 2015. Web. July 23, 2016.
Duke J. A. Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. Natural Agricultural Library. United States Department of Agriculture. Web. June 26, 2016.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Therapeutic Research Center. Web. June 22, 2016.
Nu-Man Tsai, Yi-Lin Chen, Chau-Chin Lee, Po-Chen Lin, Yeung-Leung Cheng, Wen-Liang Chang, Shinn-Zong Lin, Horng-Jyh Harn. “The natural compound n-butylidenephthalide derived from Angelica sinensis inhibits malignant brain tumor growth in vitro and in vivo.” J Nutr. September 2007;137(9):206873.
Shixin Deng, Yuehong Wang, Taichi Inui, Shao-Nong Chen, Norman R Farnsworth, Sanghyun Cho, Scott G Franzblau, Guido F Pauli. “Anti-TB polyynes from the roots of Angelica sinensis.” Phytother Res. September 2005;19(9):7339.
United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Area Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). November 28, 2015, Web. June 26, 2016.
World Health Organization. WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants – Volume 2. Geneva, 2003. Print.
Zhang, Yifang, and Yingzhi Yao. Your Guide to Health with Foods & Herbs: Using the Wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine. New York, NY: Better Link, 2012. Print.
Zisen Hua, Shudan Song, Chunyan Luo, Jianwei Wang, Yaping Wang. “Effect of angelica polysaccharides co-erythropoietin on JAK2/STAT5 signal transduction pathway in hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells.” Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. December 2009;34(24):326871.