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Angelica sinensis

Angelica sinensis              

Common name: Dong Quai

Family: Apiaceae

Part used: Root

Constituents:

  • Volatile oil (alkyl phthalides): ligustilide, n-butylidenephthalide, and Z-ligustilide
  • Phytosterols (b-sitosterol)
  • Phenylpropanoids: Ferulic acid & coniferyl ferulate
  • Coumarins & Furanocoumarins (angelol, angelicone and umbelliferone)
  • Flavonoids
  • Vitamins (Beta-Carotene, Vitamin E, folic acid and B12)
  • Polysaccharides

Medicinal Actions:

  • Analgesic
  • Antioxidant
  • Uterine Tonic (Emmenagogue)
  • Hepatorestorative/protective
  • Nervine relaxant
  • Cardiac tonic & Antiarrhythmic
  • Anti-thrombotic (Antiplatelet)
  • Demulcent
  • Laxative (mild)
  • Immunomodulator
  • Anti-tumorogenic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Neuroprotective

Medical uses:

  • Native to China, Korea and Japan. Used in traditional Chinese medicine to tonify, invigorate  and harmonize the blood in cases of deficiency. Is commonly used to support and maintain normal reproductive function.
  • Regulates menstruation in any cases of pelvic congestion or blood stasis. Relieves dysmenorrhea and chronic pelvic pain (e.g. menstrual clots, uterine fibroids, endometriosis), amenorrhea, PMS, menopausal symptoms and infertility. Thought to “lessen pelvic congestion”, and relieve pain from obstructed blood stasis, also acting as a mild laxative.

Pharmacology: 

  • Volatile oils act on the smooth muscle of visceral organs, and will initially stimulate contraction, followed by prolonged relaxation. Ligustilide has demonstrated antispasmodic effects on smooth muscle cells in vitro. Studies indicate that ligustilide, n-butylidenephthalide, and Z-ligustilide may inhibit uterine contractions, decrease platelet aggregation, and exert analgesic, anti-inflammatory effects, anti-proliferative effects, as well as circulatory and respiratory smooth muscle relaxation.
  • Ferulic acid exerts antioxidant, analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. Has been shown to depress stimulation of β-2-adrenergic receptors, thereby reducing experimental pulmonary hypertension, correct experimental atrial fibrillation and is a negative inotropic in the heart. An anti-alzheimer study showed that ferulic acid and coniferyl ferulate had neuroprotective effects. Also inhibits platelet aggregation and serotonin release.
  • Coumarins (dihydropyranocoumarins & dihydrofruanocoumarins) from Umbelliferous plants have been shown to possess significant coronary vasodilatory, spasmolytic and c-AMP phosphodiesterase inhibiting activity. The mechanism of action is largely attributed to calcium channel antagonism. Coumarin compounds are considered immune-enhancing in both healthy and cancer patients, stimulating macrophages and phagocytosis, possibly preventing tumor growth and metastasis.
  • Coumarins and polysaccharides have immune modulating activity, acting as B-lymphocyte mitogens, stimulating interferon production and activating both complement pathways.

Pharmacy:

  • Tincture: (1:2, 40%), 5 ml QD. 35 ml weekly max.
  • Decoction: 3-15 g of dried root QD.
  • Dried herb: 2 grams, TID.

Toxicity:

  • Given its uterine stimulating effect, caution or abstinence is advised during pregnancy.

Contraindications: 

  • Pregnancy.
  • Avoid in diarrhea, hemorrhagic conditions (including tendency to bleeding, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, or very heavy periods/menorrhagia), and acute viral infections.

Interactions: 

  • Potential additive effects alongside anticoagulant medications such as warfarin.

References:

  • Find a complete list of references for this monograph as well as images and a review of its evidence based applications in Dr. Marciano’s Herbal Textbook.

 

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About Marisa Marciano

Naturopathic Herbalist

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