There are many species of the angelica plant and dong quai or angelica sinensis is one of the most popular angelica herbs especially in China. This herb which is an important element in traditional Chinese medicine is also known as the Chinese angelica and female ginseng. This is because of its effectiveness in treating gynecological problems and many other women's conditions and diseases such as recovering from childbirth and pelvic pain.
Two of the active ingredients present in angelica sinensis are ferulic acid and coumarin. Both these compounds and others such as phytosterols, polysaccharides and flavonoids produce analgesic, anti inflammatory, antispasmodic and sedative effects.
Angelica root is able to suppress muscle spasms and also reduce pain. It is able to relax muscles including the uterus and dilate blood vessels. Because of its muscle relaxing effect, it is used in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome or PMS. It is also used to restore menstrual cycles especially after stopping the use of contraceptive pills and in the treatment of amenorrhea or the absence of menstruation.
Based on extensive studies done by Chinese and Japanese researchers, angelica sinensis has the potential to support normal blood pressure levels because of its antispasmodic properties. Chinese traditional medicine also uses angelica root to treat inflammation, headaches and nerve pains. Angelica root is also used in treating fatigue and mild anemia.
Dong quai root extract is available in capsules, liquid extract, tablets, root powder and tonic tea. Many of the root extract products are also combined with other herbs for more potent effect. Taking the root extract may help reduce hot flashes, moodiness, lack of drive and restores energy. When taken with vitamin E or combined with milk thistle and chasteberry, it has the ability to boost the reproductive system.
Angelica sinensis root extract is not recommended for pregnant women. High dosage of this herbal extract may cause side effects such as diarrhea and sun sensitivity. It is also not recommended for people who are taking anticoagulant prescription medications.