Angelica polymorpha sinensis, Chinese angelica, Dang qui
- Indications with possible efficacy:
- Other indications with no proof of efficacy:
Central nervous system stimulant
Prevention and treatment of allergic attacks
Symptoms of menopause (when used alone)
- Risk of Drug Interactions: High
- Adverse Effects: Frequent
Part of the plant used: roots
Dong quai is an aromatic herb commonly used throughout the Orient. This plant has been used in combination with other herbs for centuries as part of Chinese traditional medicine to treat gynecological ailments such as menstrual cramps or irregularities. There are several proposed used for dong quai: gynecological problems, symptoms of menopause, hypertension, rheumatism, anemia, constipation and many others. In most situations, its efficacy has failed to be established. Coumarin derivatives are extracted from the roots. The root also contain psoralens, which are photosensitizing and can cause severe skin reactions upon sun exposure. In addition, these psoralens are mutagenic and carcinogenic.
Direction of use
- Usual doses:
Recommended dosages variation is important and usually it is used in combination with other herbs. Typically, doses ranging from 3 to 4 grams per day are taken in 3 divided doses with meals.
- Side effects
The risks associated with the use of dong quai are difficult to establish. With normal doses, the product does not appear to be associated with any severe toxicity. Large doses could result in severe skin reaction when exposed to the sun. Even though dong quai is classified as a potentially unsafe drug (carcinogenic and mutagenic potential), it has been used for centuries in Chinese traditional medicine without incidents.
Use with caution if you are suffering from hypotension or bleedings.
Dong quai may potentiate the effects of antiplatelet agents and warfarin (Coumadin™). Before taking dong quai, check with your pharmacist to make sure that there are no interactions with your regular medications.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Most authors agree that dong quai should not be used during pregnancy and breast-feeding.
- Dong quai has been used in combination with other herbs for centuries in Chinese traditional medicine, mainly to treat gynecological ailments.
In 2004, Canada adopted new regulations that control the manufacturing, packaging, labeling and importing of natural health products. The new regulations also include an adverse reaction reporting system. Products that conform to the regulation's criteria are identified with a natural product number (NPN) and can be legally sold in Canada. This number indicates that the product meets specific criteria for safety and purity, not that it is effective for any indication.
Medicinal plant contents vary naturally from plant to plant - just as fruits from the same package may vary in taste and texture. There is no standard to measure the active content of each plant. Thus, efficacy of natural products should be expected to vary from brand to brand as well as from bottle to bottle of the same brand.
For more information about the Natural Health Products Regulations, or to check if a product has been assessed, visit the Health Canada website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/index-eng.php.
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- Peirce, Andrea. Practical Guide to Natural Medicines, APha, 1999
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- Passeportsanté.net. Angélique chinoise. www.passeportsante.net
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- Taylor J. CE: Phytomedicinals: Uses, precautions, and drug interactions. Drug Topics 2003;1:79
- Natural Therapeutics Pocket Guide, 2000-2001
- The Review of Natural Products, 6th Edition, 2010
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