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Dong Quai (tang kuei)
What is dong quai?
Like fennel, dong quai (also known as tang keui
or Chinese angelica) is a member of the celery family. A small,
perennial herb found in Japan and the western regions of China,
dong quai typically grows in ravines, river banks and
The root of dong quai is considered one of the most
honored and respected herbs in China. Experts believe it has
been used in Asia for a minimum of 2,000 years to treat everything
from circulatory problems to liver and respiratory conditions.
Why do we need dong quai? What is
it used for?
Dong quai is traditionally believed to have a balancing
effect on the female hormonal system; however, studies have
yet to prove that it has any hormone-like actions. Recent
studies show that dong quai dilates blood vessels,
which can reduce blood pressure. It has also shown to improve
oxygen utilization in the liver, and increases the metabolism
of glutamic acid and cysteine.
Limited studies have employed dong quai as a means
to promote formation of red blood cells, especially in patients
with kidney problems. However, further studies need to be
performed to confirm these findings.
How much dong quai should I take?
Three to four grams a day of dong quai are recommended
What forms of dong quai are available?
Powdered dong quai root is available in several forms,
including capsules, tablets, tinctures and extracts. It can
also be used as a tea.
What can happen if I take too much
dong quai? Are there any interactions I should be aware of?
What precautions should I take?
Dong quai is considered to be of extremely low toxicity.
Nevertheless, some side-effects have been reported. Persons
taking the herb may become more sensitive to sunlight if they
Dong quai may also interact with certain medications,
including anti-inflammatories, diuretics and some lithium-based
drugs. People with diabetes or menorrhagia, or women who are
pregnant or lactating, should not take dong quai.
Other Resources :
More You Know About Nutrition
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BL. Hematopoietic effect of radix angelicae sinensis
in a hemodialysis patient. Am J Kidney Dis 1999;34:34954.
- Foster S, Chongxi Y. Herbal Emissaries.
Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 1992, pp. 65-72.
- Hirata JD et al. Does dong quai
have estrogenic effects in postmenopausal women? A double-blind,
placebo-controlled trial. Fertil Steril 1997;68:9816.
- Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD.
Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals.
London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, pp. 289.
- Qi-bing M, Jing-yi T, Bo C. Advance in
the pharmacological studies of radix angelica sinensis
(oliv) diels (Chinese danggui). Chin Med J 1991;104:776-81.