Herb: Dang Gui


Latin name: Angelica sinensis


Synonyms: Angelica polymorpha sinensis


Family: Umbelliferae



Medicinal use of Dang Gui:

Dang Gui is a well-known Chinese herb that has been used in the treatment of female ailments for thousands of years. Its reputation is perhaps second only to ginseng (Panax ginseng) and it is particularly noted for its "blood tonic" effects on women. The root has a sweet pungent aroma that is very distinctive and it is often used in cooking, which is the best way to take it as a blood tonic. One report says that the root contains vitamin B12 and can be used in the treatment of pernicious anaemia. The root is alterative, analgesic, anticholesterolemic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, deobstruent, emmenagogue, emollient, hepatic, laxative, sedative and peripheral vasodilator. It is commonly used in the treatment of a wide range of women's complaints where it regulates the menstrual cycle and relieves period pain and also to ensure a healthy pregnancy and easy delivery. It is an ideal tonic for women with heavy menstruation who risk becoming anaemic. The water-soluble and non-volatile elements of the root increase the contraction of the uterus whilst the volatile elements can relax the muscle of the uterus. Its use prevents the decrease of liver glycogen and protects the liver. It has an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of various bacteria including Bacillus dysenteriae, Bacillus typhi, B. comma, B. cholerae and haemolytic streptococci. The root is an ingredient of "Four Things Soup", the most widely used woman's tonic in China. The other species used are Rehmannia glutinosa, Ligusticum wallichii and Paeonia lactiflora. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

Flovering:
August to
September

Habitat of the herb:

High ground in cool and damp areas of western and north-western China.

Other uses of Dang Gui:

This plant is said to contain vitamin B12.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe since the seed only has a short viability. Seed can also be sown in the spring, though germination rates will be lower. It requires light for germination. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in the spring. The seed can also be sow in situ as soon as it is ripe.

Cultivation of Dang Gui:

High ground in cool and damp areas of western and north-western China.

Known hazards of Angelica sinensis:

All members of this genus contain furocoumarins, which increase skin sensitivity to sunlight and may cause dermatitis.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.