Also known as Chinese angelica root, dong quai is used by Chinese herbalists as a treatment for several gynecological complaints. Look for a long, moist, oily plant as the source of the root, which has brown bark and a white cross section. The fragrant herb is characterized as sweet, acrid, bitter and warm, according to traditional Chinese medicine.
Taken internally for:
This root is widely available in bulk and in tablet form at Chinese pharmacies, Asian markets and Western health food stores. You should avoid the herb if it is dry or has a greenish brown cross section. Frying the herb in vinegar or wine improves its tonic effect on blood circulation. Toasting it to ash increases its ability to stop bleeding.
Combinations: Mixed with astragalus, dong quai provides a tonic for treating fatigue and other symptoms associated with loss of blood. A blend of dong quai, white peony root, Chinese foxglove root cooked in wine, and cnidium root (Ligusticum chuanxiong) is prescribed for menstrual irregularity and similar conditions. Dong quai is also combined with honeysuckle flowers and red peony root to form a preparation that reduces the swelling and alleviates the pain of abscesses and sores. Consult a Chinese medicine practitioner for further information on mixtures and doses.