Latin: Angelica sinensis
Parts Used: Root
Taste/Energetics: Sweet, bitter, spicy, warming
Properties: Blood tonic, emmenagogue, analgesic, mild laxative
Actions: Dong quai is a premier Chines tonic herb that is primarily offered to women as a “blood tonic”, useful for women who appear pale, deficient with scanty painful menstruation. Because it is also gently stimulating it is helpful for promoting menstruation, improving digestion and circulation. Like many “blood building” herbs, it is filled with minerals and vitamins. Because of its gently stimulating, blood building and circulatory qualities it is useful for those who feel stuck, depleted, tense and wiry. Not only does it build blood but it circulates it more freely and helps bring nutrients throughout the body. Its in one of the main Chinese formulas (Free and Easy Wanderer) for people who feel depressed, anxious, stuck and frustrated.
Dose: Because it is such a nutrient rich herb I tend to think this herb is best taken in whole form in larger doses than found in capsules. Traditionally a capsule might only hold 500 mg (1/2 a gram) of material while a good proper dose would be 5-10 grams a day (1-2 tablespoons) in a decoction using a pint of water. For its circulating and moving qualities the tincture can be taken in 1-2 ml doses twice a day.
Contraindications: Not to be used in pregnancy, those with uterine fibroids, cancer, those using blood thinners