Dong quai: Where in the World
habitat and range for dong quai

Dong quai is native to China, Korea and Japan.

Dong quai: A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information about dong quai

Angelica sinensis is a perennial of the Apiaceae family growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.7 m (2ft 4in). It is hardy to zone 7 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Aug to September, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by insects. The plant is self-fertile.

common names & nomenclature
The common name Dong quai translates from Chinese to mean "state of return."

Also known as:
chinese angelica, female ginseng, dong quai, dong-quei, tang-kuei, angelica, dang-qui

Dong quai: Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting dong quai

Dong quai grows on high ground in cool and damp areas of western and north-western China, grows in part sun or in shady forests.

The hardy plant thrives best on rich, moist, well drained loam soils.

Sow seeds 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, transplant the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter, planting them out into their permanent locations in the spring.

The root is harvested in the autumn or winter and dried for later use as cut pieces or powder.

Store dried root pieces or powder in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Dong quai: The Rest of the Story
dong quai history, folklore, literature & more

Dong quai root, also known as Angelica sinensis, is a moisture-loving plant native to China that is closely related to celery. As a medicinal herb, dong quai is known in many traditional healing systems, including Native American, Chinese, Ayurveda and Kampo medicine. It is traditionally used to treat high blood pressure, anemia, high blood sugar, poor circulation and heart disease. Although these uses apply to both men and women, dong quai root is best known as a natural treatment for painful or prolonged menstruation, endometriosis and unpleasant symptoms associated with menopause. In fact, another common name for this herb is female ginseng.

The medicinal properties of dong quai root are due to the presence of coumarin compounds and various phytosterols. The root also contains ferulic acid, a therapeutic agent used to treat cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disorders. The plant sterols in dong quai root exert estrogenic effects that help to offset menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes. According to the National Institutes of Health, topical preparations of the root may also benefit men suffering from premature ejaculation. Products used for this purpose typically consist of a cream formulated with powdered dong quai and other herbs, such as Panax ginseng.

Dong quai is usually taken in capsule form in doses of 1-4 g dried root per day. Be aware that light-skinned individuals may experience increased photosensitivity while taking this herb. In addition, due to the estrogenic effects of dong quai, you should not use this herb during pregnancy, lactation or if you have a history of a hormone-driven disease, such as breast cancer. Dong quai may also increase the effects of other medications, especially anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs.