Herbs & Botanicals
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 coastal areas.
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
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
How much dong quai should I take?
Three to four grams a day of dong quai are recommended for
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
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 are fair-skinned.
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.
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