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Angelica sinensis (Danggui)

Angelica sinensis (Danggui), is a known dried root that is commonly used as a Chinese medicinal herb to enrich blood, promote blood circulation, and treat menstrual disorders such as dysmenorrhea and irregular menstrual cycle (1). 

Angelica Sinensis was first documented in Shennong Bencao Jing (Shennong's Materia Medica; 200-300AD) and has been used as a blood tonic to treat menstrual disorders in East Asia (2). It is known as ‘’female ginseng’’ because it can move and circulate blood flow before the onset of menorrhagia to prevent cramping while nourishing the body and helping the rebuild of the uterus (1,2). Besides dysmenorrhea, angelica sinensis it is known for its use for pelvic pain, recovery from childbirth, and menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. Its constituents are ligustilide, angelic side, and ferulic acid which are known to have an inhibitory effect on uterine movement (6). It should be avoided by patients that take warfarin and antiplatelet drugs as well as during breastfeeding.

Angelica root for menstrual pain

A recent study presented data from three clinical trials and demonstrated that Angelica Sinensis was superior compared to analgesics and placebo for dysmenorrhea (1).

Angelica root for menopausal symptoms

Evidence has demonstrated that the use of Angelica root, known as Dong Quai, has led to a reduction of vasomotor symptoms by 20 to 35 % in patients (4,5), while a study by Burke and colleagues showcased that migraine attacks were reduced by 56 % (3).

1. Lee HW, Jun JH, Kil K-J, et al. Herbal medicine (Danggui Shaoyao San) for treating primary dysmenorrhea: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Maturitas 2016; 85:19–26

2. Chao, W. W., & Lin, B. F. (2011). Bioactivities of major constituents isolated from Angelica sinensis (Danggui). Chinese medicine, 6, 29. 

3. Burke B, Olson R, Cusack B. Randomized controlled trial of phytoestrogen in the prophylactic treatment of menstrual migraine. Biomed Pharmacother. 2002;56:283–8.

4. Rotem C, Kaplan B. Phyto-female complex for the relief of hot flashes, night sweats and quality of sleep: Randomized, controlled, double-blind pilot study. Gynecol Endrocinol. 2007;23:117–22.

5. Hirata JD, Swiersz LM, Zell B, et al. Does dong quai have estrogenic effects in postmenopausal women? A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Fertil Steril. 1997;68:981–6

6. Su S, Hua Y, Duan J, et al. Inhibitory effects of active fraction and its main components of Shaofu Zhuyu decoction on uterus contraction. Am J Chin Med 2010;38:777–87.