Monmouth County's Ask The Doctor September/October 2019

Dong QuaI: The Benefits of an Ancient Chinese Remedy By Pam T el

Angelica Sinensis, a type of herb, also known as Dong Quai, is a female ginseng belonging to the Apiaceae family of plants, which includes parsley, carrots, celery, and coriander. It thrives in cooler temperatures and is typically found in the mountainous regions of China, Japan, and Korea. The plant has been a prime ingredient in Chinese medicine for centuries and was used for everything from relieving depression, to healing constipation, to increasing ones libido. Today, a major use for Dong Quai is to help balance hormones and reduce symptoms of menopause. Many of the health promoting properties of this herb come from the presence of coumarin, which is a naturally occurring compound present in many plants. It also contains ferulic acid and phytosterols. The root is often brewed into an herbal tea and has a taste similar to anise. Some benefits of Dong Quai include: to strengthen bones, along with eating calcium enriched foods, regular physical ac- tivity, and spending some time outdoors to get a good healthy dose of Vitamin D from the Sun. It can also help in reducing Blood Sugar and promote normal blood sugar levels. It may promote heart health by decreasing your cholesterol levels and reducing the risk for heart disease. It also decreases inflammation- It has powerful properties that help reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of chronic inflammation. It helps alleviate the symptoms of Menopause, which is a natural decline in the amount of hormones produced by the ovaries as women age. It may help with depression and have an anti depressant effect when it comes to your mood. Dong Quai has also been used by the Native Americans, the Ayorvedic, and Kampa, in medicines as a cure for anemia, heart disease and high blood sugar. Dong Quai supposedly means “The husband returns back to the wife.” Its roots are harvested and dried and turned into a powder. The root can also be simmered, steamed, slow cooked and infused into soups and broths but it’s much easier to get it in supplement forms, sliced roots or in an extract. It does have some side effects that you should be aware of. Since it contains Coumarin, which is used in blood thinning medications like warfarin, it can increase your risk of bleeding. You also have to be careful about combining it with oth- er natural blood thinners such as ginger, ginko and garlic. Pregnant women are not advised to take this especially when breastfeeding or taking oral birth control pills. It could cause a miscarriage. Always read up on the product first and when in doubt, ask a doctor.

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