Dong quai (Angelica sinensis)
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Dong quai ( Angelica sinensis ) is a member of the plant family Apiaceae, which includes parsley, celery, carrots, and poison hemlock. Dong quai has been used in traditional Chinese, Korean, and Japanese medicine. One of the most popular plants in traditional Chinese medicine, dong quai is often used in combination with other herbs primarily for health conditions in women, especially painful menstruation, anemia associated with menstruation, pregnancy, premenstrual syndrome, pelvic pain, recovery from childbirth or illness, and fatigue or low vitality. In both sexes, it is used for strengthening xue , or blood, for heart conditions, high blood pressure, inflammation, headache, infections, and nerve pain.
Herbal combinations of dong quai are used as a part of formulas for liver and spleen problems. Dong quai is thought to return the body to proper order by nourishing the blood and harmonizing vital energy. The name dong quai translates as "return to order," based on its alleged restorative properties.
Although dong quai has many historical and theoretical uses, there is little human evidence supporting these uses. Most of the available clinical studies have either been poorly designed or reported insignificant results. Also, most have examined combination formulas containing multiple ingredients in addition to dong quai, making it difficult to determine which ingredient may cause certain effects. Better-designed studies are needed before conclusions can be made regarding taking dong quai for any health condition.