Dang Gui (Chinese Angelica Root) is one of the most important and legendary herbs in traditional Chinese medicine. With a usage dating back nearly 2000 years, Dong Gui is in more than 70 formulas in modern editions of the Chinese Pharmacopeia, including a 13th-century formula that may very well be one of the world’s oldest women’s reproductive health supplements.
By no means, however, is Dang Gui only for women. In fact, from supporting sexual performance to prostate health, Dang Gui may also greatly benefit men.
Let’s learn about the historical uses and modern applications of Dang Gui.
The Historical Uses Of Dang Gui (Chinese Angelica Root)
The first mention of Dang Gui as folk medicine is believed to be the earliest herbal medical compendium in China: The Divine Husbandman’s Classic of Materia Medica” (Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing), which was compiled from 25–220 AD.
Based on its recorded functions in this ancient Materia Medica, Dang Gui seems to be a botanical best friend for women. Especially those going through a challenging menstrual cycle. This is because the actions of Dang Gui replenish and invigorate the Blood and restore comfort to the abdomen.
In addition, another primary ancient use of Dang Gui is helping to moisten the intestines. (Translation: unblock the bowels and encourage elimination.)
Dang Gui: A Key Ingredient In An Ancient Women’s Health Supplement
Fast forward a millennia from the Shen Nong’s botanical opus magnus… Dang Gui makes its first appearance as a women’s health supplement. According to a research study in Drug Design, Development & Therapy, Dang Gui was mentioned in 1247 AD during the Jin Dynasty. During that era, the herb was in one of the simplest formulas in TCM history. Known as DBT, 8 centuries later, it remains very popular for women’s reproductive health.
DBT or Dang-Gui-Bu-Xue-Tang is a two-herb combination of Dang Gui and Huang Qi (Astragalus Root). The functions of DBT are tonifying the blood, and invigorating and replenishing Qi. These are qualities that can help overcome the lethargy and depleted manifestations that arise during the menstrual cycle.
These manifestations are a result of Blood deficiency, according to TCM theory. DBT was used—and is still prescribed by TCM doctors to this day—for tonifying the Qi and generating blood, with symptoms that range from red face, irritability, extreme thirst, fever and headaches. (A TCM doctor would also notice a pale tongue.) Dang Gui is used for any condition or TCM pattern that has blood deficiency as its root cause.
How Does Dang Gui Work?
It depends on which part of the herb is being used. According to a 2017 research review published in the journal, Medicines, Dang Gui can be divided into three distinct parts: the head, body and tail of the plant. These three parts can have different therapeutic effects. For instance, the head is mainly used to stop bleeding, the body nourishes the blood and the tail improves blood flow, sending it to the peripheral parts of the body.
Regardless of what part of the herb is used, or all three parts, according to the Textbook of Natural Medicine 5th edition (2020), Dang Gui has a gentle warming action. And among its many active constituents, two are believed to be responsible for Dang Gui’s relaxing effects on the uterus and abdomen: ligustilide (an essential oil component) and ferulic acid (an antioxidant that boosts the effects of other antioxidants).
Dang Gui seems to be a botanical best friend for women.
Dang Gui, which is also known as “the female ginseng,” may be a woman’s botanical best friend on its own but it’s usually combined with other herbs as mentioned earlier with the example of DBT. Another simple yet fundamental blood tonic formula featuring Dang Gui is Si Wu Tang, which features three additional herbs: Sichuan lovage rhizome (Chuan Xiong), Peony root (Bai Shao), and rehmannia root (Shu Di Huang). Also known as Tonics4, Si Wu Tang may help support menstrual regularity and body comfort during menses.
TCM doctors add Gui Zhi (Cinnamon twig) to Si Wu Tang when Coldness in the uterus produces menstrual discomfort.
Dang Gui For Menopause Support
Dang Gui isn’t just for women still experiencing menstrual cycles. Let’s revisit the 13th century formula, DBT. For hundreds of years, women with menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats have been prescribed to take DBT daily to enrich their “Qi” and nourish their “Blood”, suggests a research study published in Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Modern Applications Of Dang Gui
According to the 2010 edition of the Chinese Pharmacopeia, there’s more to Dang Gui than its use as a Blood tonic. It’s also used to support the respiratory system as it disperses Cold from the body.
In the Far East, Dang Gui is also used to support bowel regularity in the elderly. In addition, Angelica Root may help relax the upper stomach and tonify weak muscles in the lower stomach. This according to the digestive health nutraceutical research company, Iberogast, which is owned by Bayer AG.
Men’s Wellness & More
In addition, Dang Gui has been used in recent times to help support the nervous system, neurological system, and according to a 2019 review of clinical and experimental studies published in Integrative Medicine Research, it has promising potential for supporting men’s prostate health. The review examined the formula Dang Gui Bei Mu Kushen Wan (DBKW). Originally, this formula was used for difficult urination in pregnancy. But four randomized controlled trials (RCTs) showed that taking DBKW for four weeks supported markers of prostate health.
Men may also benefit from Dang Gui for sexual wellness. Especially when it’s combined with other herbs, such as the formula YanVive Plus.
Imagine how much money you could save on supplements if you could find one herb to support: circulation and energy levels; normal inflammation levels; a healthy menstrual cycle; postmenopausal symptoms; male sexual performance; digestion, and a healthy nervous system among other uses.
Your health may be supported by Dang Gui as a stand-alone herb. Or in combination with other herbs in dozens of other formulas.
One of the most widely used herbs in TCM, with 2000 years of history, Dang Gui has earned its reputation as the fundamental herb for resolving Blood Deficiency.
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