Angelica sinensis

Angelica sinensis
Dongquai cr.jpg
Scientific classification
A. sinensis
Binomial name
Angelica sinensis
  • Angelica omeiensis C.Q.Yuan & R.H.Shan
  • Angelica wilsonii H.Wolff

Angelica sinensis, commonly known as dong quai( Chinese :当归 ) or "female ginseng" is a herb from the family Apiaceae, indigenous to China. Angelica sinensis grows in cool high altitude mountains in China, Japan, and Korea. The yellowish brown root of the plant is harvested in fall and is a well-known Chinese medicine used over thousands of years.[3]


Use in traditional Chinese medicine[edit]

The dried root of A. sinensis is commonly known as Chinese angelica (Chinese: 當歸; pinyin: dāngguī; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: tong-kui) and is widely used in Chinese traditional medicine in the belief it benefits women's health, cardiovascular conditions, osteoarthrosis, inflammation, headache, infections, mild anemia, fatigue and high blood pressure.[4][unreliable source?][5] The dong quai (當歸) means that a husband shall return to his wife, which is implicitly said to help women's sexual health.

Overall, the U.S. National Library of Medicine states that more evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of dong quai for most uses.[5]

Adverse effects[edit]

There is evidence that A. sinensis may affect the muscles of the uterus. Women who are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant should not use A. sinensis, because it may induce a miscarriage.[5] Taking A. sinensis can cause skin to become extra sensitive to the sun, leading to a greater risk for skin cancer.[5] One case of gynaecomastia has been reported following consumption of dong quai root powder pills.[6] Large and prolonged doses of the plant is not advised as it contains compounds that are considered carcinogenic.[5]

Drug interactions[edit]

A. sinensis may increase the anticoagulant effects of the drug warfarin (as it contains coumarins[7]) and consequently increase the risk of bleeding.[8]

Due to the antiplatelet and anticoagulant effects of A. sinensis, it should be taken with caution with herbs or supplements (such as ginkgo, garlic, and ginger) that may slow blood clotting to reduce the possible risk of bleeding and bruising.[5][9]


The plant's chemical constituents include phytosterols, polysaccharides, ligustilide, butylphthalide, cnidilide, isoenidilide, p-cymene, ferulate, and flavonoids.[10] When isolated from the plant, one of the chemicals, angelica polysaccharide sulfate, has in vitro antioxidant activity.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Angelica sinensis". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2012-06-30.
  2. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  3. ^ "Dong quai". University of Maryland Medical Center.
  4. ^ "Angelica sinensis / Dong Quai". Golden Lotus Botanicals.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Dong Quai". Medline Plus. NIH.
  6. ^ Goh, S. Y.; Loh, K. C. (2001). "Gynaecomastia and the Herbal Tonic Dong Quai". Singapore Medical Journal. 42 (3): 115–116. PMID 11405562.
  7. ^ Simultaneous quantification of six main active constituents in Chinese Angelica by high-performance liquid chromatography with photodiode array detector
  8. ^ Page, R. L.; Lawrence, J. D. (1999). "Potentiation of Warfarin by Dong Quai". Pharmacotherapy. 19 (7): 870–876. doi:10.1592/phco.19.10.870.31558. PMID 10417036.
  9. ^ HH, Tsai (2013). "A review of potential harmful interactions between anticoagulant/antiplatelet agents and Chinese herbal medicines". PLOS ONE. 8 (5): e64255. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064255. PMC 3650066. PMID 23671711.
  10. ^ Zhao, K. J.; Dong, T. T.; Tu, P. F.; Song, Z. H.; Lo, C. K.; Tsim, K. W. (2003). "Molecular Genetic and Chemical Assessment of Radix Angelica (Danggui) in China". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 51 (9): 2576–2583. doi:10.1021/jf026178h. PMID 12696940.
  11. ^ Jia, M.; Yang, T. H.; Yao, X. J.; Meng, J.; Meng, J. R.; Mei, Q. B. (2007). 当归多聚糖硫酸盐的抗氧化作用 [Anti-oxidative effect of Angelica polysaccharide sulphate]. Zhong Yao Cai (in Chinese). 30 (2): 185–188. PMID 17571770.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Angelica sinensis at Wikimedia Commons