Angelica sinensis

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Angelica sinensis
Dongquai cr.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Angelica
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 (simplified Chinese: 当归; traditional Chinese: 當歸) or female ginseng, is a herb belonging to 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 the fall and is a well-known Chinese medicine which has been used for thousands of years.[3]


Growing environment[edit]

Angelica is a low-temperature and long-sunshine crop, suitable for cold and cool climate, and can be cultivated at an altitude of 1500-3000m. The rate of lichen extraction is high in the low sea area. The seedling stage is shade-loving and the transmittance is 10%. Seedlings need to be kept out of direct sunlight, but the mature plant can withstand it. The growth of angelica should be cultivated in sandy loam with deep soil layer, loose soil, good drainage, and rich humus, not in low-lying water or easily hardened clay and barren sandy soil.[4]

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, osteoarthritis, inflammation, headache, infections, mild anemia, fatigue and high blood pressure.[5][unreliable source?][6] 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.[6]

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.[6] Taking A. sinensis can cause skin to become extra sensitive to the sun, leading to a greater risk for skin cancer.[6] One case of gynaecomastia has been reported following consumption of dong quai root powder pills.[7]

Drug interactions[edit]

A. sinensis may increase the anticoagulant effects of the drug warfarin (as it contains coumarins[8]) and consequently increase the risk of bleeding.[9]

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.[6][10]


The plant's chemical constituents include phytosterols, polysaccharides, ligustilide, butylphthalide, cnidilide, isoenidilide, p-cymene, ferulate, and flavonoids.[11] When isolated from the plant, one of the chemicals, angelica polysaccharide sulfate, has in vitro antioxidant activity.[12]

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". PharmNet. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  5. ^ "Angelica sinensis / Dong Quai". Golden Lotus Botanicals.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Dong Quai". Medline Plus. NIH.
  7. ^ Goh, S. Y.; Loh, K. C. (2001). "Gynaecomastia and the Herbal Tonic Dong Quai". Singapore Medical Journal. 42 (3): 115–116. PMID 11405562.
  8. ^ Ying, Li; Si-Wang, Wang; Hong-Hai, Tu; Wei, Cao (2013). "Simultaneous quantification of six main active constituents in Chinese Angelica by high-performance liquid chromatography with photodiode array detector". Pharmacognosy Magazine. 9 (34): 114–119. doi:10.4103/0973-1296.111255. PMC 3680850. PMID 23772106.
  9. ^ Page, Robert Lee; Lawrence, Julie D. (July 1999). "Potentiation of Warfarin by Dong Quai". Pharmacotherapy. 19 (7): 870–876. doi:10.1592/phco.19.10.870.31558. PMID 10417036.
  10. ^ Tsai, Hsin-Hui; Lin, Hsiang-Wen; Lu, Ying-Hung; Chen, Yi-Ling; Mahady, Gail B.; Cox, Dermot (9 May 2013). "A Review of Potential Harmful Interactions between Anticoagulant/Antiplatelet Agents and Chinese Herbal Medicines". PLOS ONE. 8 (5): e64255. Bibcode:2013PLoSO...864255T. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064255. PMC 3650066. PMID 23671711.
  11. ^ Zhao, Kui J.; Dong, Tina T. X.; Tu, Peng F.; Song, Zong H.; Lo, Chun K.; Tsim, Karl W. K. (April 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.
  12. ^ Jia, Min; Yang, Tie-hong; Yao, Xiu-juan; Meng, Jia; Meng, Jing-ru; Mei, Qi-bing (February 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): 185–8. PMID 17571770.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Angelica sinensis at Wikimedia Commons