Angelica sinensis (oliv.) diels of the family Umbelliferae has a fleshy fusiform root. It grows mainly in the Gansu, Guizhou, Shaanxi, Sichuan, and Yunnan provinces of China, and is harvested in the late autumn. The rootlets are removed and it is smoke dried on gentle heat, sliced, and used unprocessed or stir baked with wine.
Chinese angelica is a well-known gynecological medicine, traditionally used to promote blood circulation and to treat menstrual cramps, and chlorotic and puerperal diseases of women. It is also used to treat hemorrhages of all kinds, colds, dyspeptic complaints, and ague, as well as many other health problems. Chinese angelica is one of the best known and most consumed Chinese herbs in China and the United States. It is a powerful blood tonic and antiaging medical herb.
Use of Chinese Angelica Root in TCM
Sweet and pungent in taste, and warm, it acts on the liver, heart, and spleen meridians.
Effects, Medicinal Uses, and Combinations
Treat female menstrual ailments:
For irregular menstruation, amenorrhea, menorrhalgia, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), metrorrhagia, infertility, and menopause, Chinese angelica can be used alone, as in Dang Gui Wan (R-17), or combined with processed rehmannia root, red peony, and cnidium rhizome, as in Si Wu Tang (R-15).
For menstrual problems due to stagnation of the blood, Chinese angelica root is prescribed with cnidium rhizome, red peony root, peach kernel, and carthamus, as in Tao Hong Si Wu Tang (R-16).
For menstrual difficulties, if the condition is mainly due to stagnation of Liver-Qi, Chinese angelica is dispensed with cyperus tuber, bupleurum root, and curcuma root, as in Xuan Yu Tong Jing Tang.
Invigorates blood circulation and stops arthralgia:
For pain due to stagnation of blood circulation, Chinese angelica is mixed with red salvia, mastic, and myrrh, as in Huo Luo Xiao Ling Dan.
For rheumatic arthralgia, Chinese angelica is combined with notopterygium root, siler, and curcuma, as in Juan Bi Tang.
For numbness in the extremities, Chinese angelica is blended with millettia and loranthus. For pain caused by traumatic injuries, it is used with rhubarb, peach kernel, safflower, and bupleurum.
Nourishes the blood: for blood deficiency, with symptoms of a sallow complexion and pale lips, for distension and pain in the chest, dizziness, anorexia, loose stools, irregular menstruation, and cramps, Dang Gui Bu Xue Tang is used. For deficiency of blood, stagnation of Spleen-Qi and Liver-Qi, dizziness, and pale nails, Chinese angelica is prescribed with astragalus root, ginseng, processed rehmannia, white atractylodes rhizome, cinnamon bark, peony, and licorice, as in Shi Quan Da Bu Wan (R-80).
Invigorates both Qi and blood, and strengthens the function of the spleen and stomach: For general debility, loss of appetite, lassitude, and habitual miscarriage, Chinese angelica extract is made into a patent medicine such as Dang Gui Wan (R-17). It can be combined with rehmannia root, cnidium, white peony, poria, white atractylodes, and licorice root, as in Ba Zhen Wan (R-18). A similar formula, Wu Ji Bai Feng Wan (R-19), has been used to treat menstrual disorders, and the deficiency of Qi and blood, with good results.
Nourishes blood and strengthens the function of the spleen and liver: for distension and pain in the chest, dizziness, anorexia, loose stools, irregular menstruation, cramps, headaches, and dry mouth and throat due to a defeciency of blood and stagnation of Spleen-Qi and Liver-Qi. Chinese angelica is combined with bupleurum root, white peony, atractylodes rhizome, poria, licorice root, ginger, and peppermint, as in the popular patent medicine of Xiao Yao Wan (R-41).
When moutan and gardenia are added to the previous recipe (Xiao Yao Wan), a new recipe, Dan Zhi Xiao Yao Wan (R-42), is created, which effectively treats menstrual disorders, menopausal syndrome, emotional imbalance, and depression due to stagnation of Liver-Qi and deficiency of blood.
Helps moisten the bowels: for constipation, Chinese angelica is mixed with cistanche, polygonum, and hemp seed.
In a decoction of 6 to 15 g.
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