Dong Quai Root
Related To:
Dong Quai, Xiao Yao, Tang Kuei, Dang Gui, Wild Chin Quai, Kitag

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Cardiovascular Effect

Traditional Use

Within the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) model dong quai is prescribed for conditions of `blood deficiency', a situation that often presents with symptoms including: pale lips and tongue, dull / pale face with sallow complexion, depression and fatigue, poor memory, oligomenorrhea and amenorrhoea). While many of these symptoms may be equated with the Western concepts of anaemia and cardiovascular disease, it is important to realize that conditions diagnosed following a TCM tradition cannot be directly equated with a conventional medical diagnosis.

Cardiac Activity

Several experimental studies suggest that extracts of Angelica sinensis exert an inhibitory action on cardiac muscle contraction. Both aqueous and alcoholic extracts of Angelica sinensis have been shown to antagonize arrhythmias induced by a number of agents (including epinephrifle, strophanthin, digitalis, atropine, datura flower) in both in vivo and in vitro models.6,9,12 A quinidine-like action (prolonged atrial refractory period, lowered cardiac excitability) was demonstrated in anaesthetized dogs given an ether extract of Angelica sinensis root.9,2 In addition, a 2% fluid extract of Angelica sinensis has been shown to markedly increase coronary blood flow and decrease myocardial oxygen consumption in the isolated heart of guinea pigs.9

Miscellaneous Effects


An aqueous decoction of dong quai has been shown to exert a weak anti-microbial action against a variety of bacteria, including: E coli, Salmonella typhi, Shigella dysenteriae.9


When added to the feed of rats (5-6% of diet), Angelica sinensis was shown to reduce or prevent testicular disease resulting from vitamin E deficiency.9

Central Nervous System

Parenteral administration of tang kuei essential oil from Japan has been shown to exert tranquilizing, hypnotic and anaesthetic actions in a variety of animal models.13

Analgesic Action

Dong quai is used within TCM for various conditions associated with pain primarily due to a TCM diagnosis of "blood stagnation." This analgesic action appears dependent on the quality and origin of the pain.