Geez Louise, it's HOT in here! Everyone turned to look at me. One lady
sitting on the couch, holding a tiny cup of punch, remarked that my face was
flushed. I asked sweetly, holding up my tiny cup, "Oh, are you saying that I am
"punch drunk?" Everyone laughed. The hostess swore she did not liquor-up the
punch. Crissie commented that I was going through the menopause.
spent the whole time crying at the last get-together, recognized the symptoms
and agreed. All the others were now bobbing their heads up and down like those
silly, little bobble-headed figurines that were on the dash of nearly every car
years ago. Lola informed me that I should try Dong Quai.
The very name of it set
me off in hysterical laughter. She was always the spoilsport of the group, but
still, I stopped laughing and apologized
to her back as she breezily left the room. I never take a pharmaceutical
medicine, Herbal Remedy, or supplement until I research it. So when I returned
home, I immediately booted up my faithful companion, Booter and entered "Dong
quai" into the search engine. My eyes enlarged as I read the details. At first
I thought it was only a spice, but I kept reading.
Dong quai is an herb in the celery family that has been around for thousands of
years, dating from 500 B.C., according to Chinese literature. The plant grows in
the damp and cold high altitude areas in the mountains of Japan, Korea, and
China. Dong quai is a perennial plant has
smooth purple stems that produce clusters of umbrella-like white flowers with
five rounded petals. The mountain sides are adrift in a sweet honey fragrance
during June and July. Its winged fruit begins to develop in July and August.
Referred to as Chinese angelica, tang kuei, toki,
tanggwi, angelica sinensis, and dang quai they are all the same medicinal herb.
Various plants in the herbs genus of Angelica are tall, with leaves on either
side of the sturdy stalk. The flowers grow in umbrella-like clusters of small
white or greenish hues. Angelica, or angelique, Sinensis is the European
name for Dong quai.
Incidentally, Lola did not pronounce Dong quai correctly. If
she had, I probably would not have laughed and she would not be peeved with me.
It is pronounced DON KWAY. Quai means "Compelled to return." And
SO, I will "return" to the same group next week with my newfound knowledge and
pronunciation. (It is not pronounced DONG-KAY!)
HOW THE DONG QUAI PLANT IS USED
For thousands of years, the Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans have harvested the
yellowish-brown, thick-branched roots for spice, tonics and medicine. The plant
is harvest-ready in three years, when its root is at the apex of vigor and
stamina, then it is harvested and formulated into tablets, powders, dried root
slices, dried leaf, raw root or as liquid, extract, tinctures, teas or in
ointments and creams, among other medicinal uses. The Chinese often boil or soak
Dong quai in wine. Only the liquid is swallowed.
DONG QUAI AS A MEDICINE
The root of the Dong quai plant contains folinic acid, folic acid, nicotinic
acid, small amounts of vitamins A and E, biotin, carotene, and pantothenic acid.
The significant amount of vitamin B12 is probably why it was used by ancient
herbalists in the treatment of blood disorders. It is thought that the numerous
unique phytochemicals improve the production of white blood cells. This find is
used in the cure of many types of inflammatory diseases, arthritis being just
one of them. Soon, cancer, liver and kidney diseases may be cured with Dong quai
therapy. Other studies have discovered the root of Dong quai works as an
Clinically, it is being used in the treatment of chest pain,
heart arrhythmia, and hypertension because it dilates the arteries and relaxes
the smooth muscles, which improves blood circulation and heart rate.
Taken orally, Dong quai is used to purify blood, control hypertension, treat
infertility, manage both mild and traumatic injuries, relieve joint pain, and to
treat ulcers. Dong quai is also taken during therapy for de-pigmentation and
psoriasis. It is also used to alleviate stress and promote good sleep. Hepatitis
and cirrhosis are relieved as it speeds oxygen to the liver. Dong quai's mild
laxative factor eases constipation by relieving dry intestine.
Dong quai may have immune system strengthening substances that include: an
anti-allergy factor; the potential to activate lymphocytes; and intensifies
white blood cell activity. It also contains the properties of an analgesic
(lessens muscle and joint pain); anti-inflammatory
(reduces infection); antispasmodic (aids in the control of seizures);
anticoagulant (thins the blood); sedative (calms the nerves), and a diuretic,
which helps the body get rid of water (edema). It may also contain an
anti-bacterial ingredient. An abnormal protein metabolism may
be improved and boosted. Iron-enriched Dong quai corrects the fatigue and low
vitality of anemia and other iron deficiencies by encouraging peripheral blood
vessels to dilate; circulation is increased while cardiovascular conditions/high
blood pressure, inflammation, headache and
nerve pain are calmed.
As a tonic in the blood, Dong quai nourishes cells, tissues, and organs with
emphasis on the hormonal and immune systems. Dong quai contains courmarin, a
phytochemical with a vanilla-like flavor, found in several plants including
cinnamon, cherries, apricots, licorice, lavender,
tonka beans, strawberries, and sweet clover. Courmarin prevents blood clots and
has anti-inflammatory factors. Evidence shows that coumarin and courmarins
create biological activity against HIV, tumors, hypertension, arrhythmia,
inflammation, and osteoporosis. They are also antiseptic and analgesic, useful
in the treatment of asthma and lymphedema.
Dong quai, a Natural Remedy, is known
to increase the metabolism. Asian physicians have implemented it for centuries
as a tonic to nourish the blood, support healthy menstrual cycles, balance
female hormones and bring emotional health during menopause and "perimenopause"
- the time leading up to the menopause. Best known as women's ginseng, Dong quai,
was highly valued by ancient herbalists because of the remarkable effects on
female reproductive health. Clinical research has recently confirmed the
effectiveness of this herbal tonic.
DONG QUAI and ESTROGEN
Dong quai contains plant hormones called phytoestrogens, which are very similar
in chemical structure to natural human hormones. Estrogen plays a vital role in
women's various physical functions; Dong quai increases the estrogen level by
exchanging natural estrogen with
phytoestrogens. Gynecological issues are resolved because the phytoestrogens
balance out natural hormone levels, supplementing estrogen when levels are too
low and opposing estrogen when levels are too high. Traditionally used as a
tonic, Dong quai was used by both men and women, to nourish the blood and to
encourage circulation. It was also utilized to regulate women's hormone levels
ās the main cause of menstrual and menopausal complications. Modern day women
choose this herb after ending birth control or after giving birth. Notably, it
restores hormone balance and also relieves the countless symptoms of menopause.
Hormonal changes affect women of all ages. Unmistakable symptoms become obvious
during their late twenties through the forties. Just before their menstrual
cycles many women undergo hormonal changes.
Mood changes, irritability, painful
cramps, water retention, and crying spells are among the many signs of hormonal
Every month, throughout the menstrual cycle and during perimenopause and
menopause, estrogen and progesterone are made by the female body. The amounts
generated and the ratio between the two hormones can vary. This triggers changes
in mood, skin texture, and hair vitality and growth, as well as in menstruation
itself. A chain reaction is caused by one of the major hormones that affects the
brain: The gonadotropin-releasing hormone alters the functioning of the
hypothalamus which in turn affects the pituitary gland, which then affects the
ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus.
Note: Gonadotropins or Gonadotrophins are glycoprotein hormones protein hormones
secreted by gonadotrope cells of the pituitary gland. Human chorionic
gonadrotropin or human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) is a glycoprotein hormone
produced during pregnancy made by the developing embryo after conception and
later by a certain part of the placenta. The human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG)
hormone is detected in urine and blood pregnancy tests.
DONG QUAI AIDS GYNECOLOGICAL ISSUES IN WOMEN
Dong quai is invaluable in the treatment of a full array of gynecological issues
pertaining to women and in the promotion of their overall health. For instance,
it is classified as an "emmenagogue" - an herb that stimulates blood flow in a
woman's pelvic area and reproductive
organs; some stimulate menstruation, when menstruation has ceased because of
pregnancy, hormonal disorders, or during periods of oligomenorrhea (light or
irregular menses). Painful menstruation or pelvic pain is often relieved as the
menses are regulated, further enhanced by the
mild sedative effect in Dong quai.
For years, women have profited from Dong quai in the treatment of:
- Dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation)
- Amenorrhea (absence of menstruation)
- Menorrhagia (abnormal menstruation)
Dong quai revitalizes the blood which basically supports every system in the
female body. It is beneficial during pregnancy and in childbirth to control
uterine bleeding, decrease pain, ease delivery and to speed recovery.
DONG QUAI for MENOPAUSE RELIEF
Women between the ages of 40 through 50 usually experience some of the symptoms
of menopause, which include mood swings, irritability, emotional fatigue,
irregular bleeding, and lack of memory recall. Estrogen decreases in a woman's
body as her ovaries stop making
hormones and her child bearing days come to an end. There are three principal
sex hormones that women's ovaries produce, but taper off when menopause begins:
As these hormones decrease, symptoms begin to appear.
ESTROGEN DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS
PROGESTERONE DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS
-Memory loss and problems with concentration
Progesterone deficiency is not prominent just at menopause, but is rather an
ongoing problem that causes multiple chronic health problems in women of all
ages such as:
-Increased tendencies toward heart disease
Progesterone deficiencies are difficult to pinpoint since they are less
conspicuous than estrogen deficiencies. Women may not show any of these typical
progesterone-related deficiency symptoms before menopause, but at menopause they
emerge in the extreme.
When testosterone levels are high, women may have irregular periods or none at
all, or an abundance of body hair, including whiskers. Some may have frontal
balding, acne, an enlarged clitoris, increased muscle mass, or a deeper voice. A
decline in testosterone at menopause may be responsible for low libido. Dong
quai works to balance high or low testosterone in the female body. Women with
high levels of testosterone have a greater risk of developing polycystic ovarian
syndrome (PCOS), which is an endocrine disorder. PCOS is linked to elevated
levels of circulating male hormones. Older women with PCOS who possess the
following factors increase their chances for heart disease and liver disease. In
addition, women of childbearing years with PCOS have difficulty becoming
pregnant. They also have symptoms similar to those produced by high
testosterone. Such as:
-an apple-shaped body
-excessive or thinning hair growth
-carbohydrate intolerance -- conditions that make a person prone to gaining
-low levels of HDL -- "good" -- cholesterol
-high LDL -- "bad" -- cholesterol
-high blood pressure
Women's lives are under the influence of countless factors, i.e., nourishment,
lifestyle, exercise, stress, emotions, age, ovulation and more. Hormones govern
every physiologic enterprise within the human body and are responsible for our
every essence of life.
Dong quai is superior in the relief of menopause symptoms by bringing the whole body into balance.
I can't wait to get back to the 'ol gals and let them have it with all my
newfound knowledge. I've been doing some thinking, and I think I am in a group
of irritable, sweating, flushed, depressed, fatigued, memory-shot menopausal
women. We all could benefit from Dong quai.