Dang Gui, Dong Quai, Angelica Sinensis Herb of the WeekSean Russell
Dang Gui is an extremely powerful herb that is part of the Angelica family. Dang Gui is also known as Dong Quai, Tang Kuei, Dang Gwi, and sometimes Qin Gui. The latin name is Angelica Sinensis and is 1 of 3 major herbs used in the Angelica Family in Chinese Medicine. There really is no common name, it is known as Dang Gui but written in the West sometimes as Tang Kuei which is a ‘translation’ in Wade-Giles instead of Pin Yin. Dang Gui is very useful and has many functions that are very tonifying and nourishing.
I am going to talk to you about 2 ‘versions’ of Dang Gui, the body and tail. The body of Dang Gui is typically known simply as Dang Gui or the name can change depending on the way its cut. For example a flat cross cut can be sold as Dang Gui Pian, but this is still simply the body of the herb. The other more common way to buy Dang Gui is buying just the tails of the root called Dang Gui Wei. I will save the following debate on the other possible ways in existence to buy this herb and just concentrate on these 2 versions and WHY these 2 versions exist and their importance.
Dang Gui has 2 main functions: Tonify Blood and Move (invigorate) Blood. The higher up the herb you go, called the head, the more of a blood tonic it is. The bottom or tail has more of a movement of blood quality the further down you go. So let’s talk about them separately first then have some commentary on both of them.
Dang Gui Herbal Uses-
Build blood, regulate menses, and nourish skin and body.
Dang Gui Wei Herbal Uses-
Used to move blood for stasis of blood while nourishing.
The entire root is warming, moving and very tonifying.
This herb belongs to the ‘Blood Builder’ category, or simply Tonify Blood.
Dosage can range from quite a normal dosage of 3-9 grams or higher dosages up to 15 grams daily can be used when needed or to ‘kick start’ a treatment.
Dang Gui has no real side-effects in normal oral and topical applications. For those of you using injections, you can email me :). This is without a doubt a main tonic herb, but I will explain why even this tonic has no side-effects where other still do!
Dang Gui Herbal Uses-
Dang Gui is given the name ‘The Most Precious of All Womens Herbs’. Women in the West are unfortunately victims of irregular menstruation typically on a daily basis. In the West the simple fix is to take birth control. In other countries and sometimes America many find relief through herbal and other medicine. So let me explain this in a pretty simple complex. Women have the job of building up and getting rid of blood monthly. Sometimes this is too much a loss of blood, the flow is not ‘fluid’ and has stasis, and sometimes there is a problem building up this blood. Any of these problems lead to pain, irregular menses, cramps, and abdominal pain. This herb by itself builds blood and moves blood. These are basically the 2 fundamental problems of irregular menses and this 1 herb covers both. This also gives this herb another unique property in that you don’t need to use 2 herbs to build blood. Typically we use an herb to build blood and another herb to move blood so that there is no ‘sticky’ factor involved in just building. When you have an herb that builds and moves you have all your basis covered here.
Dang Gui is also a moistening herb. Internally this helps moisten the intestines for your stool. Externally this helps with moistening and generating flesh in the case of burns, sores, and rashes.
Dang Gui Wei Herbal Uses-
As a traumatology practitioner and herbal first aid lover it is people like me that make sure they also buy the tails separately for certain instances. When you want to buy Dang Gui and have a higher ratio of blood moving property than blood building you simply pick up some Dan Gui Wei. This makes for a perfect blood mover as you still have nourishment, blood building, and most of all this is very reliable herb! The tails make a perfect ingredient for liniment, plasters, and because it’s moistening makes excellent oil and balm especially those for burns and such. Since most companies cut the tail directly off, you can also add a bit of the tail to any formula using the body if a moving action is needed.
Dang Gui is a very common, important, and useful herb. However, many people forget ALL of the functions of Dang Gui which can make it important in many different ways.
Moisten Intestines for Dry Stool
Reduces Swelling, Expel Pus, and Generate Flesh
As you can see if you can remember all of these functions you can see WHY this herb is used in trauma medicine, used in burn balm, works great in liniment, and is a great overall herb for Women to take monthly.