Dang Gui – Angelica sinensis root – “State of Return”

Nature: sweet, acrid, warm

Enters: Liver, Heart, Spleen

Actions: Nourishes blood; promotes blood (and Qi) circulation; harmonizes the blood; relieves pain; moistens the large intestine; regulates the menses; disperses cold; reduces swelling; expels pus; generates flesh.

• For any form of blood deficiency.
• Blood deficiency and stagnation: irregular menses, dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea.
• Blood deficiency: ashen face, tinnitus, blurry vision, palpitations.
• Blood deficiency with chronic wind-damp Bi syndrome.
• Blood deficiency and cold: abdominal pain.
• Blood stasis (especially with cold from deficiency): pain, traumatic injury, Bi, carbuncles/boils.
• Blood deficiency leading to large intestine dryness: constipation.
• Useful for some sores or abscesses (where blood deficiency and stasis are involved).
Dang gui’s combination of nourishing and moving qualities means that it can nourish blood without blocking it and it can move blood without depleting it.
• Injected into acupoints in China for pain (neuralgias, ischemic, arthritis – this form of therapy is not used for acute pain, tumors, infections).
• May reduce vascular plaque formation.
• Compared to Bai shao, both are used for pain and blood deficiency patterns. Bai shao is more appropriate for blood deficiency accompanied by heat, while Dang gui is used more for blood deficiency accompanied by cold.
• Doctrine of signatures (to my eye, anyway [PLB]): shaped like a uterus.
• The four parts of Dang gui:
Dang Gui Tou: head of the root. Most tonifying, less ability to promote blood circulation. DY: Quickens the blood and stops bleeding. Often stir-fried until carbonized to reinforce its hemostatic action.
• Dang Gui Shen: body of the root. Slightly more tonifying than moving.
• Dang Gui Wei: tail of the root. More moving than tonifying. DY: Quickens the blood and breaks blood stasis. This part if often wine-processed to reinforce its action.
Dang Gui Xu: the beard of Dang gui – the rootlets of the main and secondary roots. DY: Dang gui xu quickens the blood and frees the flow of the network vessels. This part is often wine-processed to reinforce its action.
Quan Dang Gui: the entire root, which includes the four parts mentioned above. DY: It harmonizes the blood. Li Dong Yuan said, “The head stops bleeding and is directed upwards. The body nourishes the blood and is fixed to the center. The tails break the blood and flow downward. The whole root quickens the blood and treats everything.”
MLT: Rich in nutrients, including vitamin B-12, folic acid, biotin.
• Stimulates hematopoeisis; also has antiplatelet action.
• One compound stimulates the uterus while another relaxes it and increases DNA synthesis and growth of uterine tissue.
• For all forms of anemia, including pernicious.
BII: Regulates estrogen, tones the uterus.
Yoga: Choraka: VPK=; P+ (in excess)
• Tonic, emmenagogue, rejuvenative (especially for Vata), diaphoretic, antispasmodic, analgesic, anti-arthritic.
• Topical: for wounds, ulcers, itching, and to nourish and beautify the skin.
Hsu: The non-volatile water-soluble compounds stimulate uterine muscle, while the volatile oil inhibits (relaxes) uterine muscle.
• Therefore, to contract the uterus, decoct for a long time (cook off the volatile oil).
• To relax the uterus, add Dang gui at the end and cook over low heat and/or for short duration.
PFGC: Li Dong Yuan said the head of Dang gui controls bleeding and entices its effect to go upward, the body nourishes blood and keeps its effect in the central region, and the tail cracks blood and causes its effect to go down. The entire plant [taken as a whole] vitalizes blood but does not much move around the body.
• With Chuan xiong, Dang gui gains the momentum of budding growth and nourishment.
• With Bai shao, the combination is an essential remedy to rescue Yin and astringe Yang.
Dang gui can harmonize blood in cases of Qi rebellion resulting in coughing – once the blood is harmonized, the Qi will descend.
Dang gui can disperse cold stasis causing diarrhea, abdominal pain, lumbar pain, or headache.
• For disorders of the Chong Mai manifesting in Qi counterflow and internal distress.
• Disorders of Dai Mai manifesting in abdominal pain and a sensation of the lumbar region being submerged in water.
• Dry skin due to undernourished flesh and muscles.
• Can moisten Lung dryness, can smooth aggravation of liver wood.
• Its moistening effect reaches all tissues and muscles.
• Can move blood and control bleeding – useful for hematemesis and epistaxis (for this use, it is best to fry it in vinegar to emphasize its descending effect.
• Its ability to disperse the surface is weak, but it is still an excellent remedy to dispel wind (by moving blood) – good for post-partum seizures.
HF: A supplement with an anti-Gu nature, possessing acrid, toxin-resolving qualities, useful in Gu Zheng (Gu parasites) formulas.
DY: Dispels stasis; downbears the Qi, stops cough, and calms asthma.
Dang gui is probably the best Chinese herb for treating blood stasis due to blood deficiency or accompanied by blood deficiency.
Dang gui, or rather Quan dang gui (whole Dang gui), harmonizes the blood. Harmonizing the blood is a term which (in the Chinese materia medica) is almost specific to Dang gui. This is because Dang gui is one of the few medicinal substances which nourishes and moves the blood simultaneously (other substances which possess both properties only mildly nourish the blood).
• To stop cough and calm asthma, the whole herb (Quan dang gui) should be used.
Dang gui and Shu di are probably the two most effective medicinal substances for treating constipation due to blood deficiency. Dang gui you, the oil extracted from Dang gui, is particularly indicated for nourishing the blood, moistening dryness, moistening the intestines, and promoting defecation.
• With Chuan xiong to move the Qi and quicken the blood without damaging the blood, to nourish the blood without producing stasis, to dispel stasis and stop pain. For the following indications, both herbs should be wine-processed, though uncooked Chuan xiong may be used in the case of headaches or dermatological problems:
– 1. Menstrual irregularities, dysmenorrhea, and postpartum abdominal pain due to blood stasis that may be mixed with Qi stagnation. (Xiong Gui San)
– 2. Rheumatic pain due to wind-dampness and blood vacuity.
– 3. Headaches due to blood deficiency and/or blood stasis. (Jia Wei Si Wu Tang)
– 4. Wounds, ulcers, or enduring cutaneous inflammations due to Qi and blood vacuity with Qi and blood stagnation. (Tou Nong San)
• With Huang qi to supplement the Qi to strongly engender and transform blood, to effectively supplement the Qi and blood. For the following indications, wine mix-fried Dang gui and honey mix-fried Huang qi should be used. Also, the whole Dang gui root (Quan dang gui) or the body of Dang gui (Dang gui or Dang gui shen) should be used. The dosage of Dang gui for the following indications should be relatively low if there is Qi deficiency and weakness in the middle burner.
– 1. Delayed menstruation (a long cycle), postpartum weakness, agalactia due to Qi and blood deficiency. (Shi Quan Da Bu Tang)
– 2. Low-grade fever caused by blood deficiency. (Dang Gui Bu Xue Tang) Wu Kun of the Ming dynasty said, “When the blood is full, the body is cool. When the blood is vacuous, the body is warm.”
– 3. Sores and welling abscesses that do not heal, due to blood and Qi deficiency. (Tou Nong San)
– 4. Numbness of the limbs due to deficient blood not nourishing the sinews.
– 5. Various hemorrhages due to Qi not containing the blood within the vessels. (Dang Gui Bu Xue Tang)
• With Shu di to nourish blood, enrich Yin, supplement the liver and kidneys, downbear the Lung Qi and promote Qi intake by the kidneys, stop cough, and calm asthma. For indications such as:
– 1. Chronic cough and/or asthma due to Yin deficiency of the kidneys associated with blood deficiency. If there is blood deficiency, Qi lacks its root. This can create an imbalance in the upbearing and downbearing function of the Qi with Lung Qi deficiency. If the kidneys are weak, they cannot insure their function of Qi intake. This then results in Qi counterflow and asthma. For these indications, this combination can be found in Jin Shui Liu Jun Jian.
– 2. Blood deficiency. (Si Wu Tang)
– 3. Constipation due to blood deficiency.
PCBDP: In a clinical trial, it was shown to be effective in improving abnormal protein metabolism in 60% of patients with chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis of the liver, and it increased the erythrocyte and platelet count in many patients.

Dose: 3-15g

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