Dang Gui, or Angelica root is commonly referred to as "woman's herb" in Chinese herbal medical circles because of its ability to treat myriad women's health symptoms. It is said to help balance hormone levels; it is used to treat menstrual and menopausal symptoms, including migraine, cramps, mood fluctuations, and hot flashes; and it is also said to help speed a woman's recovery from childbirth.
Angelica root has been well studied in the Western medical world, so it's mechanism of action is known. Angelica root works by relaxing smooth muscles throughout the body, which makes it a potential treatment for a variety of illnesses. Not only does it relax the smooth muscles of the uterus (for women's health issues), but it also keeps the smooth muscles in the arteries dilated, helping to maintain regular blood flow and heartbeat. As such, it has been used to treat angina, high blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat. Some studies have shown that the dilating effects of angelica root may also help treat chronic pulmonary hypertension in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
In addition to it's relaxing effects on smooth muscles, angelica root contains phytochemicals that help boost white blood cell production and fight inflammation, and may improve liver and kidney function. It is traditionally used to treat inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, and is currently being studied for its ability to prevent or treat cancer, liver and kidney disease.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine terms, Angelica Root is said to nourish Blood, slightly invigorate, or move, Blood, and soften the Liver energetic (responsible for stress and tension). It also helps stimulate the intestines to help treat some cases of constipation. Because it is has so many useful functions, angelica root is a common ingredient in many Chinese herbal formulas.
As with all Chinese Herbs, Dang Gui is safe and effective when taken in a formula prescribed by a licensed practitioner. Always consult your Chinese Herbal Medicine provider before use.