Angelica is a wild plant throughout Asia, and in China (especially species A. sinensis) and Japan (type A. acutiloba) is widely cultivated, where women are taken it daily for health. The most common therapeutic form comes from the root of A. sinensis. This plant has a hollow stem, grows up to 2.5 meters and has clumps of white flowers. In full bloom it resembles wild carrots, botanically related species. Angelica is also called dong quai, dang gui and tang hule.
How does it work?
It is believed that this plant maintains uterine health and regulates the menstrual cycle. It can expand blood vessels and increase blood flow through some organs. However, even plant specialists are not sure how efficient angelica is (or is it effecient at all). It is also difficult to evaluate accurate efficiency due to the fact that it is generally taken in combination with other preparations.
MAIN USEFUL EFFECTS: traditionally, angelica is used in the treatment of menstrual and menopausal disorders. It is said to help with irregular bleeding, to remove symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), alleviate menstrual cramps, reduce the frequency of hot flashes and dryness of the vagina in menopause.
There are two theories about the possible usefulness of angelica in these disorders. Some plant experts believe that it contains estrogen (phytoestrogens) weaker than those in the human body, but they can still bind to estrogen receptors. Phytoestrogens effectively establish a hormonal balance – thus, for example, they compensate for a decrease in estrogen after menopause and thus prevent hot flashes.
ADDITIONAL USEFUL EFFECTS: although angelica is not used to lower blood pressure, it is one of the side effects because it enlarges the blood vessels and thus facilitates heart function. Therefore, this plant has a favorable effect on peripheral circulation.
How to take it?
DOSAGE: for PMS, irregular menstrual periods, menstrual spasms and hot flashes: take 600 mg of andelica extract per day. The same effect also has taking 30 drops of tincture three times a day. The extract contained in capsules, tablets and liquid forms should be standardized to contain 0.8-1.1% ligustilide. Another possibility is to take angelica as part of a combination of dietary supplements that contain other herbs with a beneficial effect on menstrual periods, such as hemp, Spanish licorice and Siberian ginseng.
USE GUIDELINES: when used for PMS, angelica is taken during the days when there are no menstrual periods. If you suffer from menstrual cramps, take this plant until the end of the menstrual period. When you want to relieve menstrual cramps, and you do not suffer from PMS, you should start taking angelica preparations the day before the likely beginning of the menstrual period. For hot flashes, take angelica every day for two months to assess whether is it helping you or not.
Possible side effects
Angelica can have a mild laxative effect, but also cause severe menstrual bleeding. When you use angelica preparations, you should be protected from sunlight as psoralenes in this plant can increase the sensitivity to the sun and cause sunburns.
IMPORTANT: pregnant women and women who breastfeed should not take angelica. People who drink medicines that have an effect on blood clotting (anticoagulant) should consult with their doctor before taking angelica.