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Chinese Angelica

It is a perennially growing plant. It is native to china. It is found in cool and damp places and shady areas.

Scientific Name: Angelica sinensis

Common Names:

  • Chinese angelicia
  • Dang gul
  • Dong Quai

Synonyms: Angelica polymorpha sinensis

Family: This plant is a member of the family Apiaceae or Umbelliferae.

Medicinal Uses

  • It has effects on one’s mood. When its fragrance is inhaled, the mood lightens. It alters person’s behavior in a positive way. The person gets to look at things with a new eye. This effect is short lived and dose dependent.
  • It has analgesic effect particularly in

a. Menstrual cramps

b. Headache

c. Migraine

d. Sciatica

  • It has cholesterol lowering effects. For this reason, it is recommended for individuals who are obese. It should also be given to everyone above 40 years of age. It overall lowers the serum cholesterol. This is particularly useful in preventing fatal diseases like heart attack, stroke etc in susceptible group of individuals. Its efficacy is same as the latest lipid lowering drugs available in the market. It has added benefit of having lower side effects.
  • It is a potent anti-inflammatory drug. In any infection, it provides relief from

e. Pain of infection

f. Swelling of infection

g. Fever due to infection

h. Prevents disability due to infection

All these effects are achieved through:

  • Decreasing the production of pro-inflammatory mediators
  • Increasing the blood flow to affected area so that waste substances are cleared quickly.
  • Assisting in healing.
  • This is a very good antispasmodic agent and can be used without any side effects for the treatment of muscle cramps in particular (in which it has very good results).
  • It has a unique property of reliving obstructions from ducts of various exocrine glands (e.g. Gall bladder, exocrine pancreas etc) and from other organs whose outlets have small diameter (e.g. kidney). *The exact mechanics are not understood but it is a proven fact that it clears the obstructing substance. Semi-solids and organic substances are cleared more rapidly (within hours) where as inorganic substances may require sometime before they are cleared (days to week). This effect offers an alternate to surgery (e.g. for treatment of pancreatitis caused by gall stones etc).
  • It has many applications in dermatology. Some of them are as

i. As skin cleanser

j. As skin softener

k. For treatment of acne

l. For treatment of oily skin

m. For protection against Ultra Violet rays

  • It contains many substances including vitamin B-12. Vitamin B-12 acts as a tonic for bone marrow in prevention of anemias (megalloblastic and pernicious anemias). It has tonic effects in the following organ systems as well:

n. Liver

o. Stomach

  • It can act as a laxative when more than 200ml of its extract is taken orally. The effect is osmotic laxative effect.
  • It has a mild sedative action for which, it can be used to induce sleep. Its safety for extremes of ages has not yet been established.

Category: Medicine

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