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Dāng Guī 當歸

Pharmaceutical name Angelicae sinensis Radix tangkuei, Chinese angelica root “state of return” (women’s herb)
Category Tonify Blood
Key Properties Tonifies the blood
Invigorates the blood
Regulates menstruation
Alleviates pain
Properties Sweet
Tropism HT, LV, SP
Actions & Indications 1) Tonifies the Blood & Regulates the Menses
2) Invigorates & Harmonizes the Blood and Disperses Cold
3) Moistens the Intestines & Unblocks the Bowels
4) Reduces Swelling, Expels Pus, Generates Flesh & Alleviates Pain
5) Treats Cough (adjunctive herb)
Dosages 4.5-15g
Contraindications (TCM) Excess conditions or Yin Deficiency heat signs
Caution with diarrhea or abdominal fullness due to abundant Dampness
Contraindications (Western)
Chemical Composition Essential oils 0.2 to 0.4% (ligustilide, n-butylidene phthalide, n-butylphthalide, n-valero-phenone-O-carboxylic acid); ferulic acid, scopletin
Pharmacological Effects • Effects on the uterus: administration associated with both stimulating and inhibiting effects on the smooth muscle of the uterus; laboratory studies have shown that water and alcohol extracts tend to stimulate uterus, while essential oil inhibits it; furthermore, clinical studies have shown that when uterus is in a state of relaxation, Dang Gui can induce contraction; conversely, if uterus is in a contracted state, then Dang Gui promotes relaxation; this dual action is credited for the therapeutic effect of relieving spasms and stopping pain
• Cardiovascular: in one laboratory study using frogs, intravenous injection associated initially with inhibitory influence on heart, followed by negative chronotropic effect and positive inotropic effect; improves overall blood circulation by decreasing the whole blood specific viscosity, or improving the hemorrheological changes in “blood stagnation”; also has antiarrhythmic effect, especially against arrhythmia induced by epinephrine, cardiac glycosides, aconitine, and barium chloride; administration associated with reduction of plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and decreased risk of atherosclerosis, as demonstrated in laboratory studies
• Antiplatelet: administration in rats associated with marked antiplatelet effect, similar to aspirin; other studies have demonstrated that it also inhibits thrombus formation
• Immunostimulant: administration associated with increase in phagocytic activity by macrophages
• Respiratory: demonstrated beneficial effect in treating wheezing and dyspnea caused by bronchospasm
• Hepatoprotective: promotes generation of hepatocytes and has demonstrated marked hepatoprotective effect
• Antibiotic: inhibitory activity against Salmonella typhi, E. coli, Corynebacterium diphtheriae, Vibrio cholerae, α-hemolytic streptococcus and β-hemolytic streptococcus
• Analgesic and anti-inflammatory: extract has analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects similar to those of acetylsalicylic acid; decreases vascular permeability to reduce inflammation; anti-inflammatory effect is approximately 1.1 times stronger than acetylsalicylic acid, and its analgesic effect is approximately 1. 7 times stronger
Herb-Drug Interactions • Anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs: has been suggested that concurrent use with warfarin may potentiate effect of warfarin; in one in vitro study, it was discovered that while Dang Gui treatment did not affect prothrombin time on its own, it significantly lowered prothrombin time values when given concurrently with warfarin
• Scopolamine and cycloheximide: administration of extract at 1 g/kg found to be effective in treating scopolamine- and cycloheximide-induced amnesia in rats
• Acetaminophen: has been shown that Dang Gui treats acetaminophen-induced liver damage, presumably because it promotes generation of hepatocytes
Classical Formula(s)

Zan Yu Dan (Special Pill to Aid Fertility) 贊育丹

Bu Yang Huan Wu Tang (Tonify the Yang to Restore Five [-Tenths] Decoction 補陽還五湯 (补阳还五汤)

Da Qin Jiao Tang (Major Large Gentian Decoction) 大秦艽湯

Dang Gui Bu Xue Tang (Tangkuei decoction to tonify the blood) 當歸補血湯 (当归补血汤)

Dang Gui Liu Huang Tang (Tankuei and Six-yellow Decoction) 當歸六黃湯 (当归六黄汤)

Dang Gui Nian Tong Tang (Tangkuei Decoction to Pry Out Pain) 當歸拈痛湯

Er Xian Tang (Two-Immortal Decoction) 二仙湯

Fu Yuan Huo Xue Tang (Pao Shan Jia substituted with Wang Bu Liu Xing) (Revive Health by Invigorating the Blood Decoction) 復元活血湯

Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang (Angelica Pubescens and Sang-Ji-Sheng Decoction)獨活寄生湯

Guo Qi Yin (Delayed Menstruation Decoction) 過期飲

He Ren Yin (Fleeceflower Root and Ginseng Drink) 何人飲

Huang Long Tang (Yellow Dragon Decoction) 黃龍湯

Ji Chuan Jian (Benefit the River [Flow] Decoction) 濟川煎 (济川煎)

Jiao Ai Tang (Ass-Hide Gelatin and Mugwort Decoction) 膠艾湯

Jing Jie Lian Qiao Tang (Schizonepeta and Forsythia Decoction) 荊芥連翹湯

Nuan Gan Jian (Warm the Liver Decoction) 暖肝煎

Qian Jin Nei Tuo San (Powder to Support the Interior Worth a Thousand Gold Pieces) 千金内托散

Qin Jiao Bie Jia San (Large gentian and Soft-Shelled Turtle Shell Powder) 秦艽鱉甲散

Qing Wei San (Clear the Stomach Powder) 清胃散

Ren Shen Yang Rong Tang (Ginseng decoction to nourish luxuriance) 人參養榮湯 (人参养荣汤)

San Zhong Kui Jian Tang (Decoction to Disperse Swelling and Ulcerate What is Hard) 散腫潰堅湯

Sang Piao Xiao San (Mantis Egg-Case Powder) 桑螵蛸散

Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang (Drive Out Stasis from the Lower Abdomen Decoction) 少腹逐瘀湯

Shao Yao Tang (Peony Decoction) 芍藥湯

Sheng Hua Tang (Generating & Transforming Decoction) 生化湯 (生化汤)

Shu Gan Tang (Dredge the Liver Decoction) 疏肝湯

Si Miao Yong An Tang (Four-Valiant Decoction for Well-Being)四妙勇安湯

Tai shan pan shi san (Taishan bedrock powder) 泰山盤石散 (泰山盘石散)

Tuo Li Xiao Du Yin (Support the Interior and Eliminate Toxin Drink) 托裡消毒飲

Wen Jing Tang (Flow-Warming Decoction) 溫經湯

Wu Lin San (Powder for Five Types of Painful Urinary Dribbling) 五淋散

Wu Mei Wan (Mume Pill) 烏梅丸 (乌梅丸)

Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang (Drive Out Stasis from the Mansion of Blood Decoction) 血府逐瘀湯

Xiao Yao San (Rambling Powder) 逍遙散 (逍遥散)

Jia Wei Xiao Yao San (Modified Rambling Powder)加味逍遙散

Ba Wei Dai Xia Fang (Eight-Ingredient Formula for Vaginal Discharge) 八味帶下方

Ba Zhen Yi Mu Wan (Eight Treasure Pill to Benefit Mothers) 八珍益母丸

Bai He Gu Jin Tang (Lily bulb decoction to preserve the metal) 百合固金湯

Bai Zi Yang Xin Tang (Arborvitae See Pill to Nourish the HT) 柏子養心湯

Dang Gui Long Hui Wan (Tangkuei, Gentian, and Aloe Pill) (delete she xiang) 當歸龍薈丸 (減麝香)

Dang Gui Shao Yao San (Tangkuei and Peony Powder) 當歸芍藥散

Dang Gui Si Ni Tang (Tangkuei Decoction for Frigid Extremities) 當歸四逆湯

Fang Feng Tong Sheng San (Saposhnikovia powder that sagely unblocks) 防風通聖散

Gui Pi Tang (Restore the spleen decoction) 歸脾湯 (归脾汤)

Hai Zao Yu Hu Tang (Sargassum decoction for the Jade Flask) 海藻玉壺湯

Huo Luo Xiao Ling Dan (Wonderfully Effective Pill to Invigorate the Collaterals) 活絡效靈丹

Juan Bi Tang (Remove Painful Obstruction Decoction) 蠲痺湯

Shi Liu Wei Liu Qi Yin (Sixteen Ingredient Drink for Qi Flow) 十六味流氣飲

Shi Quan Da Bu Tang (All-inclusive great tonifying decoction) 十全大補湯 (十全大补汤)

Su Zi Jiang Qi Tang (Perilla Fruit Decoction for Directing Qi down) 蘇子降氣湯 (苏子降气汤)

Wu Ji San (Five-accumula-tion powder) 五积散

Xian Fang Huo Ming Yin (Immortals Formula for Sustaining Life) 仙方活命飲

Xiao Ji Yin Zi (Small Thistle Drink) 小蓟飲子

Yi Guan Jian (Linking decoction) 一貫煎

You Gui Wan (Restore the right [kidney] pill) 右歸丸 (右归丸)

Zhen Ren Yang Zang Tang (True Man's Decoction to Nourish the Organs) 真人養臟湯

Zhen Zhu Mu Wan (Mother-of-Pearl Pill) (deleted chen xiang) 珍珠母丸 (減沉香)

Zhu Che Wan (Halt the Carts Pill) 駐車丸

Zhu Sha An Shen Wan (Cinnabar Pill to calm the Spirit) 朱砂安神丸

Xiao Feng San (Eliminate Wind Powder) 消風散

Si Wu Tang (Four-substance decoction) 四物湯

Ba Zhen Tang (Eight-Treasure decoction) 八珍湯


This information is a reference tool for Chinese herbal studies. It is not intended to replace professional medical advice. Please consult a primary health professional if you require health advisory.