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Dú Huó 獨活

Pharmaceutical name Angelicae pubescentis Radix pubescent angelica root, angelica root, tu-huo “self-reliant existence”
Category Dispel Wind-Dampness
Key Properties Treats painful obstruction in lower body
Dispels lurking wind in the KD channel
Properties Bitter
Tropism KD, UB
Actions & Indications 1) Dispels Wind Damp & Alleviates Pain (lower jiao & lower limbs)
2) Disperses Wind Cold Damp, Releases the Exterior
3) Also used for ShaoYin Headache & Toothache (KD & HT)
Dosages 3-9g
Contraindications (TCM) Internal Liver Wind
Caution with Yin or Blood Deficiency, readily injures Yin due to its drying nature
Contraindications (Western) Overdose sometimes associated with increased photosensitivity
Chemical Composition Osthole, columbianetin, columbianctin acetate, bergapten, columbianadin, xanthotoxin, isoimperatorin, angelol B, anpubesol, umbelliferone, columbianctin-β-D-glucopyranoside, and isoangelol
Pharmacological Effects • Analgesic and anti-inflammatory: intraperitoneal injection at 2 g/kg has demonstrated marked analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects in mice; also has mild sedative effect in mice and rats
• Antihypertensive: herbal decoction shown to have marked antihypertensive action in anesthetized dogs and cats; however, duration of action is short, lasting only l to 2 hours
• Antiplatelet: some isolated constituents have demonstrated mild inhibitory effect on platelet aggregation in mice
• Gastrointestinal: demonstrated efficacy in treating peptic ulcers and relieving intestinal spasms in rabbits
• Antibiotic: shown to have inhibitory effect on Mycobacterium tuberculosis, E. coli, Bacillus dysenteriae, Salmonella typhi, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Vibrio cholerae
• Respiratory: osthole has a non-specific relaxant effect on trachea by inhibiting cAMP and cGMP phosphodiesterases, as concluded by an in vitro study with guinea pig trachea; proposed mechanism of action of osthole is suppression of contraction response curves of tracheal smooth muscle caused by carbachol, prostaglandin F2 alpha (PGF2 alpha), U46619 (thromboxane A2 analogue) and leukotriene C4 (LTC4), in a concentration-dependent manner; relaxant actions of osthole not affected by propranolol, glibenclamide, or removal of the tracheal epithelium
Herb-Drug Interactions • Anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs: since components have inhibitory effect on platelet aggregation, should be given with caution to patients who are taking anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs
Classical Formula(s)

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

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

Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang Notopterygium Decoction to Overcome Dampness 羌活勝濕湯 (羌活胜湿汤)

Ren Shen Bai Du San (Gingseng Powder to Over come Pathogenic Influences) 人參敗毒散

Shi Wei Bai Du San (Ten-Ingredient Powder to Overcome Toxicity) (deleted ying pi) 十味敗毒散 (減櫻皮)

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

Sheng Yang Yi Wei Tang (Raise the Yang and Augment the Stomach Decoction) 升陽益胃湯


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.