Herbal Dong Quai Tincture

Angelica can be dried and made into a tincture or powdered and encapsulated.

For menstrual cramps: Take 1 teaspoon of dong quai tincture twice each day, starting a day after your period ends; stop taking it as soon as you start to spot or show menstrual bleeding.

If you have a very light menstrual flow, 1 teaspoon of dong quai tincture can be taken every 2 hours during your period for acute relief of cramping -- just be prepared for heavier-than-normal blood loss.

Preparations and Warnings for Dong Quai

Like all herbs, there are some precautions you should take before using dong quai medicinally.

Dong Quai Preparations and Doseage

A close American relative of dong quai is garden angelica, Angelica archangelica. You can prepare a candied treat from its stems.

Slice the hollow stems into thin strips. Immerse them in boiling water for three to five minutes. Remove and quickly plunge them into ice-cold water for several minutes. Spread the slices on a paper towel to dry for several hours.

Dip each slice in a bowl containing whipped egg white and lemon juice, and transfer to a sheet of wax paper. Sprinkle each slice with sugar and allow the egg white to absorb it. Flip the slices over and repeat. Continue sprinkling sugar every few hours until the egg white is saturated with sugar and begins to crystallize.

Transfer to a clean sheet of wax paper and store in a small, covered container. These treats will keep indefinitely. Eat them as is or use them to decorate frosted cakes and cookies.

Dong Quai Precautions and Warnings

Because dong quai dilates the blood vessels and improves circulation in the uterus, regular use can sometimes make menstrual flow heavier -- in China, dong quai is called a "blood mover." Many herbalists recommend stopping the use of dong quai during the actual menstrual period in women prone to heavy flow or if heavy bleeding is a concern. These women can use a separate formula, such as cramp bark or cinnamon bark, during their menstrual period and dong quai during the rest of the cycle.

Do not use dong quai if you take blood-thinning or high blood pressure medication. Also avoid during pregnancy.

Side Effects of Dong Quai

Dong quai is considered quite safe, though it may make some people's skin more sensitive to sunlight. You should avoid prolonged sun exposure while using dong quai preparations.

To learn more about treating common medical conditions at home, try the following links:

Jennifer Brett, N.D. is director of the Acupuncture Institute for the University of Bridgeport, where she also serves on the faculty for the College of Naturopathic Medicine. A recognized leader in her field with an extensive background in treating a wide variety of disorders utilizing nutritional and botanical remedies, Dr. Brett has appeared on WABC TV (NYC) and on Good Morning America to discuss utilizing herbs for health.This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies.   Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Each state and each discipline has its own rules about whether practitioners are required to be professionally licensed. If you plan to visit a practitioner, it is recommended that you choose one who is licensed by a recognized national organization and who abides by the organization's standards. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before starting any new therapeutic technique.