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During the last stage of the menstrual cycle, normally a layer of endometriosis lining on the inside of the uterus is expelled, known as menstruation blood, instead some of the endometriosis tissues grow somewhere in the body to cause endometriosis. Endometriosis also react to hormone signals of the monthly menstrual cycle, by building and breaking up tissues and eliminating them through menstrual period.
Dong quai or Dang Qui or Angelica Root is a tall plant with white green flowers. It has been used in Chinese medicine for over 4000 years in treating diseases caused by female reproductive system(4) including endometriosis(1). It is considered the "female ginseng" because of its balancing effect on the female hormonal system, including pre-menstrual syndrome and menstrual cramps.
1. Estrogen inhibitor
Dong quai contains phytoestrogens which help to maintain strong liver in protein and fat metabolism. By increasing the function of liver it helps to inhibit the bad estrogen(2) that causes menstrual cramps(3)(4) and symptoms of endometriosis.
2. Immune system
Dong Qui has found to stimulate the immune system in fighting again irregular cell growth and adhesion to cause tumors(5) of that reduces the risk of forming of endometrial tissues in other part of reproductive organs.
2. Regulating carbohydrate metabolism(7)
Dong quai also helps in carbohydrate metabolism by stimulating the right levels of insulin(6) produced by the pancreas which is necessary in providing energy for our body. Without strong liver function, too much insulin during the menstrual cycle will cause food and sugar craving.
3. Reduce menstrual cramps
Dong Quai is also a muscle tonic, it helps to calm the uterine muscle during menstrual cycle by balancing the levels of prostaglandins hormones resulting in calming over-active uterine muscles(3)(4).
4. Increase production of blood and replace blood loss(8)
Dong Quai has been used for women with heavy menstrual flow in preventing tisk of blood deficiency(10). By increasing the production of blood(8), it helps to maintain the strong circulation of blood that carries oxygen and nutrients to our body's cells and decreases the risk of anemia(9).
The root is said to be very effective in eliminating blood stagnation. By increasing the blood flow(8) to the abdominal regions, it helps to relax the uterine muscles and reduce the period pain caused by blood stagnation in the abdomen(3)(4).
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(1) Combination use of ferulic acid, ligustrazine and tetrahydropalmatine inhibits the growth of ectopic endometrial tissue: a multi-target therapy for endometriosis rats.by Tang Q1, Shang F1, Wang X1, Yang Y1, Chen G2, Chen Y1, Zhang J1, Xu X3.(PubMed)
(2) Phytoestrogens and prevention of breast cancer: The contentious debateby Bilal I, Chowdhury A, Davidson J, Whitehead S.(PubMed)
(3) [Dysmenorrhea: a study of affected factors and approaches to relief among female students at a college in southern Taiwan].[Article in Chinese]by Chen CK1, Huang YP, Fang HL, Huang YY.(PubMed)
(4) Danggui to Angelica sinensis root: are potential benefits to European women lost in translation? A reviewby Hook IL.(PubMed)
(5) Immunopharmacological studies of low molecular weight polysaccharide from Angelica sinensisby Choy YM1, Leung KN, Cho CS, Wong CK, Pang PK.(PubMed)
(6)An Aqueous Extract of Radix Astragali, Angelica sinensis, and Panax notoginseng Is Effective in Preventing Diabetic Retinopathyby Gao D1, Guo Y, Li X, Li X, Li Z, Xue M, Ou Z, Liu M, Yang M, Liu S, Yang S.(PubMed)
(7)[Traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis and treatment of type 2 diabetes in Tianjin urban population].