Braving the cold and damp mountains of China, Dang Gui has been used as a medicine and spice for thousands of years. Related to wild celery, Dang Gui’s smooth purple stems boast clusters of white flowers which fruit in the summer. However, it is the yellowish-brown root that is prized by practitioners of Chinese medicine. The plant requires three years to mature before the root is harvested in the autumn, a tradition that has been passed down by farmers for thousands of years in China because of Dang Gui’s popularity in treating women’s health.
The Queen of Herbs
Angelica Root contains phytochemicals that help boost white blood cell production and fight inflammation and may improve liver and kidney function. It is traditionally used to help inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and is currently being studied for its effect on cancer, liver and kidney disease.
Dang Gui is also known as ‘female ginseng’ as it contains phytoestrogens, which are chemicals found in plants that mimic the effects of oestrogen in the body. It may help balance women’s hormone levels, both restraining and supplementing the body’s production of oestrogen as needed. It is used to help menstrual and menopausal symptoms, including migraine, cramps, mood fluctuations, and hot flashes. It is also said to help speed a woman’s recovery from childbirth and symptoms of low energy/chronic fatigue.
Although Dang Gui is famed in Chinese medicine for its ability to assist in women’s health, it has benefits for everyone. Its calming impact can quiet anyone’s system: it has also been known to ease symptoms related to inflammation, headache, fatigue and high blood pressure.
Dang Gui helps relax the smooth muscles throughout the body, which makes it a potential treatment for a variety of illnesses. Not only does it help to relax the smooth muscles of the uterus, but it also keeps the smooth muscles in the arteries dilated, helping to maintain regular blood flow and heartbeat. Dang Gui has been used to treat angina, high blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat.
Other benefits may include:
- Acts as an aphrodisiac
- Helps premature ejaculation
- Blood tonic
- Reduces mood swings
- Detoxifies the body
- Improves blood circulations
- Antioxidant capacity
- Improves heart health
- Skin care
- Strengthens bones
- Reduces inflammation
Authentic Dang Gui?
Thanks to its many medicinal properties, Dang Gui is one of the most popular herbs in TCM. Due to its popularity, there are many unauthentic subspecies have arisen on the market, including sulphur treated Dang Gui. Despite the authentic herb being a dark brown colour, sulphur treated Dang Gui can look almost white in colour.
How Sulphur-Treated Dang Gui is Made
To achieve this appearance, manufacturers will initially soak the Dang Gui in water for two days; this can cause the active ingredient Ferulic Acid will leach out into the water. Next, the herb is steamed in sulphur for 4 days to soften the herb and to increase the size by up to 70%. This process also helps to change the colour to a bright white colour. During this procedure, a large majority of the essential oils are removed, drastically reducing the efficacy of the final product drastically. Lastly, the herb is compressed and sliced to achieve a larger surface area. In 1kg of Dang Gui, there will be up to 17.29g of sulphur.
Why You Should Avoid Sulphur Treated Dang Gui
By treating a herb with sulphur, manufacturers are able to increase the size and therefore increase profit. Sulphur treatment also prevents mould growth resulting in a long shelf life and kills any insects. As well as removing active ingredients and essential oils, reducing the efficacy and changing the chemical composition, sulphur treatment can also be extremely dangerous for patients who suffer from sulphur allergies. Symptoms of sulphur allergy include; rashes, headaches, anaphylaxis, wheezing and difficulty breathing.
At Phoenix, we do not condone the sale of sulphur treated herbs and we are proud to be the leading organisation in the UK to supply a 100% non-sulphur treated herbal product range. If you would like to know more about our non-sulphur treated herbs, please visit our quality assurance page.