Angelica (Dang Gui)
Botanical Name: Western – Angelica archangelica, A. offcinalis, A. sylvestris. Eastern – Angelica sinensis, A. polymorpha.
Since very early times, angelica or dang gui has been viewed as a cure-all, blood purifier, digestive, and protector against enchantment and plagues. The Chinese revere it as one of the fundamental herbs aiding female disorders. Due to their aromatic qualities, the dried leaves are used in preparing hop bitters. It is the most highly regarded blood tonic in Asia and is used by both men and women.
Watch a short video, from Ann Christensen, Founder and Creator of White Rabbit Institute of Healing™ – Is Angelica (Dang Gui) Dangerous?
Below is an overview of Angelica (Dang Gui), combining the best of Western Science, Oriental Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore, and a wide range of healing modalities. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of angelica.
How to take FULL advantage of Angelica's healing powers...
JOIN ME in an exploration of the healing herb, Angelica (Dang Gui). Explore the benefits and applications of Angelica, from Eastern and Western perspectives, and so much more!
Western Name: Angelica
Also Known As: Angelica Root, Choraka, Holy Ghost, Angel’s Food, Aunt Jericho, St Michael’s Flower, Archangel
Organs/Systems: Digestive, Cardiovascular, Respiratory, Uterus, Joints
Key Actions: Carminative, Stimulant, Diaphoretic, Stomachic, Tonic, Expectorant, Emmenagogue, Digestive, Antiseptic, Analgesic, Relaxant, Aromatic, Bitter, Nervine, Stimulant
Medicinal Uses: Used externally for treating joint pain, nerve pain, and skin disorders. Used to treat lung and chest diseases, delayed labor and help expel the placenta following childbirth. Treats heartburn, intestinal gas, loss of appetite, arthritis, circulation, anxiety, insomnia, dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, colds, pleurisy, coughs, fevers, intestinal gas, loss of appetite, increases urination, and improves sex drive.
Pin Yin: Dang Gui (literal translation means “State of Return”)
Also Known As: Dong Qui, Dang Quai, Tang Guai
Meridians: Heart, Liver, Spleen, Kidney
Key Actions: Tonifies the Blood, Invigorates and Harmonizes Blood, Disperses Cold, Moistens Intestines, Unblocks the Bowels, Reduces Swelling and Expels Pus, Generates Flesh, Alleviates Pain
Medicinal Uses: Menstrual disorders, menopause symptoms, undeveloped fetus, pain due to blood stasis, abdominal pain and traumatic injury, sores, infertility, anxiety, anemia, poor circulation, loss of appetite, nausea, anxiety, insomnia, heartburn, neuralgia, premature ejaculation, nicotine withdrawal, colds, coughs, bronchitis, skin beautifier. Aids recovery of abscesses where tonifying and moving blood. Lowers blood pressure and blood sugar.
Basic Habitat / Botany:
There are about 60 species of angelica. The plant is a member of the Apiaceae/Umbelliferae family (Parsley family). It is neither annual, nor naturally perennial in that the seedlings do not mature in 12 months and old plants will die off after seeding once. Only very advanced seedlings flower in their second year, and the third year commonly completes the full period of life. Roots can weigh up to 3 lbs. The edge of leaflets is toothed or serrated and the flowers are small and numerous. They are of a yellowish or greenish color grouped into large globular umbels. Angelica is unique among Umbelliferae for its pervading aromatic fragrance, entirely different from Fennel, Parsley, or Anise. It is a biennial returning year after year if you only cut one flower.
Some say this species is a native of Syria and spread to Europe. It is known to be native to temperate and subarctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere, reaching as far north as Iceland and Lapland. It likes deep, moist loam and being in the shade. It loves to grow near running water.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Root, Seed, Leaf, Fruit
Flavors/Temps: Warming, Sweet, Acrid, Bitter
Caution: Considered a tonic herb and generally very safe, although in some people, it may cause skin irritations.
Key Constituents: Volatile oil, Valeric acid, Angelic acid, Sugar, Bitter, Resin (Angelicin), Essential oils (including Terebangelene and other Terpenes), Coumarin compounds, Butylidene phthalide, Ligustilide, Vitamin B12, Vitamin E, Nicotinic acid, and Carotene
History/Folklore: Angelica roots are used medicinally and the stems can be used for flavoring candy and stews. The stems were also used to prevent and aid indigestion. The only herb considered stronger for aiding indigestion, is ginger. Angelica has a long history of protecting against contagion, purifying the blood, and curing every conceivable ailment. After the introduction into Christianity, the plant became associated with archangelic patronage and was associated with the spring-time festival of the Annunciation.
In one legend, angelica was revealed in a dream by an angel to cure the plague, giving the plant its name, “Angelica.” Another source for its name is thought to be that it blooms on the day of Michael the Archangel (May 8th) and therefore is a ward against evil spirits and witchcraft. All parts of the plant are believed to protect against harm, spells, and enchantments.
Angelica was used in the Middle Ages as a natural restorative and health tonic.
Old writers compare the scent of angelica to musk or juniper, even the roots are fragrant. Even deer and fish were said to be attracted to the plant’s scent so it was used as bait.
The roots need to be dried quickly and sealed in air-tight containers to maintain their medicinal values for many years. The roots are dug up in the autumn of the first year.
Angelica’s properties are best extracted in alcohol, though water can be used.
It is used externally for treating joint pain, nerve pain, and skin disorders.
The resin angelicin is stimulating to the lungs and skin. Its fresh leaves are used in poultices for lung and chest diseases.
Angelica is a traditional birthing herb used to assist delayed labor and to help expel the placenta following childbirth.
Natives of Lapland use the fleshy roots as food and the stalks as medicine and the leaves can be added to cooked dishes, soups, and stew.
Angelica is said to protect against negative energies and is used in herbal baths to remove curses. It can be sprinkled around the house to purify the environment and protect against unwanted spirits.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), angelica is one of the most respected female tonic herbs. It is considered one of the best blood tonics available and is used by both men and women to help build and nourish the blood. Women especially use the herb to tonify the reproductive organs. It can be used before, during, and after pregnancy.
Research has proven it tonifies the entire female hormonal system. Consumed raw or with alcohol angelica can relax the uterus. Used with water it is said to tonify the uterus and can stimulate contractions. It has been used to help develop an undeveloped fetus. It is used the world over for treating symptoms associated with menopause.
The herb is used to improve blood circulation, beautify the skin, and hasten the healing of cuts, sores, and wounds. Angelica can help lower blood pressure and relax the cardiac muscle. It also helps lower blood sugar levels.
Angelica has a gentle calming effect that is useful for treating anxiety and calming the effects of stress.
The preparation of angelica is an important industry in the South of France where it is purchased by confectioners and also used to make the liquors Vermouth and Chartreuse. It is also used to flavor gin, Dubonnet and Benedictine.
The German Commission E, health organization approved a tea of 20% angelica, 40% gentian (Gentiana lutea), and 40% caraway seed (Carum carvi) is a tea for children to treat upset stomachs.
Angelica is said to symbolize ecstasy, inspiration, and magic.
In China, the upper part of the plant is said to treat the head best, the middle part of the root is said to help preserve the internal organs and strengthen the body, and the tips of the roots, which are considered less tonifying, are said to be more blood moving.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, frying the herb in vinegar or wine strengthens the Blood-Invigorating properties. Toasting the herb to ash enhances its ability to Warm the Channels (Meridians) and Stop Bleeding.
Herbs that are dry, totally lacking in oil, or have greenish-brown cross-sections should not be used. Good quality is large, long, moist, oily, fragrant with a yellowish-white cross-section. The larger the root and the sweeter the taste, equal the better quality roots. Do not purchase very small roots.
The Root of the Holy Ghost
Angelica was held in such esteem that it was called “The Root of the Holy Ghost” in early Christian Europe.
Angelica vs. Hemlock
Use gloves while pruning as the plant can cause dermatitis and photosensitivity. Do NOT confuse angelica with Hemlock which is poisonous and whose leaves smell foul when crushed. Angelica’s leaves are not foul-smelling.
Angelica’s seeds and stems are used in confectionery, flavoring, and the preparation of liqueurs.
Take FULL advantage of Angelica (Dang Gui)!
Connecting Eastern and Western perspectives on HOW and WHY this herb works. Find out how to safely and effectively use this healing herb for treating conditions and for your Body, Mind, and Spirit. Find True Health. Explore uses, safety information, benefits, history, recipes, gardening tips, essential oil information, if it applies, and much, much more in this online course.
Disclosure: If you purchase from some links on this web page, we may receive some kind of affiliate commission. However, we only ever mention products we would recommend whether we were being compensated or not. Thank you so much for your support of White Rabbit Institute of Healing!