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THE HERBAL CORNER - "Angelica"
(Angelica atropurpurea)
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This herb is a popular folk remedy taken to alleviate respiratory complaints, including colds and the flu, as well as digestive problems.

Traditionally, the numerous species of ANGELICA, a tall, celery-like plant in the parsley family, provide a variety of health benefits. A species called American ANGELICA (ANGELICA atropurpurea) is a popular folk remedy taken to alleviate respiratory complaints, including colds and the flu, as well as digestive problems. Species referred to as Chinese ANGELICA (ANGELICA sinensis, ANGELICA pubescens), also called dang-qui, dong quai, and tang kue, are used mainly for female problems and are supported by significantly more research. In China, they are used to "harmonize vital energy and nourish blood."

Today, ANGELICA can be used for fighting several health problems. American ANGELICA has compounds that can relax the windpipe and intestines and thus may be beneficial for bronchitis, asthma, indigestion, and heartburn. Chinese ANGELICA species offer liver-protective, antioxidant, and immune-enhancing properties. They may also inhibit proliferation of cancer cells. One recent animal study found that ANGELICA sinensis can treat lung fibrosis caused by the cancer chemotherapy agent bleomycin. Chinese ANGELICA species may help prevent heart disease. ANGELICA pubescens controls high blood pressure and inhibits platelet aggregation (blood clotting) both of which can lead to heart attacks. ANGELICA sinensis may help protect against cardiac ischemia (lack of blood flow to the heart.) Germany's Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices lists ANGELICA's uses as "Loss of appetite, peptic discomforts such as mild spasms of the gastrointestinal tract, feeling of fullness, and flatulence."

ANGELICA root is frequently prescribed by practitioners of Chinese medicine as a pain reliever. Remedies made from the plant are used to alleviate the pain and numbness in joints and muscles (especially of the lower body) that are attributed to cold, damp weather conditions.

Recent findings suggest that Chinese ANGELICA species have long been attributed with the ability to regulate estrogen and ease the symptoms of PMS and menopause. One recent American study indicates no benefit from taking ANGELICA, but the authors note that the Chinese invariably use this herb in combination with others in gynecological support formulas.

In regards to safety, Germany's Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices lists no contraindications, and traditional Chinese medical texts list no contraindication for pregnancy. However, prudence dictates that as gynecological herbs, neither American nor Chinese ANGELICA should be used by pregnant women. ANGELICA is light-sensitizing, and its use should also be avoided during prolonged exposure to sunlight.

ANGELICA products that are available at Chinese pharmacies, Asian food markets, and some Western health food stores. The roots are sold dried. ANGELICA is also sold in capsules, concentrated drops, extracts, and tinctures. Currently, species of ANGELICA may be standardized for a chemical compound called ligustillide at 0.9%. However, there is no assurance that this is the only active compound in the plant.

Herb Listing - Index

Please note: the information contained herein has been compiled from various sources. The above statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. We make no claims, either expressed or implied, that any treatments mentioned in this newsletter will cure disease, replace prescription medication, or supersede sound medical advice.

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