Angelica, also known as Dong Quai, is found in many herbal supplement blends for female health. This herb has been used in China for thousands of years, Angelica is less popular in Europe and the United States. It’s named after the Archangel St. Michael (archangelica) because it typically blooms around the first week in May - The Feast Day of St. Michael. Because of this connection with angels, Europeans would make necklaces from the leaves to protect from evil. If a woman grew Angelica in her garden, she was exempt from any witchcraft charges, thanks to its connection to the angels.
In India, this herb is used for arthritis, cold, flu and abdominal pains. It is not recommended for any of these issues in western herbalism. Interestingly enough, North American native tribes also used Angelica for the same illnesses. They also used it to treat respiratory ailments just as their European counterparts did. Today, the herb is primarily studied for treatment of menopausal symptoms. Not all studies find that it is effective, however.
Herbalists argue that Angelica should be used in combination with other female tonic herbs to be effective. These would include Licorice, Wild Yam Root, Chaste Tree and Red Raspberry. In fact, in Chinese medicine, this plant is never used alone, but is always used in combination with other herbs. Because Angelica has blood-thinning properties, it should be used with caution. It is also never recommended for pregnant women. The fresh root of the plant is poisonous until dried. Because it can be confused with hemlock, it should never be picked in the wild. Just like many other herbs, Angelica can be beneficial if used properly and moderation.