Natural Medicine Chest: Treat PMS with Dong Quai

In China, for thousands of years, one of the most effective herbal remedies used for the treatment of PMS and other female problems is the plant known as Angelica sinensis or dong quai. Dong quai is now beginning to be recognized in the western world as a useful adjunct in natural healthcare for women. Common imbalances such as menstrual problems, PMS, and menopause can be helped by using this wonderful botanical medicine.

There have been a significant amount of scientific research studies performed on the extracts of Angelica. These studies have been supportive of the folkloric uses of this herb by demonstrating that the pharmacological effects include estrogen activity, analgesic activity and its ability to relax smooth muscle. This is probably due to the high content of chemical constituents known as coumarins found in the plant.

Phytoestrogens are plant substances that are chemically similar to the steroidal hormone estrogen found in animals. These substances play a role in many phases of metabolism, but their strongest influence relates to the activities of the menstrual cycle in women. High levels of phytoestrogens have been discovered through chemical analysis of many herbs traditionally used for medical conditions that are treated now with synthetic estrogen compounds. However, the natural phytoestrogens do not have the same possible dangerous side effects associated with synthetic estrogens.

An animal tale

One interesting story about phyto-estrogens is found in the annals of agriculture. It seems that many farmers noticed that whenever their livestock ate large quantities of certain plants, like clover and alfalfa -- the plants acted like a natural birth control, preventing the livestock from becoming pregnant. The farmers requested that the departments of agriculture at several universities study the compounds found in the plants. Scientists found that these plants do indeed contain estrogen-mimicking steroidal compounds and isolated many of them. They named these groups of complicated steroids phytoestrogens.

Angelica sinensis has been shown in animal studies to have a tonic effect on the muscles of the uterus, which may explain its excellent antispasmodic or anti-cramping effects. Dong quai also is known to aid in decreasing some of the discomfort associated with menopause.

So, if you're a woman, or if you know a woman who experiences cramping and PMS pain, help is on the way. Reach for dong quai in your Natural Medicine Chest.

Measurements & Data Corporation.

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By Eugene Zampieron and Ellen Kamhi

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