Angelica Species

Chapter 65 Angelica Species

Angelica sinensis or polymorpha (family: Umbelliferae or Apiaceae)

Common names: Chinese angelica, tang-kuei (dong quai)

Angelica acutiloba (family: Umbelliferae or Apiaceae)

Common name: Japanese angelica

Angelica archangelica (family: Umbelliferae or Apiaceae)

Common name: European angelica

Angelica atropurpurea (family: Umbelliferae or Apiaceae)

Common name: American angelica

Angelica silvestris (family: Umbelliferae or Apiaceae)

Common name: wild angelica

image General Description

Angelica spp. are biennial or perennial plants with hollow fluted stems that rise to a height of 3 to 7 feet. The umbels, or clusters, of greenish-white flowers bloom from May to August. The plants are found in damp mountain ravines and meadows, on river banks, and in coastal areas; angelica is also a widely cultivated species. In Asia it is grown primarily for its medicinal action, whereas in the United States and Europe, it is cultivated for use as a flavoring agent in most major categories of food products, including alcohol (e.g., bitters, liqueurs, vermouths) and nonalcoholic beverages, ice cream, candy, gelatins, and puddings. With all species, the roots and rhizomes are the most extensively used portions of the plant.

Angelica sinensis and Angelica acutiloba

In Asia, the authentic and original medicinal angelica is Angelica sinensis (dong quai), native to China. Although at least nine other angelica species are used in China, dong quai is by far the most highly regarded. For several thousand years, dong quai has been cultivated for medicinal use in the treatment of a wide variety of disorders, particularly “female” disorders. Several hundred years ago, when the supply of Chinese angelica was scarce, the Japanese began to cultivate A. acutiloba, an angelica species indigenous to Japan, as a substitute.1 The two species appear to have similar therapeutic effects despite the following opinions: in China the Japanese angelica is thought to have no therapeutic value, whereas in Japan, Chinese angelica is thought to have no effect. Experimentally, both species exhibit similar therapeutic effects, so each country’s claim to produce a superior dong quai is apparently based more on emotion than scientific investigation.

Sep 12, 2016 | Posted by in MANUAL THERAPIST | Comments Off on Angelica Species
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