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Dang Gui

Dang Gui

The "Ought-to-Return" Herb: Lore, Functions, and Contraindications

Danggui, or Angelicae Sinensis Radix, is a traditional Chinese herb with a rich history rooted in folklore and a diverse range of medicinal applications. Renowned for its abilities to tonify and invigorate blood, Danggui is commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to address various health issues. In this article, we'll explore the fascinating lore surrounding Danggui, its diverse functions, and the necessary precautions when using this powerful herb.

The Lore of Danggui: A Tale of Love and Regret

The story of Danggui, also known as the "ought-to-return" herb, is a poignant tale of love, courage, and the importance of patience and trust. Set in a small village at the foot of a high mountain abundant with precious herbs, a young man sets out to prove his bravery by climbing the treacherous mountain to bring back the herbs. Before his departure, he marries his betrothed and promises to return within three years.

However, he fails to return within the stipulated time, and his wife, believing him to be dead, reluctantly remarries. Miraculously, the young man returns to the village shortly after, only to discover his wife's remarriage. In an attempt to ease her pain and illness brought on by the shocking revelation, the young man uses one of the herbs he collected on the mountain, which helps her. This bittersweet tale has become intertwined with the herb's identity, symbolizing the power of love, patience, and trust.

Functions of Danggui

Danggui is revered for its diverse healing properties, which include:

  1. Tonifying Blood: Danggui is known for its ability to nourish and replenish blood, making it a popular treatment for blood deficiency and related issues.
  2. Invigorating Blood: This herb is also believed to stimulate blood circulation and alleviate blood stagnation.
  3. Regulating the Periods: Women have traditionally used Danggui to help regulate menstrual cycles and alleviate menstrual pain.
  4. Alleviating Pain: Danggui is often used to relieve various types of pain, including abdominal and joint pain.
  5. Harmonizing Blood: The herb is known to help balance and harmonize the blood, promoting overall health and well-being.
  6. Dispersing Cold: Danggui's warming properties can help dispel cold and alleviate symptoms related to cold deficiency.
  7. Stopping Pain: The herb can help relieve pain caused by wind-dampness-painful obstruction.
  8. Moistening the Intestines: Danggui can be used to address dry intestines and promote bowel movements.
  9. Unblocking Bowels: The herb is effective in relieving constipation and promoting healthy bowel function.
  10. Reducing Swellings: Danggui has been used to reduce swelling and inflammation.
  11. Expelling Pus: The herb's properties help to draw out pus and promote healing.
  12. Generating Flesh: Danggui is believed to aid in the regeneration of flesh and tissue, promoting wound healing.

Summary of Danggui's Profile

Danggui is a warm, sweet, and acrid herb used in TCM to treat health issues related to the heart, liver, and spleen channels. Its diverse range of functions makes it a powerful and versatile remedy for various ailments.


While Danggui is a potent and beneficial herb, it's important to be aware of certain contraindications. It is not recommended for individuals experiencing abdominal bloating, diarrhea, or dampness, as it may exacerbate these conditions

The remarkable story and diverse functions of Danggui make it a fascinating and valuable herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine. When used appropriately and with an understanding of its contraindications, Danggui can be a powerful ally in promoting health and well-being.

Incorporating Danggui into Your Wellness Routine

To make the most of Danggui's benefits, it's essential to consult with a licensed TCM practitioner or herbalist. They can provide guidance on the appropriate dosage and preparation methods for your unique needs and health concerns. Danggui can be taken as a decoction, in pill or capsule form, or as a topical application, depending on the issue being addressed.

Safety and Precautions

As with any herbal supplement, it's essential to consider safety and precautions when using Danggui. Some potential side effects may include allergic reactions, gastrointestinal discomfort, and increased sensitivity to sunlight. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult their healthcare providers before using Danggui, as its effects on unborn babies and nursing infants are not well-established.

Interactions with Other Medications

Danggui may interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners, anticoagulants, and antiplatelet drugs. Therefore, it's crucial to inform your healthcare provider about any medications or supplements you're currently taking to ensure there are no adverse interactions.

Final Thoughts

Danggui's rich lore and multifaceted functions make it an invaluable herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine. By understanding its unique profile and respecting its contraindications, Danggui can be safely incorporated into a wellness routine to support overall health and address various health concerns. As always, it's essential to consult with a licensed TCM practitioner or healthcare professional before using Danggui to ensure its safe and effective use.


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