What Is Du Huo
Du Huo also known as Radix Angelicae Pubescentis or Pubescent Angelica Root is the root of Angelica pubescens, which is a perennial herb belonging to the family Umbelliferae. It is a relatively practical and antirheumatic Chinese herbal medicine, which first appeared in <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> in the late Western Han Dynasty (about 100 BC).
This plant often grows in moist habitats in hills or low mountains. It is native to China and Japan. It is called shishiudo in Japan, which is often mistaken for udo. The young stems and leaves are edible.
In the early spring and late autumn of each year, people gather the roots of Angelica pubescens, remove their fibrous roots and impurities, wash them with water, cut them into thin slices, bake them to semi-dry, stack them for 2-3 days, until they are softened, dry them again, and make them into Chinese herbal medicines.
Du Huo contains columbianadin, columbianetin, columbianetin acetate, β-D-glucosyl-columbia, columbianin, columbianetin propionate, dihydrocolumbianadin, bergapten, bergaptol, psoralen, xanthotoxin, pabulenol, Imperatorin, oxypeucedanin, isoimperatorin, cnidilin, byak-angelicin, neobyakangelicol, isopimpinellin, scopoletin, anpubesol, isoangelol, ulopterol, osthenol, angelicin, angelol, daucosterol, stigmasterol, β-sitosterol, linoleic acid, stearic acid, ferulic acid, isoferulic acid, caffeic acid, adenosine, uridine, sucrose, chlorogenic acid, and volatile oils.
Generally, the solid and oily Du Huo with rich aromatic fragrance is preferred.
According to <Shennong Ben Cao Jing>, the medicinal property of Du Huo is slightly warm, with a pungent and bitter taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on pathological changes of the kidney and bladder meridians.
In traditional Chinese medicine, Du Huo is often used to expel wind-dampness, relieve exterior symptoms, and treat rheumatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, prolapse of the lumbar intervertebral disc, osteoarthritis of the knee joint, sciatica, fibrositis, scapulohumeral periarthritis, stroke, neuralgia, hemiplegia, cold pain in the waist and knees, chronic headache, toothache, chronic tracheitis, fall injury, and insomnia.
There are about 100 kinds of Chinese medicine prescriptions containing it, such as Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang, Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang, and Tian Ma Wan.
- Anti-inflammation, inhibiting egg white-induced rat foot swelling and xylene-induced mouse ear swelling.
- Anti-oxidation, enhancing the activity of superoxide dismutase, reducing the content of malondialdehyde, and inhibiting lipid peroxidation.
- Inhibiting platelet aggregation, preventing thrombosis and atherosclerosis.
- Dilating blood vessels, and lowering blood pressure transiently.
- Improving the learning and memory ability of aging mice, delaying brain aging, and preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
- Expelling wind and dampness, treating joint pain, muscle pain, pain of waist and back, cheiropodalgia caused by wind-cold-dampness.
- Treating chronic arthralgia, soreness and weakness of waist and knees, disadvantageous flexion and extension of joints.
- Relieving a sensation of heaviness of the head, headache, and body pain caused by wind-cold and wind-cold complicated with dampness.
- Relieving the shaoyin headache caused by the invasion of wind pathogen into the kidney Meridian.
- The topical application of its decoction can relieve skin itching.
- Inhibiting the proliferation of human gastric cancer cell lines MKN-45, BGC-823, human lung adenocarcinoma cell line A549, human breast cancer cell line MCF-7, and human colon cancer cell line LOVO.
- Its extract has a certain inhibitory effect on Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Gram-positive bacteria, Proteus, and Staphylococcus aureus.
- Studies have found that its extract can reduce the number of writhing in mice caused by acetic acid. This confirms that it has an analgesic effect.
- It can be used in combination with Fu Zi (Radix Aconiti Lateralis Preparata), Chuan Wu (Radix Aconiti), and Fang Feng (Radix Saposhnikoviae) to treat arthralgia caused by wind-cold-dampness.
- It can be used in combination with Dang Gui (Radix Angelicae Sinensis), Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae), and Niu Xi (Radix Achyranthis Bidentatae) to treat joint pain, muscle pain, pain of waist and back, cheiropodalgia caused by wind-cold-dampness.
- It can be used in combination with Sang Ji Sheng (Herba Taxilli), Du Zhong (Cortex Eucommiae), and Ren Shen (Radix et Rhizoma Ginseng) to treat chronic arthralgia, soreness and weakness of waist and knees, disadvantageous flexion and extension of joints.
- It can be used in combination with Qiang Huo (Rhizoma et Radix Notopterygii), Gao Ben (Rhizoma Ligustici), and Fang Feng (Radix Saposhnikoviae) to relieve headache and body pain caused by wind-cold complicated with dampness.
- It can be used in combination with Xi Xin (Asari Radix et Rhizoma) and Chuan Xiong (Rhizoma Chuanxiong) to treat shaoyin headache caused by wind disturbing the kidney meridian.
A small percentage of people taking it may dizziness, headache, numbness of the tongue, nausea, vomiting, or stomach discomfort.
Animal experiments have shown that long-term or overdose of it may cause poisoning, symptoms such as irritability, rapid breathing, and even death due to respiratory failure.
Precautions and Warnings
- The dosage of Du Huo should be controlled at 3-9g.
- It can be made into decoctions, pills, medicinal liquors, or lotions.
- People who are allergic to Du Huo should not take it.
- Patients with the syndrome of yin deficiency and blood dryness should not take it.
- Patients with a deficiency of qi and blood should not take it.
- Pregnant women and children should not take it.