By Dr. Eric Waltemate, St. Louis Acupuncture & Chiropractic

Some of the most common complaints that we hear are related to back pain, neck pain and arthritis. For this week’s herb of the week, we wanted to feature the pubescent angelica root, which has historically been prescribed to treat Wind and Dampness in Chinese Medicine. The herb acts as a stimulant, antispasmodic and pain reliever.

In his book, The Healing Power of Chinese Herbs and Medicinal Recipes, Ethan Russo writes that this herb is the “first choice for those who cannot walk due to back pain, sciatica, pain in the lower limbs and athralgia of the feet.”

The Chinese characters for the pubescent angelica root are 獨活, Romanized as Dú Huó, and pronounced like “Doo Hwoah.”  The Chinese name means “self reliant existence”, presumably because by taking this herb a person could stay pain and arthritis free well into old age.

Pubescent Angelica Root Treats Sciatica

A study from Reports in Chinese Medicine showed that of the 100 patients with sciatica who took an herbal formula containing the pubescent angelica root 87 obtained complete relief and 7 had marked relief from the pain.

The Journal of Guiyang Medical University contained a study in which 81% of patients who took a formula containing Dú Huó were cured of their sciatica.

85 out of 105 patients in a study from The Journal of Practical Chinese Medicine and Medicinals obtained relief from sciatica by taking pubescent angelica root with some other herbs in a formula..

This website lists many treatments for sciatica using Chinese medicine, including Dú Huó.

Dú Huó Relieves Arthritis

A study from Jilin Chinese Medicine and Herbology consisted of 262 patients with osteoarthritis; 77 of those patients had significant improvement  and 118 patients had moderate improvement in pain after taking a formula containing pubescent angelica root.

Another study from Sichuan Chinese Medicine involving 104 patients taking a formula containing Dú Huó showed a 91% effectiveness rate using the formula to combat rheumatoid arthritis.

This study shows shows that a formula containing pubescent angelica root prevented arthritis in rabbits.

Other Miscellaneous Symptoms Treated by Pubescent Angelica Root

  • Neck Pain
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Psoriasis
  • Vitiligo

Chinese Medicinal Actions of Dú Huó

Chinese medical terms are different than standard western medical terms.  Pubescent angelica root dispels wind and dampness to relieve pain and releases the exterior.


Dú Huó is contraindicated in patients who have yin and/or blood vacuities or in patients who have internal Liver wind.

The video below gives the same information in a different format, click on the link and watch the video.

To learn how acupuncture may help with your back pain, neck pain, sciatica and arthritis, schedule an appointment online or call our office at (314) 569-0057 to make an appointment. Located in St. Louis County, in Creve Coeur, St. Louis Acupuncture & Chiropractic offers a variety of solutions, and can compound an herbal formula to help treat your health problems naturally.

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Source:  Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology- Chen and Chen

Chesterfield Acupuncturist Recommends this Herb for Back and Neck Pain, Sciatica and Arthritis
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