Dong Quai is the dried and sliced root of Chinese Angelica, a sturdy perennial plant that is native to China and Japan, and when cultivated, may reach a height of up to six feet, bearing bright green leaves and clusters of white flowers. Both the Chinese species (Angelica sinensis) and Japanese species (Angelica acutiloba) have have very similar therapeutic effects, although each country claims to produce the superior Dong Quai. In Asia, the plant has been cultivated for thousands of years for medicinal purposes and was first recorded in 588 B.C., for the treatment of painful menstruation. Often referred to as the Female Ginseng, it has been used to treat a wide variety of disorders, particularly "female" disorders, and in the Orient, Dong Quai is second only in reputation and sales to ginseng and licorice root. Chinese and Japanese herbalists have also used Dong Quai for the prevention and treatment of allergic symptoms in individuals who are sensitive to a variety of substances, such as pollen, dust, animal dander, foods, etc. Chemical constituents of Dong Quai include coumarins, essential oils, vitamins B-1, B-2, B-5 and vitamin C, beta-carotene, acids, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, phosphorus, potassium selenium, flavonoids and phytoestrogens (characterized by both high and low estrogen levels, which may account for much of the plant's use to regulate competing actions).