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Herb Gallery

Du Huo (Angelica pubescens)

  • Botanical name: Angelica pubescens
  • Common name: Pubescent angelica root
  • Family: Apiaceae, parsley family
  • Part used in Chinese medicine: root
  • Major Chinese medicine actions:
  • Dispels wind-dampness, alleviates pain, treats bi obstruction
Angelica pubescens
Angelica pubescens

Photo Credits: (top to bottom)
Photo 1: Angelica pubescens; 06/2008; author C. Micleu; permission Jade Institute
Photo 2: Angelica pubescens; 06/2008; author C. Micleu; permission Jade Institute

Growing and Propagation

The plant is a herbaceous perennial growing about 1-2 feet high, with white flowers blooming in July to August. It does best in full sun or light shade and requires deep, moist, fertile soil to grow well. Plants are hardy to USDA zone 7. Plants generally do not flower until the second year, and after that they are only reliably perennial if they are not allowed to go to seed. In order to prolong the life of the plant to 3 or 4 years, the flower buds should be removed.

To propagate, seeds should be allowed to form, then planted as soon as they are ripe as they have a very short viability. If seeds are collected for later planting, they must be stored in an air-tight plastic container and kept in the freezer or refrigerator, and even then will only be viable for about 6 months.

Seeds require light and warmth for germination, so when planting, they should either not be covered with soil, or only lightly pressed down just below the soil surface. They generally take 21-28 days to emerge as seedlings. If started indoors, the plants can be transplanted when they have 4-6 leaves.

Harvesting and Preparation

The young stems and leaves of the plant are edible and can be harvested for food as desired, as soon as the plants have become established. For Chinese medicine, the roots are used, harvested after the second year of growth. They are cleaned and dried and cut into strips. For medicinal use, the roots should be large, solid and thick with a strong aromatic fragrance.


Angelica pubescens is native to east Asia and Japan, growing in damp habitats in hills and low mountains.