獨活, Dú Huó, Angelica Pubescens Radix, Reveal Date: 5/30

Article published at: May 24, 2024 Article author: Lily Michaud
Angelica pubensis, Du Huo, photograph of flower by Koichi Oda
All Brown Bear Herbs Herbalism & Tactics for Thriving Together Article comments count: 0

This week we meditated with Dú Huó, 獨活, Angelica pubescens radix, an herb from Chinese medicine. 


Dú Huó, areas for further investigation: Plant Meditation Club comparison with Dong quai, Angelica sinensis, and Angelica archangelica.

Me: Spicy, the steam smells like incense from a hippy resale shop (nag champa? patchouli?), the taste goes all the way to the back of my tongue. 

Pre-meditation: I drink a few sips, and then my sides squeeze in (below my ribs), like they would to vomit. So, I stop drinking and prepare to meditate.

My daughter: Honey-like aftertaste. Stays on my tongue.

Pre-meditation: "This is improving the stomach ache I had. That could be the herb or the hot water. I never want to drink this again"...proceeds to drink the entire cup (lol, why??)

Meditation 1: 

Lily (me!): My third eye is very active. It looks like the three prongs of a triden are across my forehead and they are on fire, like a torch. This went on for a while. It is hot energy but not physically hot--I could see it being quite heating over time/multiple interactions. My stomach feels pretty hot, like pushing up energy. The herb pushing my energy up towards my crown. My mouth feels hot and dry. I feel the energy as a deep orange (low ember) color (this color/image reminds me of shaoyin). Energy moves from my mouth through my soft palate, to my nose (interior), and then up to my crown of my head. The herb spirit appears as a very strong female presence. She says, with respect, I like how much writing you do online from these lips (as she is looking at my labia). She has a very feminine and solid feel to her. She likes sex and enjoying the female body, but calls upon a retreat and pulling upwards when needed, for example to balance relationships.

My daughter: Mr Rodger's song "Garden of Your Mind" is going through my head.

The following outline drawing images tell a story.

Du Huo visions Plant Meditation Club, Brown Bear Herbs

1. Outline of a planter

2. A "V" appears on it (possibly vaginal)

3. Giant tree is coming out with swirly branches. It is a magical, mystical tree.

4. It reaches out to other smaller plants in pots. These plants are not fully formed yet. The smaller planters have keyholes on them. (More vaginal symbolism?)

5. When the plant is taken, as tea for example, this is the key, and it unlocks memories and/or thoughts and/or little potted plants waiting to join the mother. 

6. One of the plants got unlocked & it was the hippie resale shop (the one with the incense smell) by the coast.

7. Also, I saw a female testifying in court using the plant. They had taken the plant beforehand. The plant helped them remember something that helped them. 

Meditation 2: 

Me: My third eye is strongly activated again. I am slumping. I sit up and there is an even stronger feeling of heat pushing up in my middle jiao (abdomen), as if to make me vomit from heat. I did eat a little before the meditation which may not be helping as the plant strongly pushes energy up. My daughter is laughing the entire 10 minutes of this meditation. I am feeling very light and happy too. I feel happier than I have in a long time. I think she does too. I ask her later, why she was laughing "Oh just because you are funny." I hear "what if you got a crown?" I see a white delicate crown made of light on my head. It looks a little like an ice crown, like a disney princess might wear. Sounds fun!

My daughter: I was in the hippie resale shop. The people at the shop lead me to their loft, and Lizzo opens the door. What followed was her from Vogue's 73 Qs with Lizzo

 (Lizzo's into meditation too! -mom)

Summary/Traditional Use:  

The name of this herb means "self-reliant existence". The image of the woman in court being helped by the plant works with this message. At that same time plants are so intelligent that many plants help align you to the correct amount of what they know, such as moderating excessive self-reliance. I feel this plant has such good messages that allow for strength and self-determination while solidly engaging in joy and healthy connection.

Angelica archangelica, which I am more familiar with also has strong feminine female energy as well, and also promotes self-sufficiency and meditation. I typically recommend it when there is a desire to "fill the void with people or substances". It is also very warming to the digestive tract and, when taking in excess can cause vomiting. On the other hand, when my daughter was an infant, she was vomiting frequently. I dreamed of angelica multiple times for her. I thought of as such a strong herb I wouldn't think of as for a child. (ALWAYS work with a very knowlegable and experienced herbalist during pregnancy, lactaction and early childhood!) I started her on a half drop (diluted). The angelica worked wonders stopping the vomiting. If you have a damp (slow, cold) gut, hers was also challenged by dairy received through my milk, angelica can warm & stimulate your gut so that food won't sit and get uncomfortable and come back up. If you have a warm gut you don't need it and it may make you vomit. This herb brought a lot of joy to me and my daughter. It came to mind that part of that could be memory of those early months. If you have too much Angelica (or, reputedly with Angelica archangelica, the fresh rather than dried root) it can cause vomiting.

I loved the images of the "Mothership" plant connect with the small plants, consuming the plants, the garden of your mind, and this plant's playful yet strong personality.

You can see that Dú Huó has a beautiful white crown that looks like a snow flake or ice crystal. How beautiful! Unlike many Chinese herbs, the root of this herb is cut, dried in the sun and used in it's unprocessed form

In historical Chinese medicine this herb was used for eliminating damp, wind damp, and bolting piglet syndrome, or running piglet qi. Running piglet qi involve palpations moving up from the abdomen to chest, and may be considered a "panic attack". It is the feeling of energy moving in the abdomen and rushing upwards. It happens when the heart fire cannot contain the kidney water and the kidney water ascends. Imbalanced kidneys are associated with fear, and there is the sensation "one is about to die". This herb is for dispelling damp, so it can help dry out the excess kidney water.

**This herb is contraindicated when there is heat in the body or yin deficiency.

Have you worked with Dú Huó personally or in your practice? Please share your experiences below. Curious about plant meditation? We'd love to have you in our club!




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