Dong Quai Information

Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis) is one of the most powerful females tonic and fertility herbs. Dong Quai tonifies and strengthens the uterus by regulating hormonal control, improving uterine tone, and improving the timing of the menstrual cycle.

This Chinese herb made from the root of a carrot-like plant is often referred to as the “female ginseng” because of its use as an overall tonic for women’s health in Chinese medicine. Dong quai has developed a reputation for helping with fatigue and premenstrual irritability. Dong quai (Angelica sinensis) root has been used for more than a thousand years as a spice, tonic, and medicine in China, Korea, and Japan. It is still used often in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), where it is usually combined with other herbs. In TCM it is used most often to treat women’s reproductive problems, such as dysmenorrhea or painful menstruation, and to improve circulation. Dong quai is sometimes called the “female ginseng.” Although there are few scientific studies on dong quai, it is sometimes suggested to relieve cramps, irregular menstrual cycles, infrequent periods, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and menopausal symptoms.

Menopausal symptoms

Some women report relief of symptoms such as hot flashes when taking dong quai. Researchers aren’t sure whether dong quai has estrogen-like effects or if it blocks estrogens in the body, and the studies so far have been conflicting.

Other Benefits

Dong quai has also been suggested for these conditions, although there isn’ t good scientific evidence:

  • Amenorrhea (absence of menstruation)
  • Heart disease — One study suggested that a combination of dong quai, Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng), and astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) decreased symptoms of chest pain in a small group of people with heart disease.
  • High blood pressure
  • Premature ejaculation — as one ingredient in a cream applied topically

Dong Quai works by promoting blood flow to the pelvis where it will stimulate an absent or scanty period. It also nourishes the blood (it is in nearly all Chinese herbal blood-building formulas). Treats iron deficiency and anemia. One of the best uses is it helps women who are not menstruating to invite there menstruation back. The increased circulation also helps to strengthen and balance the uterus. In rat studies it has been show to help build the uterus lining.

Dong Quai also has a relaxing effect on both the uterus and the nervous system. This can be helpful in situations such as PMS and cramping during your period. It’s relaxing effects are just as powerful as well known herbs lavender, chamomile, or valerian root.

Risks

Anticoagulants (blood-thinners) – Dong quai may make the effects of these drugs, including warfarin (Coumadin), stronger, and raise the risk of bleeding. The same is true of using dong quai with the herbs listed below. Talk to your doctor before taking dong quai with any of the following:

  • Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)
  • Garlic (Allium sativum)
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
  • Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
  • Ginseng (Panax ginseng)
  • Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
  • Chinese skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis)
  • Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

Hormone medications – There is little research on using dong quai with hormone medications, such as estrogens, progesterones, oral contraceptives, tamoxifen, or raloxifene (Evista). But, because dong quai may have estrogen-like effects, you should not take it with hormone medications except under your doctor’s supervision.

St. John’s wort – Both dong quai and St. John’s wort can increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Talk to your doctor before taking them together.

Common Names:

Angelica sinensis; Chinese angelica; Danggui; Tan kue bai zhi; Tang kuei


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