Dong Quai

Dong quai has actually been used in China for countless years to help balance hormones, minimize PMS signs and increase sex drive.

Interestingly enough, the name of this herb even means its useful result on sexual health. In Chinese, dong quai apparently indicates “the spouse returns back to his spouse.”.

Dong quai has actually likewise been used in Native American, Ayurvedic and Kampo medication as a treatment for conditions like anemia, heart problem and high blood sugar.

These days, this angelica herb is a typical natural solution worldwide utilized to treat whatever from depression to menopause symptoms.

Although more research is needed to unearth its full capacity as a medicinal herb, it has actually even been promoted by some as a treatment for menstrual cramps, loss of hair and certain skin problem. [3]


The plant’s chemical constituents consist of phytosterols, polysaccharides, ligustilide, butylphthalide, cnidilide, isoenidilide, p-cymene, ferulate, and flavonoids. [4]

Health Advantages

Due to the deficiency of top quality scientific studies, dong quai is not authorized by the FDA for medical use. Additional research will be needed to identify whether it works or safe for long-lasting usage.

However, dong quai is commercially readily available as a supplement, both alone and as part of organic blends. Regulations set manufacturing requirements for supplements but don’t ensure that they are safe or effective. Speak to your doctor before utilizing dong quai for any conditions to avoid unanticipated interactions.

Menstrual Problems

In addition to other elements, menstrual cramps can be triggered by high levels of inflammatory chemicals (prostaglandins and leukotrienes).

A conventional Chinese natural treatment with dong quai (Danggui Shaoyao San) relieved menstrual cramps much better than placebo and painkillers in an analysis of 4 clinical trials involving over 400 women. 4 g/day of this remedy also normalized irregular menstruations in one small trial on 20 women.

2 other Chinese herbal mixes with dong quai minimized menstrual pain in 2 trials on over 100 women, although they were inadequate during the 3 first menstrual cycles.

Dong quai’s part ligustilide avoided uterine contractions in rats, which could discuss its function in alleviating menstrual cramps.

Endometriosis is the growth of a tissue similar to the uterine lining on other pelvic organs such as the ovaries and Fallopian tubes. It causes menstrual cramps and infertility. A Chinese conventional remedy with dong quai (Fubao Danggui Jiao) helped clear this undesirable tissue in rats.

The existing evidence suggests that dong quai might aid with menstrual complaints. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that a meta-analysis discovered the quality of the studies moderate to low due to their high risk of predisposition. Further, more robust trials are required to validate these results.

Menopausal Signs

Chinese texts recommend dong quai for ‘lacking blood energy’, with signs comparable to typical menopausal problems: irregular menstrual flow, anxiety, dizziness, sleeping disorders, and lapse of memory.

However, dong quai did not improve these signs in numerous studies. In a medical trial on 71 postmenopausal females, it had no effect. It was similarly inadequate in a clinical trial on 22 guys with menopause-like symptoms (hot flashes) triggered by a treatment with luteinizing hormone (LH) for prostate cancer.

The drawback is that these studies took a look at dong quai alone, as it is utilized in Western countries. In traditional Chinese medicine, nevertheless, it is constantly prescribed in combination with other herbs.

In a recent meta-analysis of 16 research studies and almost 1600 menopausal women, a Chinese natural formulation containing dong quai (Er-Xian Tang) was more efficient than placebo and hormonal agent treatment at improving menopausal signs but only in some research studies.

Another Chinese solution (Danggui Buxue Tang, 3 g/day) just improved mild hot flashes in a medical trial on 100 postmenopausal ladies. In contrast, 3 other herbal supplements with dong quai lowered hot flashes and sleep disturbances in 3 clinical trials on nearly 150 postmenopausal ladies.

In premenopausal women, the surgical removal of the ovaries triggers menopausal symptoms by considerably lowering estrogen and progesterone levels. A Chinese herbal mix with dong quai (Geng Nian An, 2x/day) improved menopausal signs and brought back regular hormone (estradiol, LH, and FSH) levels in a clinical trial on 69 ladies who had gone through ovarian elimination.

Based upon mixed outcomes, the low quality of the majority of research studies, and the reality that dong quai was used together with other herbs, there is insufficient evidence to support its advantages on menopausal signs. Extra, higher-quality scientific research study is needed.


The traditional Chinese medicine prescription with dong quai most typically used for anemia (Danggui Buxue Tag) is recommended to strengthen the ‘qi’ (vital force) and ‘nourish blood’ (improve body flow).

2 organic combines with dong quai promoted blood formation by increasing the production of the blood-forming hormonal agent erythropoietin (EPO).

Furthermore, its complicated sugars safeguarded blood cells and reduced the production of hepcidin, a hormone that works to trap iron inside cells.

As a result, this herb may increase red cell, leukocyte, platelets, iron, and hemoglobin.

TCM solutions with dong quai are typically only used as an add-on to common therapies for anemia. In a meta-analysis of 7 scientific trials including 460 individuals with anemia, this TCM formula improved the effectiveness of conventional treatment.

Laborious workout might trigger iron shortage by increasing the production of the hormone that traps iron into cells (hepcidin). In a medical trial on 36 guys, the same TCM formula decreased iron deficit after a long run.

This formula also improved anemia in rats and mice.

Nevertheless, 2 various Chinese remedies with dong quai had little or no result on preventing the anemia caused by chemotherapy in 2 medical trials on almost 150 ladies with breast cancer.

The proof to support the benefits of dong quai for anemia is insufficient. The authors of a meta-analysis thought about that many research studies had low quality and didn’t focus on security. Additional, better-designed research studies are needed to verify their results.

Some organic combinations including dong quai have been discovered to improve iron status in some research studies, while other research studies discovered no benefit. Additional research study is required.

Preventing Infections

A severe issue of infections is sepsis, a life-threatening condition in which the body damages its own tissues. A traditional Chinese medicine injection for sepsis with dong quai (Xuebijing) integrated with traditional therapy lowered death from sepsis in a meta-analysis of 16 scientific trials with over 1k individuals. Dong quai likewise prevented death from sepsis in mice.

A Chinese organic complex with dong quai (Burdock Complex, 10 ml 2x/day) lowered infections with a bacterium that typically causes ulcers (Helicobacter pylori) in a medical trial on 36 individuals.

In rats with pneumonia, dong quai decreased infection symptoms. However, it failed to kill the bacteria triggering this illness in an antimicrobial test.

In combination with another natural extract, dong quai prevented the development of 2 bacterial types that cause contagious illness (E. Coli and Staphylococcus aureus).

The complicated sugars in this herb avoided the department of an infection coming from the same class as HIV in mice. It also boosted their immune action, increasing their blood levels of T cells (CD4+ and CD8+).

Minimal research studies found a possible benefit of using traditional Chinese organic mixtures in bacterial infections. Even more, higher-quality medical research study should confirm the efficiency of dong quai versus these infections.

Ulcerative Colitis

To contribute to its anti-inflammatory potential, a number of studies suggest that dong quai might be advantageous for ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel illness (IBD). Individuals with ulcerative colitis have persistent inflammation and ulcers in the gut inner lining. Dong quai injections relieved the symptoms in a medical trial on 64 people.

In rats, this herb and its complicated sugars improved ulcerative colitis and injuries in the stomach and bowel.

A single medical trial and a couple of animal studies can not be thought about sufficient proof that dong quai assists with ulcerative colitis. More medical research is needed.

Brain Function Assistance

In a scientific trial on over 1k people with stroke, injected dong quai reduced mental retardation and enhanced brain function.

In animal studies, dong quai and herbal mixes with this herb avoided and enhanced the brain dysfunction caused by:.

  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer’s illness
  • Parkinson’s illness
  • Aging
  • Brain injury
  • Discomfort

Presently, it’s unknown if this herb may aid with brain disorders. On the benefit, there’s no proof of any type of unfavorable impacts of dong quai on the brain.

Boosting Energy Levels

According to TCM, fatigue is caused by internal injuries from excessive emotions, overstrain, or an incorrect diet plan. The symptoms are similar to those of ‘qi-deficiency’ and ‘blood tension’: lack of cravings, weak point, and a failure to use and carry food nutrients.

In a scientific trial on 36 men doing a long term, a Chinese conventional medication with dong quai (Danggui Buxue Tang, 7.5 g/day) reduced finish times by 14%.

In mice and rats, dong quai increased physical endurance and better sugar, protein, and energy usage.

The evidence is presently insufficient to claim that dong quai increases energy levels. Additional research study is required.

Animal and Cell Research (Lack of Evidence):

The prevalent use of dong quai in TCM has actually encouraged the research of much of its supposed health benefits. Since much of the outcomes have only been gotten in animals and cells, it’s still unsure whether dong quai has these advantages in human beings also.

Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant

Excessive swelling and oxidative stress underlie numerous diseases. Dong quai’s anti-inflammatory results have been suggested to assist with diverse concerns such as menstrual cramps, arthritis, and ulcerative colitis. Its antioxidant homes might synergize with these and contribute to its advantages for reproductive, bone, skin, and health, along with mood balance.

It mainly works by avoiding the activation of the body’s inflammatory hub, the NF-kb pathway. Beyond this, it affects lots of other important pathways, which minimizes the production of the following inflammatory compounds:.

  • Cytokines (such as TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, IL6, and IL10 )
  • Messengers (NO, PGE2, histamine)
  • What’s more, it also blocks key enzymes that set off and sustain swelling in the body (COX-1, COX-2, MMP1, MMP13, inos). In this sense, it resembles commonly-used NSAID pain relievers, however its impacts are wider-ranging.

Free radicals damage tissues by breaking down and damaging the building blocks of cells. Dong quai avoids this damage by increasing the activity and production of antioxidant enzymes (NQO1, SOD, and CAT). In addition, it triggers the production of a substance that helps cells make it through under oxidative tension (phosphatidylinositol).

The main parts with anti-inflammatory activity are ferulic acid, ligustilide, and intricate sugars.

On the other hand, its primary antioxidants are its phenolic compounds, while its complicated sugars and proteins likewise contribute to the advantages.

Animal and cell research suggests anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects for dong quai, but these have not been directly observed in people.

Enhancing State of mind

In an observational research study on over 1k individuals utilizing traditional Chinese medicine for anxiety and sleep disorders, a herbal blend whose primary element is dong quai (Jia-Wei-Xiao-Yao-San) was most frequently recommended.

In rats and mice with anxiety brought on by chronic stress, dong quai and ferulic acid enhanced low state of mind. They minimized depressive habits such as drowsiness and immobility and brought back typical neurotransmitter levels (noradrenaline and dopamine).

An organic blend consisting of dong quai is frequently recommended for depression and sleep conditions in traditional Chinese medicine, however in modern research, this supposed benefit has actually just been observed in rat and mouse research studies.

Improving Blood Flow

According to traditional Chinese Medicine, ‘blood stasis’ is the slowing down or pooling of blood due to the disruption of the heart ‘qi’. This syndrome is often comprehended as a blood condition that may develop into severe conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cardiac arrest, stroke, and clogged up arteries.

Blood clot

Free extreme buildup may set off extreme platelet clumping. This is since complimentary radicals trigger the release of arachidonic acid that is converted to a molecule that clumps platelets (thromboxane A2). By scavenging totally free radicals, a natural combine with dong quai (Danggui Shaoyao San) avoided the extreme platelet clumping.

Additionally, dong quai decreases the production of fibrinogen, a protein that forms embolism. Many active components in dong quai have proven anti-blood clotting activity.

Dong quai and numerous of its parts reduced blood clotting in rats and mice and avoided platelets from clumping together. Nevertheless, this herb was less efficient than a standard blood thinner (clopidogrel).

This herb enhanced blood circulation by lowering blood density, which assists blood flow more freely. It worked both alone and as part of two Chinese medicines (Danggui Sini Tang and Danggui Honghua).

Blood Flow and Heart Security

Raynaud’s is a syndrome in which the capillary become very narrow in response to cold temperatures. This causes poor blood flow, numbness, and color modifications in the fingers. A Chinese formula with dong quai is traditionally utilized for this syndrome based on the belief that it ‘warms the interior’. In mice, this formula reduced blood vessel tightening up in action to cold.

What’s more, this herb and its complex sugars secured rat and mouse heart tissues from the damage brought on by:.

  • Poor blood flow
  • An anticancer drug (doxorubicin)
  • The main hormone that narrows capillary and increases blood pressure (angiotensin II)

Dong quai is believed to improve flow in traditional Chinese medicine, but just animal research studies have been performed to examine this claim.

Bone and Cartilage Health

In menopausal rats, dong quai lowered bone loss that leads to osteoporosis. It had advantageous impacts both alone and as part of 2 Chinese natural prescriptions.

A standard Chinese solution with dong quai (Danggui Sini Tang) and this herb’s active parts reduced cartilage damage and promoted its repair work in mice and rats with both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. However, a different standard solution with dong quai stopped working to improve gouty arthritis in rats.

Gum illness might ruin the tooth-supporting cartilages and bones. Two natural solutions with dong quai promoted the regrowth of bone and cartilage tissues while preventing their damage in rats and mice with gum disease.

In rats, dong quai minimized the bone loss quality of osteoporosis. Other animal research studies recommend a role for dong quai in bone and cartilage health, but these advantages have not been observed in people.

Kidney Support

In animal studies, dong quai prevented and enhanced kidney damage triggered by:.

  • Diabetes
  • Poor blood supply
  • An autoimmune disease (membranous nephropathy)
  • An anticancer drug (cisplatin)
  • These research studies utilized numerous active parts of dong quai and 2 Chinese medications with this herb (Danggui Buxue Tang and Danggui Shaoyao San).

Liver Assistance

Dong quai’s complicated sugars protected mice and rats from liver damage triggered by:.

  • Tylenol
  • Contaminants (carbon tetrachloride)
  • A damaging bean lectin
  • A TCM herb that can harm the liver (air yam)
  • Although TCM use supports this benefit, dong quai’s results on the liver need to be figured out in medical trials.

Tissue Scarring

When the body attempts to repair an organ damaged by chronic diseases, drugs, or surgery, it produces tissue scars. If proteins that form soft tissues develop in excess, they may cause the organ to malfunction.

In animal research studies, Danggui Buxue Tang and other Chinese standard medications with dong quai avoided and enhanced tissue scarring in the:.

  • Kidneys
  • Liver
  • Lungs

Skin Health and Wound Recovery

Dong quai might accelerate wound healing and lower skin inflammation. It increased collagen production and helped produce new blood vessels, both of which are required for correct wound recovery. Numerous research studies in mice, rats, fish, and cells vouch for its capability to heal damaged skin, either alone or in combination with astragalus (as part of the organic mix Danggui Buxue Tang).

Furthermore, dong quai improved skin allergic reactions and psoriasis in mice as part of 2 Chinese remedies (Danggui Buxue Tang and Danggui Liu Hang Tang).

Animal research study recommends that dong quai might accelerate wound recovery and reduce skin inflammation, but these results have actually not been repeated in humans.


A diet plan high in sugars and fats may result in obesity and insulin resistance, ultimately triggering health conditions such as metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Dong quai and a Chinese solution containing it (Danggui Buxue Tang) reduced weight, insulin resistance, and blood glucose and fat levels in rats and mice on high-sugar and high-fat diets.

In diabetic mice and rats, dong quai lowered blood sugar levels and problems such as stopped up arteries and pancreas, liver, kidney, and eye damage. It helped both alone and as part of the Chinese medications Danggui Buxue Tang and Naoxintong.

Cancer Research study

Below, we will talk about some initial research study on dong quai’s anticancer activity. It’s still in the cell stage and more clinical studies have yet to figure out if its compounds are useful in cancer treatments.

Do not under any circumstances try to replace standard cancer therapies with dong quai or any other supplements. If you wish to utilize it as an encouraging measure, talk to your physician to avoid any unexpected interactions.

Dong quai and its parts helped eliminate cancer in cell-based studies.They could obstruct cancer development, maturation, and infecting healthy tissues. This herb had an advantageous effect in the following cancer types:.

  • Brain
  • Liver
  • Leukemia
  • Lung
  • Colon
  • Cervical
  • Soft tissue and bone (sarcoma)
  • Bladder
  • Oral
  • Prostate
  • Ovarian

Additionally, two phthalides from this herb may increase the reaction to cancer drugs. These compounds obstructed an antioxidant enzyme (glutathione S-transferase), the extreme production of which makes cancer cells resistant to chemotherapy.

Not all parts in this herb have anti-cancer activity. While its complicated sugars and phthalides killed breast cancer cells, ferulic acid promoted their development. This acid may have female sex hormonal agent activity, which may feed breast cancer.

In general, little is understood about the effects of dong quai on cancer. The current findings are restricted to cellular studies, based upon which no conclusions about its impacts in human beings can be drawn. [5]

Suggested dose

Take 1 to 2 grams/ teaspoons of the powdered whole plant two or 3 times a day, or as recommended by an organic professional.

You can discover dong quai in a range of forms, including tablets and powders. In China and Japan, it is offered as an injection in a health center or university hospital. You must not use injections at home.

Dong quai should be saved in a cool, dry location.


You should not provide dong quai to a child.


Researchers do not know what a safe dose is, so there is no suggested dosage.

Dried herb (raw root): may be boiled or soaked in white wine before taking in.

Powdered herb (readily available in pills): In one study for menopausal signs, individuals took 500 to 600 mg tablets or capsules as much as 6 times daily.

Tincture (1:5 w/v, 70% alcohol): 40 to 80 drops (comparable to 2 to 4 ml, there are 5 ml in a tsp.), 3 times everyday is one possible dosing schedule, however, individual doses will differ and it is uncommon for Dong quai to be recommended alone. It is generally part of a formula including synergistic herbs. [7]


The medicinal part of the angelica plant is the root. Dong quai root can be prepared as an infusion or decoction, tincture, tablet, or pill. It is likewise readily available dried, either whole, diced, or sliced. The herb is nontoxic, however recent findings recommend care in using it over a prolonged amount of time. The dried root may be chewed in quarter inch segments two to three times daily, as much as three to four grams per day.

Infusion or decoction: Research indicates that extracts of dong quai that retain the unstable constituents act to raise high blood pressure and relax uterine muscles. An infusion of the root, steeped in hot water, keeps the unpredictable constituents and is useful to treat dysmenorrhea and to quiet uterine spasm. For amenorrhea, where stimulation of the uterine muscles is looked for, a preparation is the suggested. Simmer the root in water to evaporate the unpredictable constituents. A lot of Chinese herbalists use dong quai in combination with other herbs depending on the issues being resolved and these are prepared together.

Alcohol cast: Combine fresh or dry, chopped root with sufficient alcohol to cover in a glass container. Alcohol must be of good quality. A 50/50 alcohol/water ratio is optimal. If the alcohol is not 100 evidence, add distilled water to obtain a 50/50 ratio. Brandy, vodka, and gin are frequently used. Seal the mix in an air-tight container and set aside in a dark place for about 2 weeks. Shake daily. Pressure through cheesecloth or muslin and store in dark containers for as much as two years. Dose: 10-40 drops of the fresh root cast one to three times daily. [8]

Does dong quai really work?

It does appear to have a considerable effect on hormonal agent production. More than 70 substances have been separated from dong quai that might have an influence on our health. Among the most studied is trans-ferulic acid which works as an anti-inflammatory and body immune system stimulant. Taking dong quai may for that reason have an influence on inflammation, decrease blood clot and change hormonal production. While there do seem to be some substantial results when taking dong quai, there is no strong evidence that it aids with signs of menopause, however. This may be the outcome of a lack of large-scale medical trials or it may be that the supplement merely doesn’t have a powerful effect. [9]

Adverse effects

Blood Thinning: Dong Quai contains coumarin, one of the key components responsible for blood thinning. Consuming it in addition to any other blood thinner like warfarin will increase your danger of bleeding. Additionally, it would trigger similar effects if consumed with gingko, ginger or garlic, as they too are effective blood thinners.

Allergic reaction: It must be avoided by people adverse cilantro (coriander), celery, or dill, which are of the very same household as dong quai.

Impacts Uterine Muscles: Females must avoid dong quai during pregnancy, lactation, in addition to menstruation. Its results on the uterine muscles can cause unfavorable effects.

Blood clot: Individuals with protein S shortage need to not eat dong quai as it may result in blood clots.

Medication: It disrupts different medications like contraceptive pill, ibuprofen, naproxen, hormone replacement therapy, and others. Therefore, it is suggested to prevent it when one is on medication.

Cancer: Those suffering from cancer, especially women experiencing breast cancer and males experiencing prostate cancer should prevent dong quai.

While research studies have verified the various benefits of dong quai, anecdotal proof reveals that it does have negative effects such as:.

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Sleepiness
  • Vision loss
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bloating and stomach ache
  • Excessive sweating
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Extreme drop in blood sugar level levels

If you experience any of these signs, discontinue its use and consult your medical professional immediately. [10]


Warfarin (Coumadin) Interaction Ranking: Significant Do not take this mix.

Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. Dong quai can likewise slow blood clotting. Taking dong quai along with warfarin (Coumadin) can increase the opportunities of bruising and bleeding. Be sure to have your blood examined regularly. The dosage of your warfarin (Coumadin) may need to be changed.

Estrogensinteraction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health service provider.

Dong quai might act like the hormone estrogen. When taken together, dong quai may increase the danger for side effects.

Medications that slow blood clot (Anticoagulant/ Antiplatelet drugs) Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Dong quai might slow blood clotting. Taking dong quai together with medications that likewise slow clotting may increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Some medications that slow blood clot include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others. [11]

Special Preventative Measures and Warnings

  • When taken by mouth: Dong quai is possibly safe when considered as much as 6 months. It’s been securely utilized in combination with other ingredients in doses up to 150 mg daily. It might make the skin additional sensitive to sunlight. Typical side effects consist of burping, gas, and hypertension.
  • Taking dong quai in higher dosages for more than 6 months is possibly hazardous. Dong quai contains chemicals that might cause cancer.
  • When applied to the skin: There isn’t sufficient reputable information to understand if dong quai is safe or what the adverse effects might be. Pregnancy: Taking dong quai by mouth during pregnancy is perhaps hazardous for the child. Dong quai seems to impact the uterus. Some research suggests that taking dong quai with other herbs throughout the very first 3 months of pregnancy can increase the risk of birth defects. Do not use dong quai if you are pregnant.
  • Breast-feeding: There isn’t sufficient reputable details to understand if dong quai is safe to use when breast-feeding. Remain on the safe side and prevent usage.
  • Bleeding disorders. Dong quai might slow blood clotting and increase the chance of bruising and bleeding in people with bleeding conditions.
  • Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Dong quai might imitate estrogen. If you have any condition that might be intensified by estrogen, don’t utilize dong quai.
  • Surgery: Dong quai may slow blood clotting. It may increase the risk of bleeding throughout and after surgery. Stop taking dong quai at least 2 weeks before an arranged surgical treatment. [12]


Dong quai is a supplement that has actually proposed advantages for blood health and may have a result on slowing cancer growth. While it’s been utilized in Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years, there aren’t numerous clinical research studies to show that dong quai can considerably enhance your blood health. Speak with your medical professional prior to taking dong quai, particularly if you’re taking other medications. Terminate dong quai and visit a medical professional if you experience any kind of easy bleeding, such as bleeding gums or blood in your urine or stool. Avoid using dong quai if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or attempting to develop. [13]


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