Dong Quai

36 mins read

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

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

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

Nowadays, this angelica herb is a typical natural remedy around the globe used to deal with whatever from anxiety to menopause symptoms.

Although more research study is needed to discover its complete capacity as a medical herb, it has actually even been promoted by some as a treatment for menstrual cramps, hair loss and particular skin conditions. [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 shortage of high-quality clinical studies, dong quai is not authorized by the FDA for medical usage. Further research study will be needed to identify whether it is effective or safe for long-term use.

Nevertheless, dong quai is commercially offered as a supplement, both alone and as part of natural mixes. Laws set production requirements for supplements but do not guarantee that they are safe or efficient. Speak with your physician before using dong quai for any conditions to prevent unforeseen interactions.

Menstrual Problems

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

A conventional Chinese natural remedy with dong quai (Danggui Shaoyao San) relieved menstrual cramps better than placebo and pain relievers in an analysis of 4 scientific trials including over 400 ladies. 4 g/day of this solution also stabilized irregular menstrual cycles in one small trial on 20 females.

2 other Chinese herbal blends with dong quai decreased menstrual pain in 2 trials on over 100 ladies, although they were inadequate during the 3 first menstruations.

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

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

The existing evidence recommends that dong quai might assist with menstrual complaints. Nevertheless, it’s important to keep in mind that a meta-analysis found the quality of the studies moderate to low due to their high danger of predisposition. Further, more robust trials are needed to validate these results.

Menopausal Signs

Chinese texts prescribe dong quai for ‘deficient blood energy’, with signs similar to common menopausal problems: irregular menstrual circulation, nervousness, dizziness, insomnia, and forgetfulness.

Nevertheless, dong quai did not enhance these symptoms in several research studies. In a scientific trial on 71 postmenopausal ladies, it had no impact. It was equally inefficient in a clinical trial on 22 men with menopause-like symptoms (hot flashes) caused by a therapy with luteinizing hormonal agent (LH) for prostate cancer.

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

In a recent meta-analysis of 16 studies and nearly 1600 menopausal women, a Chinese natural formula containing dong quai (Er-Xian Tang) was more effective than placebo and hormone treatment at improving menopausal symptoms however only in some studies.

Another Chinese treatment (Danggui Buxue Tang, 3 g/day) only enhanced mild hot flashes in a clinical trial on 100 postmenopausal females. In contrast, three other organic supplements with dong quai decreased hot flashes and sleep disruptions in 3 clinical trials on practically 150 postmenopausal females.

In premenopausal females, the surgical removal of the ovaries triggers menopausal symptoms by considerably decreasing estrogen and progesterone levels. A Chinese organic mix with dong quai (Geng Nian An, 2x/day) improved menopausal symptoms and brought back normal hormonal agent (estradiol, LH, and FSH) levels in a clinical trial on 69 ladies who had undergone ovarian elimination.

Based on combined results, the low quality of many studies, and the reality that dong quai was used together with other herbs, there is insufficient evidence to support its benefits on menopausal signs. Extra, higher-quality clinical research is required.


The traditional Chinese medicine prescription with dong quai most typically utilized for anemia (Danggui Buxue Tag) is advised to reinforce the ‘qi’ (vital force) and ‘nourish blood’ (improve body circulation).

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

Furthermore, its complex sugars protected 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 formulas with dong quai are often just utilized as an add-on to common treatments for anemia. In a meta-analysis of 7 clinical trials consisting of 460 individuals with anemia, this TCM formula improved the efficiency of standard therapy.

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

This formula likewise enhanced anemia in rats and mice.

Nevertheless, two different Chinese remedies with dong quai had little or no result on avoiding the anemia brought on by chemotherapy in two scientific trials on practically 150 females with breast cancer.

The evidence to support the benefits of dong quai for anemia is insufficient. The authors of a meta-analysis considered that many research studies had poor quality and didn’t pay attention to safety. Additional, better-designed research studies are required to validate their results.

Some natural combinations including dong quai have actually been found to enhance iron status in some studies, while other studies found no advantage. Extra research study is required.

Preventing Infections

A severe complication of infections is sepsis, a lethal condition in which the body damages its own tissues. A traditional Chinese medicine injection for sepsis with dong quai (Xuebijing) integrated with standard treatment lowered death from sepsis in a meta-analysis of 16 scientific trials with over 1k individuals. Dong quai also avoided death from sepsis in mice.

A Chinese organic complex with dong quai (Burdock Complex, 10 ml 2x/day) lowered infections with a bacterium that frequently triggers ulcers (Helicobacter pylori) in a scientific trial on 36 people.

In rats with pneumonia, dong quai reduced infection symptoms. However, it failed to kill the bacteria causing this disease in an antimicrobial test.

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

The complex sugars in this herb avoided the division of an infection belonging to the same class as HIV in mice. It likewise boosted their immune response, increasing their blood levels of T cells (CD4+ and CD8+).

Limited studies found a possible benefit of using traditional Chinese herbal mixtures in bacterial infections. Further, higher-quality scientific research ought to validate the efficiency of dong quai versus these infections.

Ulcerative Colitis

To add to its anti-inflammatory potential, a couple of research studies suggest that dong quai might be helpful for ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Individuals with ulcerative colitis have persistent inflammation and ulcers in the gut inner lining. Dong quai injections eased the symptoms in a scientific trial on 64 individuals.

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

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

Brain Function Support

In a medical trial on over 1k individuals with stroke, injected dong quai minimized mental retardation and improved brain function.

In animal studies, dong quai and herbal blends with this herb prevented and enhanced the brain dysfunction triggered by:.

  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s illness
  • Aging
  • Brain injury
  • Pain

Presently, it’s unidentified if this herb may aid with brain disorders. On the upside, there’s no proof of any kind of unfavorable results of dong quai on the brain.

Boosting Energy Levels

According to TCM, tiredness is triggered by internal injuries from excessive feelings, overstrain, or an inappropriate diet. The symptoms resemble those of ‘qi-deficiency’ and ‘blood stasis’: absence of hunger, weakness, and a failure to use and transfer food nutrients.

In a clinical trial on 36 guys doing a long run, a Chinese standard medicine with dong quai (Danggui Buxue Tang, 7.5 g/day) shortened finish times by 14%.

In mice and rats, dong quai increased physical endurance and enhanced sugar, protein, and energy use.

The evidence is presently inadequate to claim that dong quai enhances energy levels. More research is needed.

Animal and Cell Research (Lack of Proof):

The extensive use of dong quai in TCM has encouraged the research of a number of its purported health advantages. Since much of the results have actually just been acquired in animals and cells, it’s still unsure whether dong quai has these advantages in human beings too.

Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant

Extreme inflammation and oxidative stress underlie numerous diseases. Dong quai’s anti-inflammatory effects have actually been suggested to aid with diverse problems such as menstrual cramps, arthritis, and ulcerative colitis. Its antioxidant homes may synergize with these and add to its advantages for reproductive, bone, skin, and health, as well as mood balance.

It generally works by avoiding the activation of the body’s inflammatory hub, the NF-kb path. Beyond this, it affects lots of other essential 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 likewise obstructs crucial enzymes that trigger and sustain swelling in the body (COX-1, COX-2, MMP1, MMP13, inos). In this sense, it is similar to commonly-used NSAID pain relievers, but its effects are wider-ranging.

Free radicals damage tissues by breaking down and harming the building blocks of cells. Dong quai prevents this damage by increasing the activity and production of antioxidant enzymes (NQO1, SOD, and CAT). In addition, it sets off the production of a substance that assists cells make it through under oxidative stress (phosphatidylinositol).

The primary components with anti-inflammatory activity are ferulic acid, ligustilide, and complicated sugars.

On the other hand, its primary anti-oxidants are its phenolic compounds, while its intricate sugars and proteins also add to the benefits.

Animal and cell research study recommends anti-inflammatory and antioxidant impacts for dong quai, however these have actually not been straight observed in human beings.

Enhancing Mood

In an observational study on over 1k individuals using traditional Chinese medicine for depression and sleep conditions, a herbal mix whose primary part is dong quai (Jia-Wei-Xiao-Yao-San) was most frequently prescribed.

In rats and mice with depression triggered by chronic tension, dong quai and ferulic acid enhanced low state of mind. They decreased depressive habits such as drowsiness and immobility and restored regular neurotransmitter levels (noradrenaline and dopamine).

A natural blend including dong quai is commonly recommended for anxiety and sleep disorders in traditional Chinese medicine, but in modern-day research, this supposed advantage has only been observed in rat and mouse studies.

Improving Blood Circulation

According to traditional Chinese Medicine, ‘blood tension’ is the slowing down or pooling of blood due to the interruption of the heart ‘qi’. This syndrome is frequently understood as a blood disorder that may develop into severe conditions such as heart disease, cardiac arrest, stroke, and clogged up arteries.

Blood Clotting

Free radical buildup might trigger extreme platelet clumping. This is since complimentary radicals trigger the release of arachidonic acid that is transformed to a molecule that clumps platelets (thromboxane A2). By scavenging free radicals, a natural blend with dong quai (Danggui Shaoyao San) prevented the excessive platelet clumping.

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

Dong quai and several of its parts lowered blood clot in rats and mice and prevented platelets from clumping together. However, this herb was less effective than a conventional blood thinner (clopidogrel).

This herb improved blood circulation by minimizing blood thickness, which helps blood flow more easily. 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 end up being exceptionally narrow in action to cold temperature levels. This triggers poor blood flow, numbness, and color changes in the fingers. A Chinese formula with dong quai is traditionally utilized for this syndrome based upon the belief that it ‘warms the interior’. In mice, this formula reduced blood vessel tightening in reaction to cold.

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

  • Poor blood flow
  • An anticancer drug (doxorubicin)
  • The primary hormonal agent that narrows blood vessels and increases high blood pressure (angiotensin II)

Dong quai is thought to improve flow in traditional Chinese medicine, but only animal research studies have actually been carried out to investigate this claim.

Bone and Cartilage Health

In menopausal rats, dong quai reduced bone loss that causes osteoporosis. It had helpful results both alone and as part of two Chinese natural prescriptions.

A standard Chinese treatment with dong quai (Danggui Sini Tang) and this herb’s active parts decreased cartilage damage and promoted its repair in mice and rats with both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. However, a different traditional remedy with dong quai failed to enhance gouty arthritis in rats.

Gum illness may ruin the tooth-supporting cartilages and bones. 2 natural solutions with dong quai promoted the regeneration of bone and cartilage tissues while avoiding their destruction in rats and mice with gum disease.

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

Kidney Support

In animal studies, dong quai avoided and improved kidney damage caused by:.

  • Diabetes
  • Poor blood supply
  • An autoimmune disease (membranous nephropathy)
  • An anticancer drug (cisplatin)
  • These studies used 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 intricate sugars secured mice and rats from liver damage caused by:.

  • Tylenol
  • Toxins (carbon tetrachloride)
  • A damaging bean lectin
  • A TCM herb that can harm the liver (air yam)
  • Although TCM usage supports this benefit, dong quai’s effects on the liver requirement to be identified in scientific trials.

Tissue Scarring

When the body tries to fix an organ damaged by persistent diseases, drugs, or surgical treatment, it produces tissue scars. If proteins that form soft tissues build up in excess, they may trigger the organ to breakdown.

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

  • Kidneys
  • Liver
  • Lungs

Skin Health and Wound Healing

Dong quai might speed up injury healing and lower skin inflammation. It increased collagen production and helped develop new blood vessels, both of which are needed for appropriate injury recovery. Various studies in mice, rats, fish, and cells attest to its ability to heal damaged skin, either alone or in mix with astragalus (as part of the herbal mix Danggui Buxue Tang).

In addition, dong quai improved skin allergies and psoriasis in mice as part of 2 Chinese treatments (Danggui Buxue Tang and Danggui Liu Hang Tang).

Animal research study suggests that dong quai may speed up wound healing and reduce skin inflammation, however these results have actually not been duplicated in people.


A diet plan high in sugars and fats might lead to obesity and insulin resistance, eventually causing health conditions such as metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Dong quai and a Chinese treatment containing it (Danggui Buxue Tang) lowered 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 reduced blood sugar levels and complications such as blocked arteries and pancreas, liver, kidney, and eye damage. It helped both alone and as part of the Chinese medicines Danggui Buxue Tang and Naoxintong.

Cancer Research study

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

Do not under any scenarios try to change traditional cancer therapies with dong quai or any other supplements. If you want to utilize it as a supportive procedure, talk to your medical professional to avoid any unforeseen interactions.

Dong quai and its elements helped eliminate cancer in cell-based studies.They might block cancer development, maturation, and infecting healthy tissues. This herb had an useful result in the following cancer types:.

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

In addition, two phthalides from this herb might increase the response to cancer drugs. These substances blocked an antioxidant enzyme (glutathione S-transferase), the extreme production of that makes cancer cells resistant to chemotherapy.

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

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

Recommended dosage

Take 1 to 2 grams/ teaspoons of the powdered whole plant two or three times a day, or as suggested by a herbal professional.

You can discover dong quai in a range of forms, consisting of tablets and powders. In China and Japan, it is offered as an injection in a medical facility or university hospital. You should not utilize injections in your home.

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


You ought to not provide dong quai to a kid.


Scientists do not know what a safe dose is, so there is no advised dosage.

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

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

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


The medical part of the angelica plant is the root. Dong quai root can be prepared as an infusion or preparation, cast, tablet, or capsule. It is also offered dried, either whole, diced, or sliced. The herb is nontoxic, however current findings suggest caution in using it over a prolonged amount of time. The dried root might be chewed in quarter inch sectors two to three times daily, approximately three to four grams each day.

Infusion or decoction: Research suggests that extracts of dong quai that retain the volatile constituents act to raise blood pressure and unwind uterine muscles. An infusion of the root, steeped in hot water, maintains the unstable constituents and is useful to deal with dysmenorrhea and to peaceful uterine convulsion. For amenorrhea, where stimulation of the uterine muscles is sought, a decoction is the indicated. Simmer the root in water to vaporize the unstable constituents. A lot of Chinese herbalists use dong quai in combination with other herbs depending upon the problems being addressed and these are prepared together.

Alcohol cast: Integrate fresh or dry, sliced root with sufficient alcohol to cover in a glass container. Alcohol must be of good quality. A 50/50 alcohol/water ratio is ideal. If the alcohol is not 100 proof, include distilled water to obtain a 50/50 ratio. Brandy, vodka, and gin are typically used. Seal the mixture in an air-tight container and set aside in a dark place for about two weeks. Shake daily. Strain through cheesecloth or muslin and shop in dark containers for as much as two years. Dosage: 10-40 drops of the fresh root cast one to 3 times daily. [8]

Does dong quai truly work?

It does appear to have a significant effect on hormonal agent production. More than 70 compounds have actually been isolated from dong quai that might have an impact 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 might therefore have an impact on swelling, decrease blood clotting and adjust hormone production. While there do seem to be some substantial results when taking dong quai, there is no strong evidence that it helps with signs of menopause, however. This might be the result of a lack of massive clinical trials or it may be that the supplement simply does not have an effective result. [9]

Negative effects

Blood Thinning: Dong Quai contains coumarin, one of the key ingredients responsible for blood thinning. Consuming it in addition to any other blood thinner like warfarin will increase your threat of bleeding. In addition, it would cause comparable results if taken in with gingko, ginger or garlic, as they too work blood slimmers.

Allergic reaction: It must be avoided by people allergic to cilantro (coriander), celery, or dill, which are of the same family 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 deficiency should not eat dong quai as it might lead to embolism.

Medication: It interferes with various medications like birth control pills, ibuprofen, naproxen, hormonal agent replacement therapy, and others. For that reason, it is recommended to prevent it when one is on medication.

Cancer: Those struggling with cancer, specifically ladies experiencing breast cancer and males suffering from prostate cancer ought to avoid dong quai.

While studies have validated the numerous advantages of dong quai, anecdotal proof reveals that it does have adverse effects such as:.

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

If you experience any of these symptoms, terminate its usage and consult your medical professional instantly. [10]


Warfarin (Coumadin) Interaction Score: Major Do not take this mix.

Warfarin (Coumadin) is utilized to slow blood clot. Dong quai can also slow blood clotting. Taking dong quai in addition to warfarin (Coumadin) can increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Make certain to have your blood checked routinely. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) may need to be changed.

Estrogensinteraction Rating: Moderate Beware with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Dong quai may act like the hormonal agent estrogen. When taken together, dong quai might increase the threat for negative effects.

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

Dong quai may slow blood clotting. Taking dong quai in addition to 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 Cautions

  • When taken by mouth: Dong quai is possibly safe when taken for up to 6 months. It’s been safely utilized in combination with other components in doses up to 150 mg daily. It might make the skin additional conscious sunlight. Typical adverse effects include burping, gas, and hypertension.
  • Taking dong quai in greater doses for more than 6 months is perhaps unsafe. Dong quai consists of chemicals that might trigger cancer.
  • When applied to the skin: There isn’t enough trustworthy info to know if dong quai is safe or what the adverse effects might be. Pregnancy: Taking dong quai by mouth during pregnancy is potentially risky for the child. Dong quai seems to impact the uterus. Some research study recommends that taking dong quai with other herbs during the very first 3 months of pregnancy can increase the risk of abnormality. Do not utilize dong quai if you are pregnant.
  • Breast-feeding: There isn’t sufficient trusted information to understand if dong quai is safe to utilize when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and prevent use.
  • Bleeding disorders. Dong quai may slow blood clotting and increase the opportunity of bruising and bleeding in individuals with bleeding conditions.
  • Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Dong quai may imitate estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by estrogen, don’t use dong quai.
  • Surgery: Dong quai may slow blood clot. It may increase the danger of bleeding throughout and after surgery. Stop taking dong quai at least 2 weeks before a scheduled 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 used in Chinese medication for over 2,000 years, there aren’t many scientific research studies to reveal that dong quai can substantially improve your blood health. Talk with your doctor before taking dong quai, specifically if you’re taking other medications. Discontinue dong quai and go to a physician if you experience any type of simple bleeding, such as bleeding gums or blood in your urine or stool. Prevent utilizing dong quai if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive. [13]


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