Dong Quai

36 mins read

Dong quai has been utilized in China for countless years to assist balance hormones, reduce PMS symptoms and increase libido.

Remarkably enough, the name of this herb even hints at its useful result on sexual health. In Chinese, dong quai supposedly means “the husband returns back to his better half.”.

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

Nowadays, this angelica herb is a common natural treatment worldwide used to treat everything from depression to menopause symptoms.

Although more research is required to unearth its full capacity as a medical herb, it has even been touted by some as a treatment for menstrual cramps, hair loss and specific 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 scarcity of top quality medical research studies, dong quai is not authorized by the FDA for medical use. Additional research will be required to determine whether it is effective or safe for long-lasting usage.

Nevertheless, dong quai is commercially available as a supplement, both alone and as part of natural blends. Laws set production standards for supplements but don’t guarantee that they are safe or reliable. Talk with your physician prior to using dong quai for any conditions to avoid unexpected interactions.

Menstrual Complaints

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

A standard Chinese organic treatment with dong quai (Danggui Shaoyao San) relieved menstrual cramps better than placebo and painkillers in an analysis of 4 medical trials involving over 400 women. 4 g/day of this treatment likewise normalized irregular menstrual cycles in one little trial on 20 women.

Two other Chinese herbal blends with dong quai minimized menstrual discomfort in 2 trials on over 100 women, although they were inefficient during the 3 very first menstrual cycles.

Dong quai’s part ligustilide avoided uterine contractions in rats, which could discuss its function in eliminating 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 traditional remedy with dong quai (Fubao Danggui Jiao) assisted clear this undesirable tissue in rats.

The existing evidence suggests that dong quai may help with menstrual problems. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that a meta-analysis found the quality of the studies moderate to low due to their high risk of predisposition. Further, more robust trials are needed to verify these results.

Menopausal Signs

Chinese texts prescribe dong quai for ‘lacking blood energy’, with signs comparable to typical menopausal grievances: irregular menstrual circulation, anxiety, lightheadedness, insomnia, and forgetfulness.

However, dong quai did not improve these symptoms in a number of studies. In a clinical trial on 71 postmenopausal women, it had no effect. It was similarly inadequate in a medical trial on 22 men with menopause-like signs (hot flashes) caused by a therapy with luteinizing hormonal agent (LH) for prostate cancer.

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

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

Another Chinese treatment (Danggui Buxue Tang, 3 g/day) only enhanced mild hot flashes in a scientific trial on 100 postmenopausal ladies. On the other hand, 3 other herbal supplements with dong quai decreased hot flashes and sleep disruptions in 3 clinical trials on nearly 150 postmenopausal women.

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

Based on mixed outcomes, the poor quality of most studies, and the fact that dong quai was utilized together with other herbs, there is insufficient proof to support its advantages on menopausal signs. Extra, higher-quality scientific research study is required.


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

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

Additionally, its complex sugars protected blood cells and minimized the production of hepcidin, a hormone that works to trap iron inside cells.

As a result, this herb may increase red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, iron, and hemoglobin.

TCM solutions with dong quai are frequently just used as an add-on to common therapies for anemia. In a meta-analysis of 7 scientific trials including 460 people with anemia, this TCM formula improved the efficiency of traditional treatment.

Difficult physical exercise may trigger iron deficiency by increasing the production of the hormone that traps iron into cells (hepcidin). In a medical trial on 36 men, the very same TCM formula decreased iron deficit after a long run.

This formula also improved anemia in rats and mice.

Nevertheless, two different Chinese treatments with dong quai had little or no effect on avoiding the anemia caused by chemotherapy in 2 scientific trials on nearly 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 studies had low quality and didn’t focus on safety. Additional, better-designed studies are needed to validate their results.

Some organic mixes including dong quai have actually been found to enhance iron status in some research studies, while other research studies discovered no benefit. Additional research is needed.

Avoiding Infections

A severe issue of infections is sepsis, a deadly condition in which the body harms its own tissues. A traditional Chinese medicine injection for sepsis with dong quai (Xuebijing) integrated with conventional therapy decreased death from sepsis in a meta-analysis of 16 clinical trials with over 1k people. Dong quai likewise avoided death from sepsis in mice.

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

In rats with pneumonia, dong quai minimized infection signs. Nevertheless, it failed to kill the bacteria causing this illness in an antimicrobial test.

In combination with another natural extract, dong quai prevented the growth of 2 bacterial species that trigger transmittable diseases (E. Coli and Staphylococcus aureus).

The complicated sugars in this herb prevented the department 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 research studies discovered a possible benefit of using traditional Chinese herbal mixtures in bacterial infections. Further, higher-quality clinical research must validate the effectiveness of dong quai versus these infections.

Ulcerative Colitis

To contribute to its anti-inflammatory capacity, a number of studies suggest that dong quai might be useful for ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). People 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 complex sugars improved ulcerative colitis and injuries in the stomach and bowel.

A single clinical trial and a couple of animal studies can not be considered enough proof that dong quai aids with ulcerative colitis. Additional scientific research is required.

Brain Function Support

In a scientific trial on over 1k people with stroke, injected dong quai decreased brain damage and improved brain function.

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

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

Currently, it’s unidentified if this herb might assist with brain disorders. On the upside, there’s no evidence of any kind of unfavorable results of dong quai on the brain.

Boosting Energy Levels

According to TCM, tiredness is brought on by internal injuries from excessive feelings, overstrain, or an improper diet. The signs resemble those of ‘qi-deficiency’ and ‘blood stasis’: lack of appetite, weak point, and a failure to utilize and transport food nutrients.

In a medical trial on 36 men doing a long term, a Chinese conventional medication 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 better sugar, protein, and energy use.

The proof is currently inadequate to declare that dong quai improves energy levels. Additional research study is needed.

Animal and Cell Research Study (Lack of Proof):

The extensive use of dong quai in TCM has motivated the research study of a lot of its purported health benefits. Due to the fact that many of the results have actually only been gotten in animals and cells, it’s still uncertain whether dong quai has these benefits in people also.

Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant

Extreme swelling and oxidative stress underlie many illness. Dong quai’s anti-inflammatory impacts have been recommended to aid with varied 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, in addition to state of mind balance.

It primarily works by preventing the activation of the body’s inflammatory center, the NF-kb pathway. Beyond this, it affects numerous other essential paths, which reduces the production of the following inflammatory substances:.

  • Cytokines (such as TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, IL6, and IL10 )
  • Messengers (NO, PGE2, histamine)
  • What’s more, it likewise obstructs essential enzymes that set off 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 results are wider-ranging.

Free radicals damage tissues by breaking down and damaging 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 activates the production of a substance that helps cells survive under oxidative tension (phosphatidylinositol).

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

On the other hand, its primary antioxidants are its phenolic substances, while its intricate sugars and proteins also contribute to the benefits.

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

Boosting State of mind

In an observational study on over 1k individuals using traditional Chinese medicine for depression and sleep conditions, an organic blend whose main part is dong quai (Jia-Wei-Xiao-Yao-San) was most commonly recommended.

In rats and mice with depression brought on by chronic tension, dong quai and ferulic acid improved low mood. They decreased depressive habits such as drowsiness and immobility and restored typical neurotransmitter levels (noradrenaline and dopamine).

A natural blend consisting of dong quai is commonly recommended for depression and sleep disorders in traditional Chinese medicine, but in modern-day research study, this purported benefit has only been observed in rat and mouse research studies.

Improving Blood Circulation

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

Blood Clotting

Free radical buildup might activate excessive platelet clumping. This is due to the fact that free radicals activate the release of arachidonic acid that is transformed to a molecule that clumps platelets (thromboxane A2). By scavenging totally free radicals, a herbal combine with dong quai (Danggui Shaoyao San) prevented the extreme platelet clumping.

In addition, dong quai lowers the production of fibrinogen, a protein that forms blood clots. Numerous active elements in dong quai have actually shown anti-blood clotting activity.

Dong quai and several of its elements minimized blood clot in rats and mice and avoided platelets from clumping together. However, this herb was less efficient than a standard blood thinner (clopidogrel).

This herb improved blood circulation by reducing blood thickness, which helps blood circulation more freely. It worked both alone and as part of 2 Chinese medicines (Danggui Sini Tang and Danggui Honghua).

Blood Flow and Heart Defense

Raynaud’s is a syndrome in which the blood vessels end up being incredibly narrow in reaction to cold temperature levels. This triggers poor blood flow, pins and needles, and color modifications in the fingers. A Chinese formula with dong quai is traditionally used for this syndrome based on the belief that it ‘warms the interior’. In mice, this formula reduced capillary tightening in response to cold.

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

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

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

Bone and Cartilage Health

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

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

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

In rats, dong quai reduced the bone loss characteristic of osteoporosis. Other animal research studies suggest a function for dong quai in bone and cartilage health, however these benefits have actually not been observed in people.

Kidney Support

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

  • Diabetes
  • Poor blood supply
  • An autoimmune illness (membranous nephropathy)
  • An anticancer drug (cisplatin)
  • These studies utilized a number of active components of dong quai and 2 Chinese medicines with this herb (Danggui Buxue Tang and Danggui Shaoyao San).

Liver Support

Dong quai’s complicated sugars safeguarded mice and rats from liver damage brought on by:.

  • Tylenol
  • Toxic substances (carbon tetrachloride)
  • A hazardous bean lectin
  • A TCM herb that can damage the liver (air yam)
  • Although TCM usage supports this advantage, dong quai’s results on the liver requirement to be identified in clinical trials.

Tissue Scarring

When the body tries to fix an organ damaged by persistent diseases, drugs, or surgery, it develops tissue scars. If proteins that form soft tissues develop in excess, they might cause the organ to malfunction.

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

  • Kidneys
  • Liver
  • Lungs

Skin Health and Wound Healing

Dong quai may accelerate injury recovery and reduce skin inflammation. It increased collagen production and assisted develop new members vessels, both of which are needed for appropriate injury recovery. Numerous studies in mice, rats, fish, and cells vouch for its ability to recover broken skin, either alone or in combination with astragalus (as part of the organic mix Danggui Buxue Tang).

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

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


A diet high in sugars and fats might lead to weight problems and insulin resistance, ultimately triggering health conditions such as metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Dong quai and a Chinese remedy containing it (Danggui Buxue Tang) lowered weight, insulin resistance, and blood sugar and fat levels in rats and mice on high-sugar and high-fat diets.

In diabetic mice and rats, dong quai minimized blood glucose levels and complications such as clogged up 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 go over some preliminary research study on dong quai’s anticancer activity. It’s still in the cell phase and further scientific studies have yet to determine if its compounds are useful in cancer therapies.

Do not under any circumstances try to replace traditional cancer therapies with dong quai or any other supplements. If you wish to use it as an encouraging procedure, talk to your doctor to avoid any unanticipated interactions.

Dong quai and its components helped kill cancer in cell-based studies.They might block cancer development, maturation, and spreading to healthy tissues. This herb had a beneficial effect in the following cancer types:.

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

Furthermore, 2 phthalides from this herb might increase the response to cancer drugs. These substances obstructed an antioxidant enzyme (glutathione S-transferase), the extreme production of which makes cancer cells resistant to chemotherapy.

Not all elements in this herb have anti-cancer activity. While its complex sugars and phthalides killed breast cancer cells, ferulic acid promoted their development. This acid may have female sex hormone activity, which might feed breast cancer.

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

Suggested dose

Take 1 to 2 grams/ teaspoons of the powdered whole plant 2 or 3 times a day, or as advised by a natural specialist.

You can discover dong quai in a variety of kinds, including tablets and powders. In China and Japan, it is provided as an injection in a healthcare facility or university hospital. You must not utilize injections in your home.

Dong quai need to be kept in a cool, dry place.


You must not offer dong quai to a kid.


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

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

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

Cast (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 daily is one possible dosing schedule, however, specific dosages will vary and it is uncommon for Dong quai to be prescribed alone. It is usually 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 decoction, tincture, tablet, or pill. It is also available dried, either whole, diced, or sliced. The herb is nontoxic, but recent findings recommend caution in using it over an extended period of time. The dried root may be chewed in quarter inch sectors two to three times daily, up to three to 4 grams each day.

Infusion or decoction: Research study shows that extracts of dong quai that maintain the unpredictable constituents act to raise blood pressure and relax uterine muscles. An infusion of the root, steeped in hot water, retains the volatile constituents and works to treat dysmenorrhea and to peaceful uterine convulsion. For amenorrhea, where stimulation of the uterine muscles is looked for, a decoction is the shown. Simmer the root in water to vaporize the volatile constituents. The majority of Chinese herbalists use dong quai in combination with other herbs depending upon the issues being dealt with and these are prepared together.

Alcohol cast: Combine fresh or dry, sliced root with adequate 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 utilized. Seal the mixture in an air-tight container and set aside in a dark location for about two weeks. Shake daily. Strain through cheesecloth or muslin and shop in dark containers for up to two years. Dosage: 10-40 drops of the fresh root cast one to 3 times daily. [8]

Does dong quai really work?

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

Negative effects

Blood Thinning: Dong Quai contains coumarin, one of the essential ingredients responsible for blood thinning. Consuming it along with any other blood thinner like warfarin will increase your risk of bleeding. Additionally, it would trigger comparable effects if consumed with gingko, ginger or garlic, as they too are effective blood slimmers.

Allergy: It needs to be avoided by people adverse cilantro (coriander), celery, or dill, which are of the very same family as dong quai.

Impacts Uterine Muscles: Women need to prevent dong quai during pregnancy, lactation, in addition to menstruation. Its impacts on the uterine muscles can cause unfavorable effects.

Blood clot: People with protein S shortage must not eat dong quai as it might lead to embolism.

Medication: It interferes with different medications like birth control pills, ibuprofen, naproxen, hormonal agent replacement therapy, and others. Therefore, it is advisable to prevent it when one is on medication.

Cancer: Those experiencing cancer, specifically women suffering from breast cancer and men suffering from prostate cancer need to avoid dong quai.

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

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

If you experience any of these signs, stop its usage and consult your doctor right away. [10]


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

Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. Dong quai can also slow blood clot. Taking dong quai together with warfarin (Coumadin) can increase the possibilities of bruising and bleeding. Be sure to have your blood inspected regularly. The dosage of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be altered.

Estrogensinteraction Score: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health company.

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

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

Dong quai may slow blood clot. Taking dong quai together with medications that likewise slow clotting may increase the opportunities 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 Precautions and Warnings

  • When taken by mouth: Dong quai is potentially safe when considered up to 6 months. It’s been securely utilized in mix with other ingredients in doses up to 150 mg daily. It might make the skin additional sensitive to sunshine. Common adverse effects consist of burping, gas, and high blood pressure.
  • Taking dong quai in greater dosages for more than 6 months is possibly risky. Dong quai includes chemicals that might trigger cancer.
  • When applied to the skin: There isn’t sufficient trustworthy information to understand if dong quai is safe or what the side effects might be. Pregnancy: Taking dong quai by mouth during pregnancy is possibly unsafe for the infant. Dong quai seems to affect the uterus. Some research recommends that taking dong quai with other herbs throughout the first 3 months of pregnancy can increase the danger of abnormality. Do not utilize dong quai if you are pregnant.
  • Breast-feeding: There isn’t adequate trusted details to understand if dong quai is safe to use when breast-feeding. Remain on the safe side and prevent use.
  • Bleeding conditions. Dong quai may slow blood clot and increase the opportunity 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 may imitate estrogen. If you have any condition that might be intensified by estrogen, do not utilize dong quai.
  • Surgical treatment: Dong quai may slow blood clotting. It might 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 proposed advantages for blood health and might have an effect on slowing cancer development. While it’s been used in Chinese medication for over 2,000 years, there aren’t numerous clinical research studies to reveal that dong quai can substantially improve your blood health. Speak with your doctor prior to taking dong quai, especially if you’re taking other medications. Terminate dong quai and visit a doctor if you experience any kind of easy bleeding, such as bleeding gums or blood in your urine or stool. Prevent using dong quai if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive. [13]


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