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What Is Dong Quai?

Diana Bocco
Updated: May 17, 2024

Dong quai, also known as Angelica sinensis or danggui, is one of the most respected herbs in traditional Chinese medicine. Extensively used also in Korea and Japan, the herb is considered the "female ginseng" and used extensively to treat a variety of gynecological complaints, from hot flashes to lack of sleep due to hormonal changes. While both men and women can obtain benefits from using dong quai, the herb has long had a reputation for regulating the menstrual cycle. It is prescribed by natural doctors to treat menopausal symptoms and hormonal changes, and to induce the relaxation of uterine muscles. This herb is often combined with black cohosh to treat PMS, and is sometimes prescribed to women suffering from endometriosis. Because of its intense effect on the reproductive system, dong quai is not recommended during pregnancy.

As a general medicinal aid, dong quai has long been touted to be able to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, lower high blood pressure, and promote blood circulation. New studies suggest this may be true, especially when combined with ginseng. The herb is also high in vitamins A, E, and B12 and rich in flavonoids (antioxidants), coumarins (anticoagulants), and ferulate, useful in the prevention of thrombosis and cerebrovascular diseases. Dong quai is sometimes recommended as a strengthening treatment for the liver and kidneys, as some of the components of the herb seem to have blood-cleansing capabilities.

The only useful part of dong quai is the root, which is dried and sold in the form of tea, capsules, herbal mixes, powders, tinctures, and tablets. Some hospitals in China and Japan use injectable versions, but these preparations are not available in Western countries. Dong quai is available over the counter in most pharmacies and sold in health food centers and vitamin shops. This herb is not recommended for people taking hormone medications, including oral contraceptives and estrogen, as the herb may interfere with the medication; patients taking blood-thinning medications should consult with their doctors before using the preparation.

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Diana Bocco
By Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco, a versatile writer with a distinct voice, creates compelling long-form and short-form content for various businesses. With a data-focused approach and a talent for sharing engaging stories, Diana’s written work gets noticed and drives results.
Discussion Comments
By anon248643 — On Feb 18, 2012

I had a stroke seven years ago and have recently started going through the menopause. I was recommended flash fighters to help, but it contains dong quai. Is it safe for me to use as I am on a lot of medication.

75mg aspirin

100mg twice a day of persantin retard

10mg ezetrol one a day

40mg simvastatin one a day

20mg citalopram

By Mykol — On Jun 01, 2011

I have had good results using Dong Quai to help me sleep better at night. I read that it works as a mild sedative and also helps with menopausal symptoms that can keep you up at night.

I usually take 400 mg a day along with some black cohosh. This has really helped me get a getter nights sleep without so much tossing and turning and hot flashes keeping me awake.

You can also drink it as a tea if you are a tea drinker, but I have only used it in pill form and have been very happy with the results.

By sunshined — On May 30, 2011

The Chinese are known for their natural herbal remedies that really work and are beneficial for you at the same time. Dong quai is one of those herbal remedies that many women have tried and had relief from their hot flashes.

Many times it is combined with other herbs, but can be a safe alternative to estrogen replacement therapy. With so many studies that show there may a possible link to cancer with hormone replacement therapy, there are more women looking for alternative methods to help with all the uncomfortable symptoms that often seem to go along with this stage of life.

By motherteresa — On Jan 11, 2009

In a test conducted in Israel, more women said their hot flashes were gone when they used a blend of dong quai and black cohosh, compared to women in the placebo group. The ratio was something like 2.5 to 1.

Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco, a versatile writer with a distinct voice, creates compelling long-form and short-form content for various...
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