May 1, 2016

Dong Quai

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What other names is Dong Quai known by?

Angelica China, Angelica sinensis, Angelica polymorpha var. sinensis, Angelicae Gigantis Radix, Angélique Chinoise, Angélique de Chine, Chinese Angelica, Dang Gui, Danggui, Danguia, Don Quai, Kinesisk Kvan, Ligustilides, Radix Angelicae Gigantis, Radix Angelicae Sinensis, Tang Kuei, Tan Kue Bai Zhi, Tanggwi, Toki.

What is Dong Quai?

Dong quai is a plant. People use the root to make medicine.

Dong quai is used for menstrual cramps, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and menopausal symptoms. It is also used orally as a "blood purifier"; to manage hypertension, infertility, joint pain, ulcers, "tired blood" (anemia), and constipation; and in the prevention and treatment of allergic attacks. Dong quai is also used orally for the treatment of loss of skin color (depigmentation) and psoriasis.

Some men apply dong quai to the skin of the penis as part of a multi-ingredient preparation for treating premature ejaculation.

In Southeast Asia, other Angelica species are sometimes substituted for dong quai (Angelica sinensis). Most often these include Angelica acutiloba, which is predominantly found in Japan; and Angelica gigas, which is mainly found in Korea. Although these three species are similar, the chemicals they contain are different. Don't think of these species as interchangeable.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Menopausal symptoms. Various combination products that contain dong quai seem to reduce menopausal symptoms. Taking a specific product containing dong quai and chamomile (Climex) seems to reduce hot flushes in menopausal women. Taking a specific product containing American ginseng, black cohosh, dong quai, milk thistle, red clover, and vitex agnus-castus (Phyto-Female complex) seems to reduce hot flushes and night sweats and improve sleep quality in pre- and post-menopausal women. Taking a product containing burdock root, licorice root, motherwort, dong quai, and Mexican wild yam root seems to reduce menopausal symptoms as well. However, some evidence suggests that taking dong quai alone does to improve symptoms of menopause.
  • Premature ejaculation, when applied directly to the skin of the penis in combination with other herbs. The other herbs are Panax ginseng root, Cistanches deserticola, Zanthoxyl species, Torlidis seed, clove flower, Asiasari root, cinnamon bark, and toad venom (SS Cream).

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Heart disease. Early research suggests that injecting a specific product containing dong quai, ginseng, and astragalus (Yi-qi Huo-xue Injection) intravenously (by IV) reduces chest pain, improves heart function, and increases exercise tolerance in people with heart disease.
  • Stroke. Early research suggests that injecting 200 mL of solution containing dong quai intravenously (by IV) for 20 days does not improve brain function in people who had a stroke due to a blocked blood flow to the brain.
  • Migraine. Early research suggests that taking a combination of soy, dong quai, and black cohosh for 24 weeks reduces migraines associated with menstruation.
  • Problems during pregnancy. Early research suggests that taking a combination of dong quai, motherwort, white peony, Banks' rose, and Ligustica during pregnancy reduces the risk of having a miscarriage in pregnant women with maternal-fetal blood group incompatibility.
  • High blood pressure arteries carrying blood from the heart to the lungs (pulmonary hypertension). Early research suggests that injecting 250 mL of a dong quai solution intravenously (by IV) for up to 10 days reduces pressure and improves blood flow in people with pulmonary hypertension.
  • Painful menstrual periods (dysmenorrhea).
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
  • High blood pressure.
  • Joint aches and pains.
  • Ulcers.
  • Anemia.
  • Constipation.
  • Skin discoloration and psoriasis.
  • Allergies.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of dong quai for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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