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Dong Quai

What is it?

Dong quai (Angelica sinensis) is a plant that has been used for a variety of conditions, with little evidence. It may be unsafe when too much is consumed.

Dong quai is a member of the same plant family as parsley, celery, and carrots. It's popular in Chinese medicine for female health concerns. The root might affect estrogen and other hormones.

People commonly use dong quai for menopausal symptoms, menstrual cramps, migraine, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

How effective is it?

There is interest in using dong quai for a number of purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.

Is it safe?

When taken by mouth: Dong quai is possibly safe when taken for up to 6 months. It's been safely used in combination with other ingredients in doses up to 150 mg daily. It might make the skin extra sensitive to sunlight. Common side effects include burping, gas, and high blood pressure.

Taking dong quai in higher doses for more than 6 months is possibly unsafe. Dong quai contains chemicals that might cause cancer.

When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if dong quai is safe or what the side effects might be.

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy: Taking dong quai by mouth during pregnancy is possibly unsafe for the baby. Dong quai seems to affect the uterus. Some research suggests that taking dong quai with other herbs during the 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 enough reliable information to know if dong quai is safe to use when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Bleeding disorders. Dong quai might slow blood clotting and increase the chance of bruising and bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.

Hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Dong quai might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by estrogen, don't use dong quai.

Surgery: Dong quai might slow blood clotting. It might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop taking dong quai at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Are there interactions with medications?

Do not take this combination.
Warfarin (Coumadin)
Warfarin is used to slow blood clotting. Dong quai might also slow blood clotting. Taking dong quai along with warfarin might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin might need to be changed.
Be cautious with this combination.
Dong quai might act like the hormone estrogen. When taken together, dong quai might increase the risk of estrogen side effects.
Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)
Dong quai might slow blood clotting. Taking dong quai along with medications that also slow blood clotting might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.

Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?

Herbs and supplements that might slow blood clotting
Dong quai might slow blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding. Taking it with other supplements with similar effects might increase the risk of bleeding in some people. Examples of supplements with this effect include garlic, ginger, ginkgo, nattokinase, and Panax ginseng.

Are there interactions with foods?

There are no known interactions with foods.

How is it typically used?

Dong quai is most often used in combination products. There isn't enough reliable information to know what an appropriate dose of dong quai might be. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult a healthcare professional before using.

Other names

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


To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.


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Last reviewed - 09/08/2021