URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/936.html

Dong Quai

What is it?

Dong quai is a plant. The root is used to make medicine.

Dong quai is commonly taken by mouth for menopausal symptoms, menstrual cycle conditions such as migraines and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

How effective is it?

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

The effectiveness ratings for DONG QUAI are as follows:

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...

  • Heart disease. Some early research shows that a product containing dong quai and other herbs given by injection might reduce chest pain and improve heart function in people with heart disease.
  • Symptoms of menopause. Some early research shows that taking dong quai alone does not reduce hot flashes. But it might help reduce symptoms of menopause when taken with other herbs.
  • Migraine. Early research shows that taking dong quai with other supplements might reduce migraines that happen during menstrual periods.
  • High blood pressure in arteries in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension). Some early research shows that dong quai, given by injection, might reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pulmonary hypertension.
  • Stroke. Some early research shows that dong quai given by injection for 20 days does not improve brain function in people who have had a stroke.
  • Eczema (atopic dermatitis).
  • Prone to allergies and allergic reactions (atopic disease).
  • Constipation.
  • Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea).
  • Early orgasm in men (premature ejaculation).
  • High blood pressure.
  • A lung disease that leads to scarring and thickening of the lung (idiopathic interstitial pneumonia).
  • Inability to become pregnant within a year of trying to conceive (infertility).
  • Low levels of healthy red blood cells (anemia) due to iron deficiency.
  • Migraine.
  • Weak and brittle bones (osteoporosis).
  • Stomach ulcers.
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
  • Scaly, itchy skin (psoriasis).
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
  • A skin disorder that causes white patches to develop on the skin (vitiligo).
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of dong quai for these uses.

How does it work?

Dong quai root has been shown to affect estrogen and other hormones in animals. It is not known if these same effects happen in humans.

Are there safety concerns?

When taken by mouth: Dong quai is POSSIBLY SAFE for adults when taken for up to 6 months. It is typically used in combination with other ingredients at a dose of 100-150 mg daily. It can cause skin to become extra-sensitive to the sun. This might increase the risk for sunburn and skin cancer. Wear sun block outside, especially if you are light-skinned.

Taking dong quai in higher doses for more than 6 months is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Dong quai contains chemicals that may 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 and breast-feeding: Taking dong quai by mouth during pregnancy or when breast-feeding is POSSIBLY UNSAFE for the baby. Dong quai seems to affect the muscles of the uterus. There is one report of a baby born with birth defects to a mother who took a product containing dong quai and other herbs during the first 3 months of pregnancy. Do not use dong quai if you are pregnant.

There is one report of a breast-fed baby who developed high blood pressure after his mother ate soup containing dong quai. Stay on the safe side and don't use it if you are breast-feeding.

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.

Protein S deficiency: People with protein S deficiency have an increased risk of blood clots. Dong quai might increase the risk of blood clots in people with protein S deficiency. Don't use dong quai if you have protein S deficiency.

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?

Major
Do not take this combination.
Warfarin (Coumadin)
Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. Dong quai might also slow blood clotting. Taking dong quai along with warfarin (Coumadin) might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.
Moderate
Be cautious with this combination.
Estrogens
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 clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, apixaban (Eliquis), rivaroxaban (Xarelto) and others.

Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?

Black Pepper
Taking black pepper with dong quai might increase the activity of dong quai.
Herbs and supplements that might slow blood clotting
Dong quai might slow blood clotting. Using dong quai along with other herbs that slow blood clotting might increase the risk of bleeding and bruising. These herbs include angelica, clove, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, panax ginseng, and others.

Are there interactions with foods?

There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?

The appropriate dose of dong quai depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for dong quai. 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 your pharmacist or physician or other 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, Kinesisk Kvan, Ligustilides, Radix Angelicae Gigantis, Radix Angelicae Sinensis, Tang Kuei, Tan Kue Bai Zhi, Tanggwi, Toki.

Methodology

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

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Last reviewed - 02/24/2021