American angelica, Angelica acutiloba, Angelica archangelica, Angelica atropurpurea, Angelica dahurica, Angelica edulis, Angelica gigas, Angelica keiskei, Angelica koreana, Angelica polymorpha var. sinensis Oliv., Angelica pubescens, Angelica radix, Angelica root, Angelica silvestris, Angelique, Archangelica officinalis Moench or Hoffm, beta-sitosterol, Chinese Angelica, Chinese Danggui, Danggui, Dang Gui®, Danggui-Nian-Tong-Tang (DGNTT), Dang quai, Dong Kwai, Dong qua, Dong quai extract, Dong quai root, Dong qui, dry-kuei, engelwurzel, European angelica, European Dong quai, Female ginseng, FP3340010, FP334015, FT334010, garden angelica, Heiligenwurzel, Japanese angelica, Kinesisk Kvan (Danish), Kinesisk Kvanurt (Danish), Ligusticum glaucescens franch, Ligusticum officinale Koch, Ligustilides, phytoestrogen, Qingui, radix Angelica sinensis, root of the Holy Ghost, Tan Kue Bai Zhi, Tang Kuei, Tang Kuei Root®, Tang kwei, Tang quai, Tanggui (Korean), Tanggwi (Korean), Toki (Japanese), wild angelica, wild Chin quai, women's ginseng, Yuan Nan wild Dong quai, Yungui.
Dong quai (Angelica sinensis), also known as Chinese Angelica, has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese, Korean, and Japanese medicine. It remains one of the most popular plants in Chinese medicine, and is used primarily for health conditions in women. Dong quai has been called "female ginseng," based on its use for gynecological disorders (such as painful menstruation or pelvic pain), recovery from childbirth or illness, and fatigue/low vitality. It is also given for strengthening xue (loosely translated as "the blood"), for cardiovascular conditions/high blood pressure, inflammation, headache, infections, and nerve pain.
In the late 1800s, an extract of Dong quai called Eumenol became popular in Europe as a treatment for gynecological complaints. Recently, interest in Dong quai has resurged due to its proposed weak estrogen-like properties. However, it remains unclear if Dong quai has the same effects on the body as estrogens, blocks the activity of estrogens, or has no significant hormonal effects. Additional research is necessary in this area before a firm conclusion can be drawn.
In Chinese medicine, Dong quai is most often used in combination with other herbs, and is used as a component of formulas for liver qi stasis and spleen deficiency. It is believed to work best in patients with a yin profile, and is considered to be a mildly warming herb. Dong quai is thought to return the body to proper order by nourishing the blood and harmonizing vital energy. The name Dong quai translates as "return to order" based on its alleged restorative properties.
Although Dong quai has many historical and theoretical uses based on animal studies, there is little human evidence supporting the effects of Dong quai for any condition. Most of the available clinical studies have either been poorly designed or reported insignificant results. Also, most have examined combination formulas containing multiple ingredients in addition to Dong quai, making it difficult to determine which ingredient may cause certain effects.
Amenorrhea (lack of menstrual period):
There is limited poor-quality study of Dong quai as a part of herbal combinations given for amenorrhea. Additional research is necessary before a firm conclusion can be drawn.
Dong quai is traditionally used in the treatment of arthritis. However, there is insufficient reliable human evidence to recommend the use of Dong quai alone or in combination with other herbs for osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
Dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation):
There are unclear results of preliminary, poor-quality human research of Dong quai in combination with other herbs for dysmenorrhea. Reliable scientific evidence for Dong quai alone in humans with dysmenorrhea is currently not available.
There is insufficient evidence to support the use of Dong quai as a treatment for kidney diseases such as glomerulonephritis. Preliminary poor-quality research of Dong quai in combination with other herbs reports unclear results.
Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP):
A poor-quality study reports benefits of Dong quai in patients diagnosed with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). However, these patients were not compared to individuals who were not receiving Dong quai, and therefore the results can only be considered preliminary.
Menstrual migraine headache:
The effects of Dong quai alone for this condition are not clear, and further research is necessary before a clear conclusion can be reached.
There is insufficient evidence to support the use of Dong quai as a treatment for nerve pain. High-quality human research is lacking.
It remains unclear if Dong quai is beneficial for other causes of pulmonary hypertension. Further research is needed before a strong recommendation can be made.
Dong quai is used in traditional Chinese formulas for menopausal symptoms. It has been proposed that Dong quai may contain "phytoestrogens" (chemicals with estrogen-like effects in the body). However, it remains unclear from laboratory studies if Dong quai has the same effects on the body as estrogens, blocks the activity of estrogens, or has no significant effect on estrogens.