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dong quai (generic name)

an herbal product - treats Angina pectoris / coronary artery disease, Glomerulonephritis, Menstrual migraine headache, Dysmenorrhea, Arthritis,...
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Average Ratings

Alternate Title

Angelica sinensis, Chinese angelica, Radix Angelica sinensis

Category

Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

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.

Background

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.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

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.
Grade: C

Angina pectoris / coronary artery disease: There is insufficient evidence to support the use of Dong quai for the treatment of heart disease.
Grade: C

Arthritis: 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.
Grade: C

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.
Grade: C

Glomerulonephritis: 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.
Grade: C

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.
Grade: C

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.
Grade: C

Nerve pain: There is insufficient evidence to support the use of Dong quai as a treatment for nerve pain. High-quality human research is lacking.
Grade: C

Pulmonary hypertension: 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.
Grade: C

Menopausal symptoms: 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.
Grade: D

Tradition

WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Abdominal pain, abnormal fetal movement, abnormal heart rhythms, abscesses, age-related nerve damage, AIDS, allergy, anemia, anorexia nervosa, anti-aging, antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti-tumor (brain tumors), antiviral, anxiety, asthma, back pain, bleomycin-induced lung damage, blood flow disorders, blood purifier, blurred vision, body pain, boils, bone growth, breast enlargement, bronchitis, Buerger's disease, cancer, central nervous system disorders, cervicitis (inflammation of the cervix), chilblains, chronic hepatitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic rhinitis, cholagogue (promotes the flow of bile), cirrhosis, colchicine-induced learning impairment, congestive heart failure (CHF), constipation, cough, cramps, dermatitis, diabetes, digestion disorders, dysentery, eczema, emotional instability, endometritis, expectorant, fatigue, fibrocystic breast disease, flatulence (gas), fluid retention, gastric ulcer, glaucoma, headache, heartburn, hematopoiesis (stimulation of blood cell production), hemorrhoids (bleeding), hemolytic disease of the newborn, hernia, high cholesterol, hormonal abnormalities, immune cytopenias, immune suppressant, infections, infertility, irritable bowel syndrome, joint pain, labor aid, laxative, leukorrhea (vaginal discharge), liver protection, lung disease, malaria, menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding), menstrual cramping, miscarriage prevention, morning sickness, muscle relaxant, osteoporosis, ovulation abnormalities, pain, pain from bruises, palpitations, pelvic congestion syndrome, pelvic inflammatory disease, peritoneal dialysis, pleurisy, post-partum weakness, pregnancy support, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), psoriasis, prolapsed uterus, pulmonary fibrosis, Raynaud's disease, reperfusion injury, respiratory tract infection, rheumatic diseases, sciatica, sedative, sepsis, shingles (herpes zoster), skin pigmentation disorders, skin ulcers, stiffness, stomach cancer, stress, stroke, tinnitus (ringing in the ear), toothache, uterine fibroids, vaginal atrophy, vitamin E deficiency, wound healing.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

Dong quai is used in numerous herbal combinations, and various doses have been used both traditionally and in research in China. Because of this variation and lack of high-quality studies, no specific recommendations can be made. Safety and effectiveness are not established for most herbal combinations, and the amounts of Dong quai present from batch to batch may vary.

Powdered or dried root/root slices, fluid extracts, tinctures, decoctions, and dried leaf preparations of Dong quai are available to be taken orally. Topical preparations are available to be applied to the skin. Safety of intravenous use is not established, although it has been reported in research.

Children (younger than 18 years)

There is not enough scientific data to recommend Dong quai for use in children, and it is not recommended due to potential side effects.

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