Dong Quai

Alternate Names :

  • Dang Kwai
  • Dong Kwai
  • Dang Quai
  • Tang Quai


Principal Proposed Uses

Probably Ineffective Uses

One of the major herbs used in traditional Chinese herbal medicine , Angelica sinensis is closely related to European Angelica archangelica , a common garden herb and the flavoring in Benedictine and Chartreuse liqueurs. The carrot-like roots of this fragrant plant are harvested in the fall after about 3 years of cultivation and stored in airtight containers prior to processing. Traditionally, dong quai is said to be one of the most important herbs for strengthening the xue . The Chinese term xue is often translated as "blood," but it actually refers to a complex concept in traditional Chinese medicine , of which the Western notion of blood is only a part. In the late 1800s, an extract of dong quai known as Eumenol became popular in Europe as a "female tonic," and this is how most people consider it in the West.

What Is Dong Quai Used for Today?

Dong quai is often recommended as a treatment for menstrual cramps , premenstrual syndrome (PMS) , and other problems related to menstruation, as well as hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms . However, the scientific evidence supporting these uses is very weak, consisting primarily of test tube and animal studies , as well as a few open studies of people. 1-5 Only double-blind, placebo-controlled studies can actually show a treatment effective, and a 24-week study that compared the effects of dong quai against a placebo in 71 postmenopausal women found no benefit. 6 (For more information on why double-blind studies are so important, see Why Does This Database Rely on Double-blind Studies? )

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