Dong Quai herbal supplement health benefit and side effects, review of medical studies
June 20 2016 by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Dong Quai (Angelia sinensis) is also spelled Dong Gui. This herbal remedy has been used for many centuries by Chinese doctors. The plant has a slight anise like flavor.

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Benefit
Dong quai root has coumarin derivatives which have blood thinning ability.  This could be useful in those who have a propensity to clot too easy leading to heart attacks and strokes. Dong quai also has ferulic acid. For a list of plants used in Chinese medicine, see Chinese Herbs.

Colon cancer prevention
Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2014. Chemo-preventive effect of Angelica sinensis supercritical extracts on AOM/DSS-induced mouse colorectal carcinoma associated with inflammation.

Dong Quai side effects
One should be careful combining dong quai with Coumadin or other blood thinners since the herb has blood thinning properties.

Potentiation of warfarin by dong quai.
Pharmacotherapy. 1999.
Dong quai herb is a Chinese herbal supplement touted for treatment of menstrual cramping, irregular menses, and menopausal symptoms. Phytochemical analyses found it to consist of natural coumarin derivatives, as well as constituents possessing antithrombotic, antiarrhythmic, phototoxic, and carcinogenic effects. A 46-year-old African-American woman with atrial fibrillation stabilized on warfarin experienced a greater than 2-fold elevation in prothrombin time and international normalized ratio after taking dong quai concurrently for 4 weeks. No identifiable cause was ascertained for the increase except dong quai. The patient's coagulation values returned to acceptable levels 1 month after discontinuing the herb. One animal study suggests a pharmacodynamic interaction between the product and warfarin, but the true mechanism remains unknown.

Dong Quai extract
Dong quai is sold by raw material suppliers in various extracts, including Dongquai Extract 0.1% Ferulic Acid.

Dong Quai Research
J Ethnopharmacol. 2012. Hematopoietic and myeloprotective activities of an acidic Angelica sinensis polysaccharide on human CD34+ stem cells. Angelica sinensis (AS) is a Chinese herbal medicine traditionally used in prescriptions for replenishing blood and treating abnormal menstruation and other women's diseases. The bioactive fraction identified and fractionated from ASPS may be used as a health-promoting agent for anemia patients and cancer patients under chemoradiation treatment.

Application of combined approach to analyze the constituents of essential oil from Dong quai.
Anal Bioanal Chem. 2004.
A combined approach of sub-window factor analysis and spectral correlative chromatography has been employed to analyze the constituents of essential oils of Dong quai. Essential oils are the main pharmacological active individuals of Dong quai. Some constituents in the main root of Dong quai have been identified by GC-MS with the help of sub-window factor analysis resolving two-dimensional original data into mass spectra and chromatograms. Correlative constituents in another part of the root fiber have been recognized by spectral correlative chromatography. Seventy six of 97 separated constituents in the essential oil of main root were identified and quantified, accounting for about 91.36% of the total content. Sixty seven correlative components in the essential oil of root fiber were recognized. The result proves that the combined approach is powerful enough for the analysis of complex herbal samples.

Gynaecomastia and the herbal tonic "Dong Quai".
Singapore Med J. 2001.
We present a case of a man who developed gynaecomastia after ingestion of "Dong Quai" pills. "Dong Quai" is the Chinese name for the herb Angelica polymorpha var. sinensis which is widely used as a panacea for gynaecological problems, and it is also proclaimed as an invigorating tonic for both women and men.The pharmacological effects of "Dong Quai" are likely related to the phytoestrogen that it contains.This report highlights the potential adverse effects associated with its consumption in the male, especially for the processed "Dong Quai" pills which may contain significantly higher levels of phytoestrogen than its original herbal product.

Does dong quai root have estrogenic effects in postmenopausal women? A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Fertil Steril. 1997. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Oakland, California
To evaluate possible estrogenic effects of dong quai on vaginal cells and on endometrial thickness in postmenopausal women. Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in a large health maintenance organization (HMO). Seventy-one postmenopausal women who had follicle-stimulating hormone levels (third-generation assay) of > 30 mIU/mL with hot flashes. Subjects were randomized to treatment with either dong quai or placebo for 24 weeks. Endometrial thickness was measured by transvaginal ultrasonography; vaginal cells were evaluated for cellular maturation; menopausal symptoms were evaluated by reviewing the Kupperman index and the diary of vasomotor flushes. We observed no statistically significant differences between groups in endometrial thickness, in vaginal maturation index, in number of vasomotor flushes, or in the Kupperman index. Used alone, dong quai does not produce estrogen-like responses in endometrial thickness or in vaginal maturation and was no more helpful than placebo in relieving menopausal symptoms.