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Dong Quai

Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects & More

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Updated April 08, 2014

What is Dong Quai?

Dong quai is a herb in the celery family native to China, Japan, and Korea. The root is medicinally active. Other names for dong quai include Angelica sinensis, Chinese angelica, dang gui, and tang kuei

Dong quai comes in tablet, liquid extract, and raw root forms. In Chinese medicine, dong quai is often boiled or soaked in wine. The root is removed and the liquid is taken orally.

Why People Use Dong Quai

In Chinese medicine, different parts of the dong quai root are believed to have different actions - the head of the root has anticoagulant activity, the main part of the root is a tonic, and the end of the root eliminates blood stagnation. it is considered the "female ginseng" because of its balancing effect on the female hormonal system. However, studies have not found dong quai to have hormone-like effects.

Possible Side Effects and Safety Concerns

Dong quai should not be used by people with bleeding disorders, excessive menstrual bleeding, diarrhea, abdominal bloating, or during infections such as colds and flu. Call your health practitioner if you experience bleeding, unusual bruising, diarrhea, or fever.

Dong quai may contain estrogen-like compounds and should not be taken by pregnant or nursing women, children, or people with breast cancer.

People taking blood thinners (anticoagulants) such as warfarin should not use Dong quai.

Dong quai should not be used during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. It should also not be used during breast-feeding.

Dong quai can cause photosensitivity, so people should limit sun exposure and wear sunblock.

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