Known as a universal remedy for various gynecological conditions, Dong Quai also acts as a good strengthening treatment for the heart, spleen, liver and kidneys for both men and women. Both root and leaves of the herb are used for remedy preparations.
Safety and effectiveness of the herb has not been completely proven due to the lack of thorough investigation. Today Dong Quai is a nice alternative to the pharmaceutical hormone replacement therapy that is used to treat menopause symptoms. The active components of the herb produce sedative effect stimulating the central nervous system, act as an antispasmodic agent dilating blood vessels and relaxing muscles and generally relieving PMS symptoms. Except gynecological disorders the herb is used for treating arthritis, high blood pressure, skin irritations, headache and anemia.
Since all the effects of Dong Quai haven’t been fully researched yet, there are no common references as for it use, safety and side effects. The herb is not recommended to children due to the potential side effects.
The safety of Dong Quai’s use depends on the particular brand that produces the extracts or pills. Its interaction with other drugs, herbs, or supplements is also not well investigated, so one should consult the pharmacist before starting using it. Root and leaves are used in various preparations – dried, powdered, raw and liquid substances and the recommendations as for their use and effects can be found on the pack of the product (tablets, liquid extracts, capsules and teas).
The remedy is mostly taken orally, but the topical use is also common – fluid extraction is applied to treat various skin irritations. But intravenous use of Dong Quai should be avoided. The experimental injection of essential Dong Quai oil that has been tested on skin of dogs provoked stop of breathing.
There is a risk of Dong Quai overdose if you use it in various combinations at the same time – herbs, tablets, and tinctures should be used separately and according to the recommendations. It is also not recommended to combine Dong Quai with other herbal supplements, aspirin, antioxidants, hormone medications and blood-thinning ones, also with those which increase the sun sensitivity of the skin.
People who experience influenza, cold, bleeding disorders, diarrhea, abdominal bloating, various allergies (especially to plants), are repregnant or nursing mothers or have breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, or endometriosis (and other hormone-sensitive conditions) should not take the Dong Quai. Also be especially careful if you are sensitive to Angelica radix or members of the Aplaceae / Umbelliferae family plants like celery, dill, parsley, anise, caraway, carrot. Don Quai is not recommended for you.
It is also assumed that the sucrose that is one of the elements of Dong Quai can elevate blood sugar levels, hence it should be used cautiously by diabetics.
The possible side effects of Dong Quai may vary; still they are not thoroughly researched. You should immediately stop using it if you experience abnormal heart rhythms, blood pressure abnormalities, hot flashes, bruising or bleeding, insomnia, irritability, fever, dizziness and skin reactions such as moles, rushes or the sunburn (Dong Quai increases skin’s sun sensitivity), especially for individuals with fair skin.
Hopefully this aromatic tonic will bring you only positive effects and will help to take care of your health. Don’t forget to consult your doctor before using Dong Quai so you don’t experience all the mentioned troubles.