Dong Quai and Your Menopause Symptoms
The Angelica herb (Dong Quai or Chinese Angelica) is widely used to treat menopause symptoms. It has been used for thousands of years in a wide variety of applications by Asian healers, especially to treat women’s reproductive problems.
The Angelica herb has been called the female ginseng for its ability to balance the female hormone system, increase energy and stabilize the emotional system.
In Asia, women use it throughout their reproductive years. It is a very common ingredient in Chinese herbs for menopause.
This perennial (part of the celery family of plants) grows at high altitudes in the mountains of China, Korea, and Japan. The part that is used medicinally is the roots which are dried and made into supplements, teas and tonics.
For medicinal purposes, the roots are dried and made into supplements, teas and tonics.
Dong Quai and Menopause Symptoms Relief
Chinese angelica is a well known herb for treating almost all gynecological problems. Some women report relief of hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms when taking Don Quai, and most menopausal supplementscontain some amount of the angelica herb.
Dong Quai contains phytosterols (precursors to all sex hormones) andphytoestrogens (plant estrogens) plus some other active compounds. The estrogenic effect can help with hot flashes and other estrogen-dependent menopause symptoms.
Chinese Angelica has mild calming effects which is good for women withmood swings, anxiety and irritability – all common menopause symptoms.
Because of its hormone balancing effect, it is beneficial for women in peri-menopause and can help with PMS-like symptoms such as hormone headaches, mood swings and cramping. Because it expands the blood vessels it can also help with hormone related migraines.
How Does Dong Quai Work?
Dong Quai contains not only phyto-estrogens and phyto-sterols, it also contains cumarins, polysaccharides as well as some other active chemicals.
The plant hormones and hormone precursors are important for the benefits for menopause symptoms. Additionally, the cumarin and polysaccharides dilate blood vessels, and stimulate and relax uterine muscles.
The Chinese Angelica herb is available as:
- Essential Oil (not recommended)
- Pill or Capsule
A daily recommended or safe dose of Dong Quai has not been established but Dr. Christine Northrup in her book: “The Wisdom of Menopause”, gives suggestions for the recommended dosage. However, dosage depends on the form of Dong Quai you are using. Follow the recommended dose of the manufacturer or herbalist.
– One of the studies used capsules with 500mg dried Dong Quai up to 6 x per day.
– The dosage for tincture is ½ – ¾ teaspoon 3 x per day.
Does the Angelica Herb Have Side Effects?
The Angelica herb (Angelica sinensis) is an ingredient in a lot of remedies for menopause. There have been some studies about the effectiveness of Dong Quai, but according to information by the Office of Dietary Supplements effects and risks have not been established.
There is some laboratory evidence, that Dong Quai has blood thinning effects and may have negative effects for people on anti-coagulant medications (such as Cumadin).
It can also increase sun sensitivity (photosensitivity) just like St. John’s Wort. You have to be carful when you take both herbs.
Dong Quai may interact with certain anti-depressants.
Because the effect on estrogen receptors are unknown, women with estrogen sensitive breast cancer and those using birth control pills, should be careful before using Dong Quai.
The website from the University of Massachusetts states that you should avoid “essential oil of Don Quai” because it contains some cancer causing substances.
Read carefully about potential risks and contra-indications before you start taking Dong Quai, especially if you are using certain prescription drugs or other herbal or natural supplements. This is especially true if you are on blood thinning medications and sedatives.
Always check with your health care provider before taking Dong Quai or any other supplements.