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logo icon 10 Amazing Wellness Benefits of Dong Quai Root

10 Amazing Wellness Benefits of Dong Quai Root

Dong quai, also known as Dang Gui, Angelica sinensis, Chinese Angelica, and Danguia, is one of the most popular Traditional Chinese Medicinal herbs used in China, Japan, and Korea. Now, the outstanding benefits of dong quai are gaining recognition in America and Europe, growing in popularity among those seeking all-natural remedies.

This article covers everything you need to know about dong quai: what it is, its wellness benefits, uses, and precautions. Read on to learn more or jump to a specific section.

  1. Female Sexual Health
  2. Male Sexual Health
  3. Heart Health
  4. Digestive Health
  5. Bone Health
  6. Cellular Cycle Benefits
  7. Respiratory Benefits
  8. Neuroprotective Benefits
  9. Amenorrhea Support
  10. Potential Metabolic Support

What Is Dong Quai? 


Dong quai is a perennial plant belonging to the same family as celery, parsley, and carrots. It grows in high areas with cold and damp conditions, like mountain regions, boasting white flowers, purple stems, and winged fruits. After about three years of growth, its yellow-brown roots are harvested and turned into powder, tablets, and other forms for medicinal purposes. 

View different forms of dong quai here to explore various formulation options. 

What Is Dong Quai Used For?

For over a thousand years, dong quai has been used in combination with other traditional Chinese herbs to support various health aspects.Particularly, it’s valued for its potential benefits in managing menopause, menstrual cycles, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and cramps.*

However, dong quai application encompasses many other areas, such as male sexual health, heart health, digestive health, and bone health.*

What Are the Benefits of Dong Quai?


It’s traditionally believed thatthe benefits of dong quai support numerous health conditions. As dong quai gains popularity in Western culture, several studies have investigated its beneficial properties. While some published data is available, more research is needed to understand its effectiveness as a health supplement and alternative choice for wellness. 

Historically, Eastern cultures have tapped into the potential benefits of dong quai to foster wellness and vitality in the following health domains. 

1. Female Sexual Health

Dong quai has earned the name “female ginseng” as a common recommendation for female sexual health support.*It’s typically combined with other herbs to produce the desired results.

Combinations include the following:

  • With chamomile, dong quai can alleviate hot flashes in women undergoing menopause.*
  • Combined with milk thistle, chaste tree, black cohosh, clover, and ginseng, dong quaimay help with hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep for women undergoing natural menopausal changes.*
  • With licorice root, Mexican wild yam root, motherwort, and burdock root, dong quai can support menopausal changes.*

Despite being very popular as a combination supplement, it can also be consumed as a single herb. 

Scientific Research and Results

Menopause is believed to correlate with a reduced amount of estrogen produced by ovaries. Because of dong quai's potential to mimic the effects of natural estrogen, many studies have explored possible dong quai (Angelica sinensis) benefits for managing menopausal symptoms.

  • Research:A 2008 study investigated the estrogenic activity of Angelica sinensis (dong quai) root extract using in vivo tests, such as “the degree of cornification of vaginal epithelium, uterotrophic assays, and serum LH concentration in ovariectomized rats.” 
  • Results:The results found significant changes in vaginal tissues and reduced serum LH levels, indicating that it may affect the estrous cycle.* However, although it proved successful in animal models, the findings are not definitive, as human testing still needs to be done. [1]
  • Research:A 2003 clinical trial studied the effects of dong quai and Matricaria chamomilla (Climex) on hot flashes in fifty-five menopausal women using a placebo-controlled experiment. 
  • Results:The study group showed fewer and less intense hot flashes.*The group also experienced better sleep and less fatigue.*Dong quai, available in Climex, seems to nourish the body during menopausal changes.*[2]
  • Research: A 6-month randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study measured the effect of Dang Gui Buxue Tang (dong quai) on menopausal changes.
  • Results: Researchers reported that Dang Gui Buxue Tang (dong quai) helped the frequency of hot flashes and demonstrated superior qualities supporting the body’s natural ability to process hot flashes.*[3]
  • Research Review: In a 2006 review of supplemental therapies for hot flashes in menopause, dong quai is one of the suggested remedies.*[4]
  • Research:In 2007, a randomized control trial investigated the benefits of Phyto-Female Complex, an herbal formula containing dong quai and other herbs. 
  • Results:After three months, hot flashes decreased, night sweats reduced, and sleep quality improved.*Hot flashes stopped for some of the study group.*[5] However, results are considered limited and inconclusive. 

Dong quai is highly valued in Traditional Chinese Medicine as one of the most essential herbs for female health. Learn more about the history and tenets of Traditional Chinese Medicine here

2. Male Sexual Health

Despite dong quai being extremely popular for female sexual health, it is also used for male sexual health in cosmetic products.* It is typically combined with other herbs, such as: 

  • Panax ginseng root
  • Cistanches deserticola
  • Zanthoxylum species
  • Torlidis seed
  • Clove flower
  • Asiasari root
  • Cinnamon bark
  • Toad venom

Users of these blends often apply the product to the skin of the genitalia.*The combination is what makes up SS Cream, a topical cream for ejaculation support. 

Scientific Research and Results

In 2000, a clinical study was conducted to determine the efficacy of SS cream in patients with chronic concerns. The findings indicated that it was safe and effective in supporting male sexual health.*[6]

3. Heart Health

When dong quai is mixed with other herbs, it forms a potent blend that supports cardiovascular function and overall heart health. Specifically, dong quai is believed to have cardioprotective properties with Traditional Chinese herbs like ginseng and astragalus.* One such mixture is known as 'Dang-Gui Decoction for Enriching the Blood.’

Combined with Polygonum multiflorum extract, the mixture may exert even greater effects. 

Scientific Research and Results

A 2000 study also showed that these dong quai blends might be used to support cardiovascular health by nourishing red blood cell production.*[7]Adequate red blood cell production is essential to overall heart function, specifically proper circulation and oxygen delivery. However, it must be used in moderation, and more research is needed to understand the mechanisms behind the benefits of dong quai for heart health. 

4. Digestive Health

The potential benefits of dong quai for balancing various body processes extend to digestive health as well. As a supplement, dong quai can help support the delicate balance of stomach acids, which safeguards the gastrointestinal tract. 

When stomach acid erodes the digestive tract, it may lead to chronic inflammation. Unattended, the acid may lead to the development of peptic ulcers. Dong quai is believed to have a gastroprotective effect that helps the body protect the gut from the overproduction of stomach secretions. 

Scientific Research and Results

One animal study found that specific polysaccharides extracted from dong quai root could be used to prevent some forms of mucosal injury, like ulcers, in the digestive system. The study indicates that dong quai supplementation containing a large percentage of these extracted polysaccharides may help the body maintain natural balance of the mucous lining in the digestive tract.*[8]

5. Bone Health

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine principles, nourishing the blood and vitalizing qi energy are essential for maintaining healthy bones. Among the researched benefits of dong quai, or Angelica sinensis as it’s named in numerous studies, is its potential to support healing from bone injury by enhancing blood quality and circulation. As such, dong quai is often used in herbal formulations intended to strengthen and promote bone density. 

Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become weak, making them susceptible to breaking. This condition develops over time and mainly affects women experiencing menopausal changes. It’s still unclear how dong quai benefits bone reformation. However, current research suggests a positive impact on bone health by stimulating healthy cells. 

Scientific Research and Results

In a study done in 2002 investigating the effect of Angelica sinensis (dong quai) on the proliferation of human bone cells, researchers reported that dong quai might play a nutritional role in the stimulation of bone cells, contributing to overall bone health.*[9]Further research could reveal the precise mechanisms to solidify these benefits further. 

6. Cellular Cycle Benefits

Cells, the basic structural and functional units of life, also derive support from dong quai. By benefitting various cellular stages, dong quai may very likely play a role in one’s overall health at the most basic level. 

Dong quai nutrition is believed to contribute cellular signaling properties that may benefit the cellular lifecycle.*Some studies show that certain compounds found in dong quai may benefit processes such as cell growth, differentiation, and apoptosis, or what is known as programmed cell death. 

Scientific Research and Results

In a 2006 study investigating the biological effects of dong quai on brain tissues, it slightly reduced VEGF, proapoptotic protein, and cathepsin B levels.* The study suggested that it may be useful to help with cellular control.*[10]

Researchers conducting a limited 2003 study on the effects of herbal supplements in the prostate of rats found that dong quai might possess potential nutritional factors for cellular signaling.*[11]

Another experimental 2003 study suggested that “the total polysaccharide of Angelica sinensis" (dong quai) is complementary nutrition for healthy cellular signaling.*[12] This points to dong quai’s potential use as a preventative nutritional herb.

7. Respiratory Benefits

Many respiratory conditions involve inflammation and breathing difficulties, both states in which improved blood circulation can play a role in alleviating symptoms. Beyond its other uses, dong quai may possess properties that make it a promising ingredient in natural remedies formulated for respiratory health. 

Scientific Research and Results

A 2008 study investigating nutrients from the roots of Angelica sinensis (dong quai) reported potential benefits, specifically for anti-tuberculosis activity. These polyenes nutrients were shown to possess promising experiences with ethnobotanical preparations.*[13]

In simpler terms, dong quai possesses organic compounds that can prove effective against tuberculosis-causing bacteria and may be used in herbal concoctions for respiratory conditions. 

8. Neuroprotective Benefits

The benefits of dong quai include both the body and the brain, potentially enhancing cognitive function and overall neurological health. Dong quai is believed to possess nutritional properties that may be beneficial in protecting healthy nerve cells against daily damage.*

The current body of research focuses on Eastern medicines that include dong quai as an ingredient. In animal subjects, at least one formulation was reported to protect against brain damage and reduce inflammation in the brain. 

This research shows short- and long-term implications for brain health, with the benefits of enhancing resilience against various forms of cognitive decline. 

Scientific Research and Results

In 2010, researchers investigated the pharmacological effects of HT008-1 (a prescription normally used in Traditional Korean Medicine containing Angelica sinensis or dong quai) on the nervous system. 

The study, though limited and inconclusive,found that “HT008-1 may be effective in a rat stroke model … and may improve sensory-motor function.”*[14]Further research in this area could help solidify dong quai’s impact on human health. 

9. Amenorrhea Support

Amenorrhea is a temporary or permanent condition where you may miss menstrual periods. Amenorrhea is not similar to irregular periods. When you have amenorrhea, you normally don’t get your periods for consecutive months. 

While not a disease in itself, amenorrhea may be a symptom of a bigger condition for which you should consult with your healthcare provider. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, dong quai is sometimes considered for its potential to regulate menstrual cycles and address symptoms or irregularities, including menstrual cramps when menstruation does occur.

Scientific Research and Results

In 2022, researchers set out to review and analyze the effectiveness of Traditional Chinese Medicine in alleviating amenorrhea caused by antipsychotic drugs. Dong quai was one of the traditional Chinese herbs used in the studies, concluding it may be effective in supporting the body’s natural ability to self balance.*

However, this study was not conclusive, and there is a need for more research to verify the preliminary results. [15]

10. Potential Metabolic Support

Metabolic health is essential for processes like energy production, utilizing nutrients, and regulating various body functions. Efficient metabolism helps cells perform in a way that supports balance and overall health. This performance supports functions like blood sugar regulation, immunity, and healthy cell growth. 

Though not conclusively proven, some studies report that consuming dong quai root may be potentially beneficial in healthy cellular regulation.*

Scientific Research and Results

In a 2014 study, researchers analyzed the use of dong quai among patients to understand whether it influences their risks of abnormal cell growth. The study reported those who had taken dang-qui (dong quai) might have more potential benefits than those who did not supplement with the botanical.*[16]

Dong quai may also possess complementary benefits for at-risk patients, according to a 2011 study.* The study examined the polysaccharides of dong quai to find the fraction involved in hematopoiesis (making blood cells). The study identified a bioactive fraction that “may be used as a health-promoting agent.”*[17]

How Can Dong Quai Be Used?

Dong quai is a versatile herb that can be used in many different forms. You can enjoy dong quai in the following ways:

  • Raw: When consuming it raw, thoroughly wash the roots, twigs, berries, and leaves.
  • Dried herb: When dry, you can boil and then strain it to make tea or soup. You can also soak it in wine before consumption.
  • Granules: You can add dong quai granules to warm water or tea.
  • Injection:This is normally administered in countries like Japan and China.
  • Tablets/pills/capsules: When in solid unit form, dong quai is sold as a single herb supplement or combined with other herbs. This is one of the most common forms.
  • Tincture: As a tincture, dong quai is normally taken up to three times daily. 

Dong quai suggested servings differ depending on the form, type, individual needs, and healthcare guidance. We always recommend consulting with your doctor and TCM practitioner. 

Looking to purchase high-quality dong quai products? Shop our collection now.

What Are the Side Effects of Dong Quai?

The potential side effects of dong quai occur most often when incorrectly or excessively consumed, which can make your skin sensitive to sunlight, change blood pressure, and cause uncomfortable burping and gas.* Other dong quai concerns may include: 

  • Fever
  • Photosensitivity 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Photodermatitis 
  • Bloating 

As the old adage goes, everything in moderation. This principle applies to Traditional Chinese Medicine, too. Dong quai should be used cautiously to avoid overconsumption. When taking it orally, it is generally safe to combine it with other ingredients in moderate amounts.*

You can safely take dong quai daily for up to six months, but prolonged use may pose risks, depending mainly on the quality of herb you source. Consult your doctor and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner to determine your accurate dosage.

How Long Does It Take for Dong Quai to Work?

Dong quai’s effectiveness takes time and consistency, and the precise duration differs from person to person. Effectiveness hinges on factors like the individual’s health, their dosage, and consumption method. Generally, people report experiencing the benefits of dong quai after a few weeks of consistent use. For some, it may be a month or more. 

Traditional Chinese herbs often don’t produce immediate results. While it does take time and patience for dong quai to yield its full effects, it’s vital to stick to your recommended regimen and allow the herb to work over time. 

Who Should Not Take Dong Quai?

Before consuming dong quai, it is important to be aware of who should not take this herbal remedy to prevent adverse effects.

  1. Pregnancy: Dong quai should not be taken orally during pregnancy, as it may be unsafe for the baby. Its influence on uterine composition may increase the risk of congenital disabilities and miscarriage.
  2. Estrogen-Sensitive Conditions: Individuals with a condition exacerbated by estrogen should not consume dong quai, as it potentially impacts estrogen levels in the body.
  3. Surgical Patients: Dong quai is not recommended for people preparing to undergo surgery as it is a potential blood thinner and inhibits clotting, increasing the risk of excessive bleeding.

Key Takeaways

  • Dong quai has long been a staple in Traditional Chinese Medicine for its versatility and potential health benefits, particularly for female sexual health support, such as menopause management, menstrual health, and overall wellness. It’s often combined with other herbs for synergistic effects. 
  • As a derivative of the Angelica sinensis plant, different compounds in dong quai may also support other aspects of health, such as heart and digestive health, cellular regeneration, respiratory health, and neurological health. 
  • Research to further explore the benefits of dong quai is ongoing. Despite its potential benefits, it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider and TCM practitioner before starting any regimen, mainly to ensure it’s right for you and to obtain a personalized dosage recommendation. 
  • Dong quai requires consistent use over time, and results may vary by individual. Staying informed and opting for a high-quality dong quai product in the form best suited for your needs can support a successful experience. 

Choosing Dong Quai for Your Wellness Journey

Dong quai is a versatile Traditional Chinese Medicine and herb that can support your health and wellness goals. It can readily be found as a raw herb or supplement, depending on your preference. While scientific studies have been done to investigate the benefits of dong quai, further investigation is required to substantiate the conclusions drawn. 

Learn more about dong quai to explore this versatile traditional Chinese herb for your well-being.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.*

Should you wish to consume the dong quai herbal supplement, please consult a health care provider or Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner to understand how it works and how it might interact with other herbs and medication.

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