Dong Quai Root Side Effects

Dong quai is a common name for the herbal drug Angelica sinensis and is a part of traditional Asian healing systems. The plant grows at high altitudes in the mountains of the cold and damp regions of China, Japan and Korea. ‘Dong quai’ is a Chinese word which means ‘return to order’. Roots of dong quai have been used for more than a thousand years as a spice, tonic, and medicine. It is believed that this Chinese medicine best suits to individuals with yin or low energy profile due to its mildly warming effects.

Dong quai herb is also a commonly used menopause herb like other menopause herbs such as black cohosh herb but it must be used with extreme cautions. Primary use of the dong quai herb is to treat conditions involving women’s reproductive systems. Dong quai roots decrease pain and stimulate and relax muscles of the uterus as it contain compounds that dilate blood vessels. Dong quai is available in tablet, liquid extract, and raw root forms. Dong quai is often boiled or soaked in wine in Chinese medicine. The liquid is taken orally after the removal of root.

Uses of dong quai herb:

  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Chronic runny nose
  • Excessive fetal movement
  • Hepatitis
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Malaria
  • Infections, including those producing pus
  • Severe stabbing pains
  • Shingles
  • Toothache
  • Ulcers
  • Raynaud’s disease (a condition of intermittent slowing of blood flow to the fingers, toes, ears or nose)
  • Buerger’s disease (a condition of obstruction, inflammation, and blood clotting in a blood vessel)
  • Gynecologic disorders, such as irregular menstruation, painful menstruation, premenstrual syndrome, and chronic pelvic infection

Side effects of Dong quai:

  • Hormonal Effects:

Phytoestrogens are present in dong quai which compensate for the deficiency of the female sex hormone estrogen in a women’s body. Due to its estrogen like effect, the herb is used to treat various disorders of the female reproductive system including menstrual cramps, menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea), menstrual irregularity, premenstrual syndrome and menopause symptoms. However, it also increases risk for certain hormone-related disorders including breast, ovarian, uterine and prostate cancers, as well as endometriosis. People who take hormonal medications such as birth control pills should not take dong quai without consulting a physician.

  • Increased Bleeding:

Dong quai roots contain coumarin derivatives which possesses anticoagulant and anti-platelet effects. Overuse of the drug may increase the risk of bleeding as the drug has a blood thinning property. People who suffer from bleeding disorder or take medications or herbs that raise the risk of bleeding should be cautious about using dong quai. Before any surgical or dental procedures, patients should also stop the use of this herb.

  • Increase in Photosensitivity:

On long term use or higher doses, dong quai can increase sensitivity to sunlight (photosensitivity) and cause skin inflammation, sunburn and rashes. People taking dong quai root generally complain of increased sensitivity to light during angelica extract usage. So, in order to keep such Dong quai side effects at bay, avoid sun exposure, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen. People who use medications that cause photosensitivity may not be able to use dong quai because these medications include tretinoin, certain types of antibiotics, antidepressants, anti-psychotic medications and drugs to treat cancer.

  • Gastrointestinal Effects:

According to the NIH, some people may experience gastrointestinal side effects while taking dong quai particularly if using the herbal remedy for a long period. Dong quai root usage can cause gastrointestinal effects like diarrhea, lack of appetite, burping, bloating, upset stomach, nausea and vomiting.

  • Allergic Reactions:

Allergic reactions may be experienced by some people while taking dong quai root. Dong quai shouldn’t be used as herbal remedy by people having hypersensitivity or allergy to plants related to dong quai including Angelica radix and those in the Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) family, for example anise, caraway, carrot, celery, coriander, dill, parsley and parsnips.

  • Miscarriage:

Pregnant women should not be recommended to take dong quai as the herb is a menstrual stimulant and may cause the uterus to contract. Dong quai may disturb the normal balance of the hormones which further enhances the risk of miscarriage or abortion. Also, the drug should be avoided by those women who experience extensive menstrual flow.

  • Gynecomastia:

Estrogen is a female sex hormone but is also found to be present in the male body. In men, the estrogen level is always lower than that of the male sex hormones. Over utilization of Dong quai disturbs the balance of male and female hormones in men due to its estrogen like effects. Breast enlargement may be the problem associated with the higher concentration of estrogen in men. In medical term, the condition is called gynecomastia.

  • Drug Interaction:

Dong quai also interacts with some drugs and cause side effects on interaction. These drugs include warfarin, aspirin and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen. Some other drugs with which dong quai interact are ardeparin, dalteparin, danaparoid and heparin. Antioxidants and health supplements are other examples of such drugs.

  • Other Side Effects:

It is also observed that dong quai herb push the blood sugar levels to high limits which may worsen the condition of diabetic patients. Dong quai in large doses cause negative effects on the blood pressure, circulatory and respiratory systems. Also, the herb has laxative property so incorrect doses may trigger the onset of diarrhea and other abdominal disorders.

As the drug has so many side effects, use this in recommended quantities only when it is actually required. You can also consult a qualified medical professional before taking of this drug and follow his instructions and advice for the safety.


4 Comments
  1. Justine Says:

    hey guys how to make dong quai root powder……is that anything add on it?

  2. Brano Says:

    hey threre is also benefits of dong quai root…..i wann just dong quai root dosage info….any help regarding on dis???:?:?

  3. Zakiah S. Miles - Cole Says:

    I just started taking Dong Quai, so far so good! extra women support!

  4. Zakiah S. Miles - Cole Says:

    I HAVE 2 SONS SO I NEED HERBALS LIKE Dong Quai, for support, in my daily life, I AM A BUSY PERSON , I WORK ALOT….. IT RELAXES MY CRAMPING****

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