Dong quai studies

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

Dong quai, an herb in the celery family, has been used for over a thousand years as a spice, tonic, and medicine in China, Korea and Japan.

Dong quai grows in the mountain regions of China, Korea and Japan. It is a perennial plant with smooth purplish stem. It blooms umbrella-shaped clusters of white flowers and winged fruits in July and August.

However, it isn't the plant itself that is used. It is the roots of the dong quai plant that have a number of medicinal uses. The plant root is harvested after the plant has grown for three years. The root is then made into medicine.

In Chinese medicine, different parts of the Dong Quai root are believed to have different activities. For example, the top of the root has blood thinning properties, the main part of the root is used as an energy tonic, and the tail end of the root promotes healthy blood flow.

Often referred to as the "female ginseng" , it purportedly has hormonal effects as well.

Different health problems Dong Quai has been used for are menopausal symptoms, fatigue, nasal congestion and allergies, painful menses, menstrual irregularity, fibroids, hypertension, fibrocystic breast disease, rheumatic illnesses, anemia, constipation, and headaches.

There are a paucity of studies using Dong Quai for arthritis.

Dong Quai has been demonstrated to have properties that lead to reduction of pain, dilation of blood vessels, and modulating activity on uterine muscles. Dong Quai has been shown in animal studies to have effects on the heart in terms of rhythm as well as possibly preventing atherosclerotic plaque formation. It also may have immunomodulatory effects.

The dried root is available in many forms including liquid, tablets, and capsules.

Dong Quai may interact with blood thinners, estrogens, progesterones, oral contraceptives, and estrogen receptor blockers such as tamoxifen or raloxifene.

Dong Quai may interact with other herbal supplements including: feverfew, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, ginseng, licorice, and turmeric.

It has also been reported to cause photosensitivity.

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