Looking for a powerful herbal aid to fight against PCOS? Then Dong Quai is a must-add to your collection of remedies for PCOS. In traditional Chinese medicine, Dong Quai is to women’s health what Ginseng is to men’s health. In other words, it’s known to be the most potent herb to promote fertility. It also helps in normalizing menstrual cycle and restoring hormonal balance.
How Does Dong Quai Work For PCOS?
Any competent Chinese herbalist will recommend Dong Quai for PCOS. A well-guarded secret in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, Dong Quai root acts as a uterine tonic. Not only will it ensure regular periods and bring about hormonal balance, but it also boosts immunity and improves your chances of getting pregnant.
To understand how Dong Quai root helps PCOS, we have to first understand the basics. In women with PCOS, Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) is out of whack. As the name suggests, FSH stimulates the ovarian follicle so a mature egg can grow. This encourages estrogen production in the follicle, which signals the pituitary gland to start producing LH. It’s only when LH is produced that a mature egg is released, leading to normal ovulation. Low levels of LH leads to ‘estrogen dominance’ wherein the follicle may not fully mature, causing cystic ovaries.
Dong Quai root improves the blood flow to the pelvis. This helps in balancing hormones and strengthening the uterus. This in-turn eases the inflammation, prevents stagnation and also stimulates regular periods. This herbal tonic also helps ease many of the undesired effects of PCOS. These effects include menstrual pain, cramps, bloating, and uterine muscle weakness.
Is There Research To Support Dong Quai Root For PCOS?
Dong Quai (scientific name: Angelica sinensis) has been nicknamed “female ginseng” by the Western world. It was first introduced in 1899 by Merck as ‘Eumenol.’ It was designed to treat menstrual cramps and pain. While it was discontinued in 1946, researchers are trying to uncover the benefits of Dong Quai for female reproductive health.
In rat studies, Dong Quai has been shown to promote estrogen levels. Scientists are still studying the estrogenic activity of Dong Quai and trying to identify the compounds in this herb. It contains phytoestrogens or dietary estrogens, which exhibit mild estrogenic actions. This explains why Dong Quai Root can be used for longer periods when compared to other herbal tonics.
However, Dong Quai root’s hormonal-mimicking effects are unclear as yet. Additionally, there is a lack of clinical data demonstrating the potential side effects of Dong Quai. Further studies are needed to understand its efficacy and the potential for adverse effects.
Get To Know Dong Quai
In Chinese medicine, Dong Quai is used for the treatment of a whole range of gynecological conditions. It is indicated to be a ‘blood tonic’ that purifies the blood and improves blood circulation. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that period irregularities are caused by ‘stagnation’ of the reproductive organs. This stagnation results in absent or missing periods. By increasing blood flow to the female reproductive system, Dong Quai helps in reducing congestion and pain.
It’s believed that this herbal root can be helpful in:
- Balancing estrogen levels
- Tone a weak uterus by promoting metabolism within the organ
- Easing inflammation
- Regulating hormonal control
- Improving the rhythm of the menstrual cycle
- Treat delayed or absent periods
- Treat premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Ease menstrual cramps and pain
- Help with menopausal symptoms
Using Dong Quai Root For PCOS
Dong Quai is available in many forms. You can find tinctures, capsules, powders, and teas containing this potent dried root. It’s important that you discuss usage and dosage with a practicing herbalist to know what will work best for you. Typical dosage is 2-3 grams divided into 3 doses/day.
You can take:
- 4-6 fluid extract Dong Quai tablets 2-3 times/day
- 1-8 ml or 10-40 drops of tincture up to 3 times/day
- 1-2 grams of powdered root 3 times/day
- 1-2 grams of Dong Quai in tea 3 times/day
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Dong Quai is given alongside other herbs such as black cohosh in a tonic form. This is done so that herbs that work together can counteract side effects of one another. Regardless of what form of Dong Quai you choose, always buy from a reliable, responsible source.
Are There Any Known Side Effects of Dong Quai Root?
Dong Quai Root is usually considered safe when taken in careful doses. However, when taken in large doses, Dong Quai can increase light sensitivity. Avoid direct sunlight and use a sunscreen when using this herb. The essential oil of Dong Quai root is not recommended for human consumption.
In some cases, Dong Quai Root can cause:
- Difficulty breathing
- Lowered blood pressure
- Fever and headaches
- Low blood sugar levels
- Increased bleeding risk
- Stomach upset
- Vision loss
Who Should Not Use Dong Quai Root?
Do not underestimate the power of Dong Quai Root. Because this herb is believed to have potent estrogenic activity, it is not advisable for:
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women
- Women with chronic bloating and digestive disorders like IBS and recurrent diarrhea
- Women with a high risk of hormone-related cancers. If someone in your family has breast, ovarian, or uterine cancers, we don’t recommend the use of Dong Quai root.
- Dong Quai in any form is not safe for use when you have heavy menstrual flow
- It is also not safe for anyone taking blood thinning medication such as aspirin or warfarin.
- Discontinue use of Dong Quai root 2-3 weeks before undergoing any surgical procedure.