The different stages in a woman's life -- puberty, pregnancy and menopause -- each have their own physical changes that impact how a woman looks and feels.
That is why, for thousands of years, women have turned to dong quai to help them feel their best.
What Is Dong Quai?
Dong quai (Angelica sinensis) is a type of plant -- the dried roots of which are used to make medicine. Native to China, dong quai is a member of the Apiaceae family. It's been used for thousands of years by the Chinese, Japanese and Koreans, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Benefits of Dong Quai
Dong quai, also referred to as Chinese angelica or "female ginseng," has been shown to help balance hormone levels and may act similarly to estrogen, but it isn't currently classified as a phytoestrogen, according to the University of Michigan Health System. It's also said to have adaptogenic effects, helping the body properly respond to stress. This is why it's most popular uses surround women's health.
First of all, women take dong quai to relieve the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which include bloating, cramps, fatigue and irritability. It can also be beneficial for women who suffer from mild anemia due to menstruation.
The second most popular use is for the relief/management of the symptoms associated with menopause, which include hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, facial hair growth and changes in mood. Women who are going through menopause stop having their periods and are therefore no longer able to conceive. These symptoms can last for several years and be quite uncomfortable and embarrassing.
Dong quai is also said to support proper blood circulation to bring oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. Women who have had a baby have also been known to take dong quai as part of their recovery, but it's important to follow suggested safety guidelines, especially if a woman is breastfeeding (see below).
Dosage and Safety
Dong quai supplements are available in many forms and strengths. However, it isn't recommended at this time for long-term use, since published studies involving humans are so limited. Until more research is done, there can be no generally recommended dosage for any of the conditions mentioned above.
It's always important to exercise caution when adding any new supplement to your routine. Herbal extracts, like dong quai, can have different effects on different people and may interact with certain medications. Be sure to speak with your doctor before adding a dong quai supplement to your routine if you're on a hormonal medications or therapies, have a diagnosed medical condition or take any prescription or over-the-counter medications regularly. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding shouldn't take dong quai as well as those at risk for medical conditions impacted by hormones, like breast cancer.
Shop for dong quai supplements and more to support women's health at eVitamins Canada and save. Have a great weekend -- we'll see you back here on Monday!