Evidence

These uses have been tested in humans or animals.  Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven.  Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Key to grades

A
Strong scientific evidence for this use
B
Good scientific evidence for this use
C
Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D
Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work)
F
Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work)

Grading rationale

Evidence gradeCondition to which grade level applies
C

Amenorrhea (lack of menstrual period)

There is limited evidence to support the use of dong quai for a lack of menstrual period. More research is needed before a firm conclusion can be made.
C

Arthritis

Dong quai has been traditionally used for arthritis. However, there is a lack of evidence to support its use for this condition. Further research is needed.
C

Blood circulation

A combination Chinese product containing dong quai may reduce limb swelling and promote blood circulation. However, the effect of dong quai alone is unclear and more research is needed.
C

Death and dying

There is a lack of evidence to support the use of dong quai as a treatment for rhesus incompatibility (a condition in which a woman and her unborn child have incompatible blood types).
C

Decreased blood platelets

There is promising early evidence to support the use of dong quai as part of a combination treatment for idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (a bleeding disorder in which the immune system destroys platelets). Further research is needed.
C

Heart disease

Early study suggests that dong quai in combination with other herbs may have protective heart health benefits, reduce cholesterol levels, and improve coronary heart disease symptoms. However, there is a lack of human research on the possible effects of dong quai alone. Further studies are needed.
C

Immune function

Dong quai extract has been shown to stimulate the immune system in people undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy for breast cancer. However, further research is needed in this area.
C

Kidney disease (Glomerulonephritis)

There is a lack of evidence to support the use of dong quai as a treatment for glomerulonephritis (in which kidney damage affects the filtering of waste and fluids from blood). Further study is needed.
C

Lichen planus (itchy skin rash)

There is a lack of evidence to support the use of dong quai to treat lichen planus in the vagina. High-quality research is needed in this area.
C

Menstrual cramps

Early study has found promising results for the use of dong quai in combination with other herbs to treat menstrual cramps. More high-quality human evidence is needed.
C

Menstrual migraine headache

There is promising early evidence to support the use of dong quai as part of a combination therapy for menstrual migraine headache. However, further research is needed on the possible benefits of dong quai alone.
C

Pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs)

Dong quai may improve high blood pressure in the lungs, blood thickness, and red blood cell volume. Further research is needed.
C

Sexual dysfunction

A cream containing dong quai and other herbs has been shown to improve sexual function and satisfaction. Early study suggests that dong quai in combination with other herbs may also improve or reduce hot flashes, as well as decrease fatigue and sleep problems. More studies are needed to confirm these findings.
C

Stroke

Dong quai has been studied for benefits on blood flow and memory in people who have had a stroke. A combination product containing dong quai has been studied for the prevention of blood clots in the brain. Further research is needed.
C

Ulcerative colitis (inflammatory bowel disease)

Dong quai may benefit people who have blood disorders associated with ulcerative colitis. More research is needed to confirm these early results.
D

Menopause

Dong quai has been used as part of traditional Chinese formulas to treat menopause symptoms. Dong quai may have estrogen-like effects and has been studied for the treatment of hot flashes. However, the only study using dong quai alone found a lack of effectiveness on menopause symptoms. High-quality research is still needed in this area.

Uses based on tradition or theory

The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Abnormal fetal movement, abnormal heart rhythms, abscess (pus build-up), acne, age-related nerve damage, AIDS, allergy, amnesia, anemia, anorexia, anti-aging, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic (prevent muscle spasms), antiviral, anxiety, asthma, back pain, bile flow improvement, bladder disorders, bleeding, blood clot prevention (menstruation), blood flow disorders, blood purifier, blood thinner, boils, bone loss, bowel disorders, breast disease, breast enhancement, bronchitis, cancer, central nervous system disorders, cervicitis (inflammation of the cervix), chemotherapy side effects, chicken pox, chilblains (skin damage caused by cold exposure), chronic lung conditions, chronic pelvic pain, chronic rhinitis (long-term nasal allergies), clogged arteries, colchicine-induced learning impairment, congestion (chronic nasal and sinus), constipation, cough, cramps, dermatitis (skin inflammation), diabetes, digestive disorders, dysentery (bloody diarrhea), eczema (chronic skin inflammation), emotional instability, endometriosis (uterine cells grow outside the uterus), estrogen-like activity, excessive menstrual flow, expectorant (promotes mucus), eye problems, fatigue, fluid retention (fluid build-up), gas, glaucoma (increased eye pressure), hay fever, headache, healing time reduction, heart conditions, heartburn, heart failure, hematopoiesis (stimulation of blood cell production), hemolytic disease of the newborn (blood disease in babies), hemorrhoids, hernia (part of an organ bulging through a muscle), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hives, hormonal disorders, immune cytopenias (decreased number of immune cells in the blood), improving urine flow, indigestion, infertility, irregular heartbeat, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), joint pain, kidney problems, labor, laxative, leg swelling, liver damage, liver inflammation (long-term), liver protection, lung disease, lung disorders, lung inflammation, malaria, menstrual flow stimulant, metrorrhagia (bleeding in between menstrual periods), miscarriage prevention, muscle relaxant, myocardial ischemia (reduced blood flow to the heart), nerve damage, nerve pain, neurodermatitis (long-term skin itching), osteoporosis, ovarian cysts, ovulation disorders, pain, pain relief, pelvic cramps, pelvic inflammatory disease, peritoneal dialysis (treatment to remove waste after kidney dysfunction), pernicious anemia (low red blood cell levels due to problems absorbing vitamin B12), phytoestrogen, placental detachment (pregnancy complication in which placenta and uterus separate), pneumonia (infants), post-partum weakness (fatigue after giving birth), pregnancy, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), prepare uterus for labor, psoriasis (skin redness and irritation), pulmonary fibrosis (scarring of the lungs), Raynaud's disease (reduced blood flow caused by cold or stress), reperfusion injury (tissue damage caused by lack of oxygen), rheumatism or joint diseases, ringing in the ears, sciatica (back and leg pain), sedative, sepsis (severe response to infection), shingles, skin pigmentation disorders, skin ulcers, stiffness, stomach pain, stomach ulcer, stress, swelling, tonic, toothache, uterine disorders, uterine fibroids (non-cancer growths in the uterus), uterine tonic, vaginal atrophy (thinning of vagina walls), vaginal discharge, vaginal dryness, vasodilatation (widens blood vessels), vein clots, vision problems, vitamin B12 deficiency, vitamin E deficiency, vitiligo (irregular white patches on skin), wound healing.

This evidence-based monograph was prepared by The Natural Standard Research Collaboration

www.naturalstandard.com