Dong Quai Health Benefits
Dong quai health benefits include an ability to block estrogen activity which may have an impact on sexual health. Among traditional Chinese medicine herbalists, dong quai (Angelica sinensis) is sometimes called the “female ginseng” and has been used to relieve menstrual cramps and to regulate menstruation.
Dong quai contains compounds called coumarins, which are believed to be one of the herb’s active ingredients. Some herbalists warn that dong quai should be taken in combination with other herbs as prescribed by a knowledgeable Chinese herbalist.
Research regarding the impact of dong quai on estrogen suggests it may have estrogen-like effects or it may block estrogen activity in the body. (University of Maryland) One question regarding dong quai health benefits concerns its potential effect on hot flashes. Hot flashes are usually associated with women and the decline in estrogen associated with menopause. However, men can experience this symptom as well. In fact, men with prostate cancer who are treated with hormone therapy frequently experience hot flashes as a side effect of prostate cancer treatment.
A study conducted at the University of Western Ontario examined dong quai health benefits for men with prostate cancer who were experiencing hot flashes because of hormone therapy. Seventeen men completed the three month trial. During the study, the men were assigned to take either dong quai or placebo. Men who took dong quai had a slight reduction in hot flashes. However, the difference was not significant when compared with the experience of men in the placebo group. Therefore the authors concluded that dong quai health benefits do not extend to relief from hot flashes for men receiving hormone therapy.
Using Dong Quai
Dong quai is available as a powdered herb in capsules and a tincture. No recommended dose for dong quai has been established. Men should consult their physician before taking this remedy.
Al-Bareeq RJ et al. Dong quai (angelica sinensis) in the treatment of hot flashes for men on androgen deprivation therapy: results of a randomized double-blind placebo controlled trial. Canadian Urological Association Journal 2010 Feb; 4(1): 49-53
University of Maryland Medical Center: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/dong-quai-000238.htm