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Dong Quai: Uterine Tonic and Fertility Herb…

Dong Quai: Uterine Tonic and Fertility Herb…

Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis) is one of the most powerful female fertility tonic herbs. Used since at least the first century, Dong Quai tonifies and strengthens the uterus by regulating hormonal control, improving uterine tone, and improving the timing of the menstrual cycle. In Asia, Dong Quai is to women’s health as ginseng is to men’s health.

In traditional Chinese medicine, Dong Quai is referred to as a blood tonic as it has a general effect on circulation. This could be helpful for women experiencing pale menstrual flow, absent periods, and weakness after periods (in TCM, this is called blood deficient). It has also been shown to improve red blood cell counts. Dong Quai is traditionally used for situations of stagnation (PCOS, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and uterine fibroids) as it increases the blood flow to the reproductive system, reducing congestion and pain.

Australian Medical Herbalist Richard Whelan shares of “A study in the prominent Japanese medical journal Yakuga Zassh showed that Dong Quai was 1.7 times stronger than aspirin at relieving pain. Many clinical studies have been performed in Taiwan, China and Japan using Dong Quai for conditions involving chronic pain with high rates of success.” Chronic pain that includes dysmenorrhea.

Dong Quai may be helpful for:

  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Delayed or absent menstruation
  • Short periods with cramping
  • Strengthening a “weakened uterus”
  • Cramping and PMS during your period
  • Women who have stopped taking birth control pills and need to encourage a regular cycle
  • Light or slow starting menstruation
  • Stagnant conditions

How Dong Quai Works

Dong Quai is an herb used in TCM to help increase circulation to the reproductive system and nourish the blood.

Dong Quai works by promoting blood flow to the pelvis where it will stimulate an absent or scanty period. It also nourishes the blood (it is in nearly all Chinese herbal blood-building formulas) and helps iron deficiency and anemia. Dong Quai is really effective in helping women who are not menstruating to invite their menstruation back. The increased circulation also helps to strengthen and balance the uterus. In rat studies, it has been shown to help build the uterus lining.

Dong Quai also has a relaxing effect on both the uterus and the nervous system. This can be helpful in situations such as PMS and cramping during your period. Its relaxing effects are just as powerful as other well-known herbs used for relaxation such as – lavender, chamomile, or valerian root.

Click here to shop for Fertilica ™ Dong Quai

How to Use Dong Quai

We find that Dong Quai is best taken as a liquid extract (tincture). The daily suggested use of Dong Quai is 30 drops, 2 times a day in a little water.

Safety & Side Effects

While Dong Quai is considered safe for most people, there are some instances this herb should not be used.

  • Not to be used during pregnancy due to its stimulating effect on the uterus.
  • Do not use during menstruation as it may increase the menstrual flow. Those with scanty flow may find it beneficial all month long.
  • Dong Quai should not be used by those with diarrhea, hemorrhagic diseases, or excessive menstrual flow.
  • If you are using any anti-coagulant or blood thinning medication such as warfarin or aspirin, consult your health care professional prior to using this product.
  • Discontinue use 2 weeks prior to undergoing surgical procedures.

Safety Ratings
The Botanical Safety Handbook classifies Dong Quai as a class 2b: Not to be used during pregnancy unless otherwise directed by an expert qualified in the use of the described substance.

  • Trickey, Ruth. (2003). Women, Hormones and The Menstrual Cycle – herbal and medical solutions from adolescence to menopause. Crows nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.
  • Whelan, R. (n.d.). DONG QUAI. Retrieved from
  • Hirata, J. D., Swiersz, L. M., Zell, B., Small, R., & Ettinger, B. (1998). Does Dong Quai Have Estrogenic Effects in Postmenopausal Women? A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey, 53(5), 295-296. doi:10.1097/00006254-199805000-00021 Retrieved from:
  • Huang, L., Li, B., Liang, Y., Guo, F., & Wang, Y. (2004). Application of combined approach to analyze the constituents of essential oil from Dong quai. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 378(2), 510-517. doi:10.1007/s00216-003-2309-z Retrieved from:
  • Gerner, Zoe & McGuffin, Michael. (2013) Botanical Safety Handbook. Second Edition. Taylor & Francis Group
Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN
Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN

Dr. Traxler is a University-trained obstetrician/gynecologist, working with patients in Minnesota for over 20 years. She is a professional medical writer; having authored multiple books on pregnancy and childbirth; textbooks and coursework for medical students and other healthcare providers; and has written over 1000 articles on medical, health, and wellness topics.  Dr. Traxler attended the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences and University of Minnesota Medical School,  earning a degree in biochemistry with summa cum laude honors in 1981,  and receiving her Medical Doctorate degree (MD) in 1986.

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  1. Avatar

    Hi, i am taking 1.25ml of Vitex 3times daily and i just started taking Dong Quai 3ML 3times daily. is this ok?

  2. Avatar

    I am taking capsules of Vitex with Dong Quai, 300 mg and 150mg respectively, is this dosage okay or should I double it? I have PCOS with menstrual cycles 3x per year

    • Dear Marce,

      General suggested use of Vitex is 900-1000mg daily and that of Dong Quai is 500-600mg two times a day (approx. 30-60 drops on liquid extract). So, to meet these general suggested use guideline smore of the capsule you have could be considered given what I know.

  3. Avatar

    Hi, I have a 2 day period and my period comes every month. However, I have decreased blood flow or a light period flow. Like the first day it would be heavy but then it becomes moderate somewhat and ends on the second day. Is this herbal medication safe to use?

    Do you think this is a cause for concern? Do you think I should possibly consider taking this herb? I have Crohns disease so I take Cimzia medication and ever since then I have been getting a light period flow which worries me somewhat despite it coming every month on time.

    • Dear Leila,

      We can not suggest taking herbs with medication unless your healthcare provider will approve and guide you. That said, do let him/her know this is happening as a potential side effect or the medication. They should know how you are responding in the event the medication dose needs to be adjusted, or discontinued entirely.

  4. Avatar

    When trying to conceive is it best to take Dong Quai during the entire cycle excluding Menstruation, or does it need to be discontinued after ovulation and started again after Menstruation?

  5. Avatar

    Hello. I have PCOS and I conceived with RRL tea, DQ and Vitex and now have a 7 month baby. I would like to conceive again in the next few months. Do you recommend I take DQ throughout my whole cycle except menstruation for about 3 months and then when actively deciding to conceive only up to ovulation? I would like to strengthen my uterus in preparation for baby 2. I shall take vitex if I am having trouble conceiving/ovulating. Thank you in advance

    • Congratulations Alana!

      If you are breastfeeding, we wouldn’t suggest Vitex at the general suggested dose and wouldn’t suggest using Dong Quai at all. If you are not breastfeeding and wish to try Dong Quai, it can be used all cycle long while preparing for conception. It can be discontinued either at ovulation during a cycle you actively try to conceive, or during the two week wait. We do in general suggest preparing for conception for three months minimum if you can.

      My best!

  6. Avatar

    I have a long story of unsuccessful IVFs, diagnosed with NK-cells issues (treated by doctors, so far unsuccessfully) & my husband is diagnosed with overall poor quality sperm.
    I’m thinking to move to the whole ‘natural’ approach for future attempts. I’ll start the cleansing program & have just bought 3 bottles of the Fertilica Choice Enzymes. I’m thinking to also buy the supporting herbs for immunology issues that you recomend; I’m thinking in particular of Maca (for both my husband & I), Dong Quai & Shatavari. But just wanted to ask you if is advisable/safe to mix these herbs + the Fertilica supplement?
    I would really appreciate your expertise & guidance. Thanks a million! Diana

  7. Avatar

    I had a miscarriage a month ago and my period hasn’t come back yet. Is it good for me to give a try to this herb?

  8. Avatar

    Dear Elizabeth Willett,

    I first want to thank you and your company for your assistance in helping women across the world concerning fertility health. I’m needing desperately to confirm information in which I feel I know the answer.

    I’d been taking dong quai liquid extract for 2 weeks and I eventually had a baby at home. I never once knew I was pregnant which was the reason for the dong quai to increase my chances. I took 3 home test before to insure I was not pregnant, all were negative.

    Could the dong quai be the reason for my miscarry? 🙁

    • Dear Nw’Oma,

      Hello and I am so happy to be a sound resource for women and men all over the World.

      With three negative pregnancy tests (assuming your period was late), could it be that Dong Quai helped menstruation start and that what you experienced was not a miscarriage? It seems to me that may be the case.

      Dong Quai is not known to cause miscarriage, we simply can not suggest its use in pregnancy without guidance because we don’t know of it’s effects exactly. It is rare that herbs are scientifically validated for use in pregnancy as researchers don’t often do studies on pregnant women. No one wants there to even be a remote chance of pregnancy loss.

      I hope this helps ease your worries.

    • Avatar

      hi, i struggle with hormone imbalance i use to see menstration like 2 times per year then i was placed on birth control and it become regular, then i stop taking the birth control and i only spotted like 3 times since i stopped it was was light spotting, then i started taking a hormone herb with vitex, wild yan and dong quai. i started seeing spotting, then it becomes brigther but not regular i spot in betweeen but i realise the spotting suddenly stop and im still on the herb. what you think is happening. Im active by the way. Its not a month yet since i stopped seeing the spotting.

    • Dear Jhanelle,

      It seems that perhaps the Vitex, wild yam, Dong Quai combination may be working as spotting has stopped. These herbs do take time to help the body show you the cycle is balancing. We know that herbs are best used consistently for at minimum 3 months, often longer.

      If you have actively tried to conceive, do test for pregnancy as well.

  9. Avatar

    I have been diagnosed by a doctor with low progesterone and possible adenomyosis after a ultrasound. I have very irregular periods sometimes I go without a period for 5 months at a time, I was given progesterone to jumpstart my periods but after 2 cycles they stopped again, its been 2 months now since my last period. I am 30 years old and have already had children, problem is I can not conceive for nothing now. would dong quai work to help with my issues or something like vitex? I’m lost now as to what to do. please help.

    • Dear Aleah,

      Are you certain you were starting progesterone after ovulation and only using it for two weeks before stopping? Are you doing anything else to support uterine health?

      Vitex would be worth learning more about given what I know, Dong Quai may be as well. This guide and our guide Vitex… Fertility Super Herb? will be helpful I hope. I also can’t help but wonder if you may benefit from personalized support through a Fertility Consultation. By booking a Natural Fertility Consultation you will have access to: an herbalist who is assigned to you and can evaluate the entirety of your fertility health, answers to all of your questions, a detailed plan created specifically for you to get the best results with your Natural Fertility program.

  10. Avatar

    Since DQ should not be taken during menstruation or at ovulation/while pregnant…to eer on the side of caution should it only be used the day after menstruation stopped up until day 11 or 14 from the first day of the last period?

  11. Avatar

    Hi My Girlfriend, Has a bulky Uterus and fibroid and she is bleeding heavily , since the last 1month, her paid hasn’t stopped since and every day she has to take medicen to stop the pain, We are in toch with a good doctor, where he has given LupridDX. injection to stop period, and Prevent-n 5mg 3 time a day 1tab, im not sure that to do now as her condition is not getting better Please advise as it is one of a Case, where her Uterus is bulky, and fibroid and adenomoesyses please advise can we take dong quai for her or not or is there any other medication to be given

    • Dear Wasim,

      I am sorry to hear this! It will be best to follow up with your girlfriend’s doctor to ensure they know what was tried is not working. Dong Quai would not be an herb for her at this time!

      She should eat foods rich in iron and vitamin C, and also talk to her doctor about taking both in supplement form. Our guide Do You Have Heavy Menstrual Bleeding? What You Can Do About It… may be worth reading through as well, but we can not suggest taking any herbs as she is already on medication. Her doctor will need to approve their use if there is an herb she is interested in trying.

      I hope she can try to make dietary changes or try supplements to help enough to help her feel better. Do also check in with her doctor and/or consider a second opinion.

      I wish her well!

  12. Avatar


    I hope i can get an answer from this forum as i see the thread looks very genuine. I am almost 40 years old and stayed a virgin till few months ago i got married. We had sex a couple of times and as we live apart i am inactive. I had facial hair growth and scanty periods for a long time. no cysts were there when i got the ultrasound done. No pain and no weight gain stayed slim all my life till now. I would want to have a child soon but i am scared it will be difficult for me to get pregnant because of sex inactivity all my life and my periods last only 3 days with hardly any bleeding the third day. Lately i bought Don Quai and vitex capsules and wondering if i could know the use.

    • Hello Noone!

      Congratulations on your marriage! I am sorry though that you are concerned.

      That you have not had intercourse until you were married is not known to impact fertility health. Please do not worry about being sexually inactive until now!

      That you have learned about and chose Dong Quai and Vitex is wonderful. Dong Quai can be started after menstruation ends and taken as directed on the bottle through the remainder of the cycle. Vitex can be started at any time of the cycle and used daily at a general suggested dose of 900-1000mg. It is best taken all cycle long without taking a break for a minimum of three months.

      You may also find helpful tips in our guide Preparing for Conception Over 40.

  13. Avatar

    Hello! I’ve had a lot of spotting between cycles, and my cycles vary from 22-28 days. I’m only 34 so don’t think it’s menopause. But I’m wanting to regulate my cycle, or at least stop the spotting between (that can last 10+ days). Would dong quai be helpful? I’ve also taken vitex in the past (thanks to this website) and prior to pregnancy, but it hasn’t seemed to help this time. Thanks for all your help!

    • Dear Sarah,

      Thank you for reaching out! To be honest, I can’t say if Dong Quai will be helpful. I don’t know enough about you. If you would share more with (in private via this link… if you would rather) that would help. A cycle that varies between 22 and 28 days may be considered irregular and mid-cycle spotting can have many causes.

      I look forward to learning more about you to be more helpful!

  14. Avatar

    Is dong quai safe for women over forty to take? I read an article from Susan Weed that said women over forty should not take dong quai because it could cause fibroids.

    I would like to begin the Fertilica Cleanse, but some of the products contain dong quai.
    I just had fibroid surgery, and I am very concerned about taking products that contain this herb.

    • Dear Deirdre,

      While I highly value Susan Weed’s knowledge, I have not heard this, nor has it been our experience with Dong Quai as we suggest it, either in combination herbal products (often a low dose) or as but one part of a natural fertility program. That said, we never want anyone to worry about the good they wish to offer their body.

      Cleansing is something to learn more about for women with uterine fibroids. Perhaps our guide The Best Natural Remedies for Uterine Fibroids… will help you decide what’s best for your needs.

      I hope you are feeling well!

  15. Avatar

    Hi. Wonderful site. I’m trying to miscarry naturally, will this work for sure?

    • Hi! I am sorry to hear this!

      We can not suggest Dong Quai during this time. It is not to be taken while bleeding. Are you working with a midwife or practitioner who can guide you? This may be helpful as may our guide that shares easy steps to nourish and recover from miscarriage, After Miscarriage: 5 Steps To Recovery.

      My very best to you!

  16. Avatar

    I am 23 years old, and I have never had a regular cycle.. my periods are basically completely absent. I was just wondering if dong-quai help with my condition. I suspect that I have PCOS but I have never been diagnosed. I know that I ho have cysts on my ovaries. I have tried vitex (pill form) in the past, but I did not see a difference. Would a tincture make a difference? and if i mix both dong-quai and vitex would it increase my chances or having a regular cycle?

    • Hello Jay!

      Dong Quai is worth learning more about based on what I know. It can be combined with Vitex. How long did you try Vitex for and at what dose? Liquid extracts can be more concentrated and faster acting, but Vitex is not a fast-acting herb. It is an herb that takes time to be as effective as it can be if diet and lifestyle are optimal. That brings me to wondering what your diet and lifestyle are like. Have you been told by your doctor why he things you have not had a regular cycle? Have you ever had a period at all?

      Consider also reading this guide How to Get Your Period Back for information on common reasons for why menstruation stops and what can be done about it.

  17. Avatar

    I came off BCP in early February. I was diagnosed with PCOS 10 years earlier and was on BCP for all that time. Never had period on the BCP for 10 years . Except for a few cysts on my ovaries I do not have any other PCOS symptoms.
    1 st Cycle- 61 days. I ovulated on day 48 after I took 1000mg for 7 days prior.
    2nd cycle 36 days. I ovulated on day 24. I took 1000mg every day during my follicular phas
    3rd cycle- I am currently on day 36 and have not ovulated. I have been taking 1000mg every day. Do I need to increase my dosage or stop it for a while? I started taking 1 cup of raspberry leaf tea and 800mg Vitex for 1 week now…..
    If you have any suggestions for me that would be wonderful

    • Dear Alana,

      What great changes so far! It can take the cycle some time to balance after 10 consecutive years of birth control use coupled with having a fertility health issue. Trust your body is working hard to find balance again!

      Dong Quai can be taken with Vitex and Red Raspberry Leaf, and is best take as the product manufacturer suggests. It is also best to be consistent with a herbal program for at least three months, but often longer. It is my opinion given what I know to stick with it! You may also appreciate these tips for after stopping birth control…

  18. Avatar

    Hi, I have what is called unexplained infertility and have just had the 1st IVF cycle which failed. I am thinking of may be immune issues but I don’t have the funds to ask for a complete blood work. I have just looked up on Shatavari and Maca (tried Maca about 3 yrs age and then stopped when I didn’t get pregnant). My question is can I take both Shatavari and Maca together?
    After my IVF transfer, during the 2ww I didn’t have much symptoms but n the 10th day, I had fever and felt I was coming down with something. I knew then something had gone wrong. Right now, I feel bloated and having backaches

  19. Avatar

    dear alizabeth,
    I am 29 year old. my menstruation cycle is regular, but I feel like my blood flow is light. I have not felt ny creamping during menstrution period. I am wondering that it is okey to use Dong Quei in order to increase blood flow.?


  20. Avatar

    Hi, I have am currently TTC and have noticed that my last few periods have been scanty (1.5 days as opposed to my usual 4-5 days). Would dong quai be useful to resume my usual flow, and if so how should I take it?
    Many thanks in advance.

    • Dear Rebecca,

      Dong Quai could be considered given what I know. Be sure to stay hydrated and exercise daily as well. Both help wiht “flow” throughout the reproductive organs and period flow. If sedentary for work or routinely, movement is extra important. Fertility Massage may be worth learning more about as well.

      Dong Quai is best take as suggested on the bottle you purchase or as suggested in this guide.

  21. Avatar


    I’m wondering would it be harmful to take L-dopa (dopa mucuna) to increase dopamine in case I have PCOS? I need a motivational boost and I was thinking that dopa might help motivate the pituitary gland, consequently improving pcos. However, I’m worried that it would imbalance hormones (i.e: increase testosterone too much) . I currently take dong quai, prenatal multivitamin and vitamin D as I am deficient. Please advise me, I really can’t find enough resources on this topic.
    Thank you and I really appreciate your work.

    • Dear Amy,

      What I have seen is that research on Mucuna Pruriens (velvet bean and the source of L-Dopa) is centered around negating the effects of snake venom, it’s use in ppl. with Parkinson’s and in male fertility health. People in general use Mucuna pruriens as an anti-depressant, and to boost libido or testosterone. I haven’t come across human research of the effectiveness of Mucuna pruriens for women with PCOS (there are rat studies).

      So, with all of that and because I truly know so little about this plant, I can’t suggest its use without guidance from a trained herbalist. What I can suggest are the tips we offer in our guide How to Reduce the Damaging Effects of PCOS on Fertility Through Diet and Herbs that is if it is determined that you do have PCOS. Whether you have it or not, maybe the boost could come from emotional support. Consider also Circle + Bloom’s PCOS for Fertility Mind-Body Program.

      My best as you keep searching for the best natural therapies for your needs!

  22. Avatar

    I am currently on CD 59 and started taking Dong Quai on CD 50 and I started bleeding the next day then spotting until CD 53 and started bleeding like it was my period again but after that I spotted for 3 more days then nothing since. Does that count as my period? (I came off birth control 4 months ago).

  23. Avatar

    I have read not to use dong quai is you have endometriosis, fibroids and pcos, is this true? i have blocked tubes due to scar tissue from a surgery and wanted to try and unblock them naturally by using enzymes and chinese herbal teas along with cator oil pack.

    • Dear Sandrea,

      To say that women with an of those fertility health issues aren’t to use Dong Quai may be false. We would want to learn how each individual is impacted by and experience their fertility health issue(s) before suggesting (or not) Dong Quai.

      Here we share information about Natural Therapies for Blocked Fallopian Tubes that may interesting to you (click that link).

      If you have multiple fertility health issues and are unsure of where to begin, or how to proceed, please consider working one on one with our fertility herbalist who can lay out an entire natural fertility program for you based on your specific fertility health needs. This is offered through a Fertility Consultation.

  24. Avatar

    Thanks for the information! I noticed you said not to take during your period, so should you stop the day your period starts and then start again once it is over?

  25. Avatar

    hello, I had ovarian cyst surgery in 2015, three months after that surgery i was able to convince but i lost the pregnancy while in 15 wks. I went for check up and discover that i have Low progesterone and high prolactine but my cycle is regular,do I need to use Dong Quai and Vitex? or you can advice me what to take so that i can be able to conceive again.

    • Dear Dangio,

      I am very sorry for your loss!

      Vitex has undergone numerous studies that have shown its ability to help restore normal progesterone levels by increasing the production of luteinizing hormone (LH), the hormone that initiates ovulation (which in turn increases progesterone production). Vitex has the amazing ability to do this without containing hormones itself. It is also an herb that through nourishing the endocrine system can impact prolactin levels.

      It seems, give what you’ve shared that Vitex would be an herb to consider learning more about.