Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder that follows a traumatic event. While traditional treatment can be effective in helping people overcome PTSD symptoms, pharmaceutical medication also comes with side effects and unwanted risks. Due to this, some have considered using natural herbs like dong quai for PTSD.
Throughout this article, we’re going to take a deeper look at dong quai, the research backing it up, and whether or not the benefits outweigh the risks. At the end, we invite you to ask further questions.
What is Dong Quai?
Dong quai, also known as angelica sinensis, is an herb indigenous to China, Japan, as well as North and South Korea. The root of the herb as been utilized in traditional medicine for centuries. In the United States and throughout Western cultures, dong quai is used as a food additive or for flavoring. However, more Westerners are starting to see the benefits of traditional herbal supplements for various different health conditions, including dong quai. ¹
Dong Quai Effects on the Brain and Body
While there’s only so much research, dong quai acts upon estrogen and other hormones within animals. As of this time, there’s no indication it does so in humans as well. However, many scientists agree it probably has a similar effect.
Dong quai has many preported uses in traditional and modern medicine. It’s known to help in the relief of menopausal symptoms as well as premature ejaculation. It also has an impact for heart complications and renal insufficiency. There’s also a belief that dong quai may have antioxidant properties which can be useful against diseases like cancer and HIV/AIDS. ²
Can You Use Dong Quai for PTSD?
As for mental health conditions, such as PTSD, there are claims that it can help alleviate the severity of symptoms. Some of the PTSD symptoms that dong quai may help with are: ³
- Controlling and managing the nervous system
- Preventing panic attacks, calming anxiety and managing overall stress
- Regulating adrenal gland response which become overwhelming in those dealing with PTSD
What Does the Research Say?
While dong quai isn’t a complete treatment for PTSD, it can help reduce inflammation in the brain and with regulation responses from the nervous system and adrenal glands. However, as of this time, there’s a lacking body of evidence concerning dong quai for PTSD.
Still, there was a surgeon’s guide published about herbal supplements wherein dong quai was found to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help with healing and recovery form surgery which can impact the nervous system response. ⁴
In turn, some herbalists may suggest using dong quai for PTSD alongside other herbal treatment measures.
Dong Quai Side Effects
Although a natural treatment option, dong quai doses have their own inherent risks and side effects. The supplement has mild to moderate interactions with certain heart medications, like blood thinners. Furthermore, dong quai is known to have interactions with the following natural ingredients and supplements: ⁵
- Devils claw
- Green tea
- St. John’s Wort
As for side effects of dong quai, the most common include:
- Increased sensitivity to sunlight
- Lower blood sugar
- Trouble sleeping
- Upset stomach/nausea
Although less common, dong quai does have more serious side effects. If experienced, one should consult a medical professional immediately. These serious side effects are:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Dramatic drops in blood pressure
- Increased bleeding risk, especially if the patient is on blood thinners
- Vision loss
Dong Quai Dosage Recommendation
When it comes to dong quai, there are a lot of different options to take it. It comes in capsules, tinctures, extracts, and consumables. Of powdered extract of the dong quai root, its generally suggested not to exceed 6 grams a day, with most distributors setting a serving size between 1-2 grams twice or three times daily.
The most common form is capsule and each manufacturer sets their own dosing or serving size recommendation. However, not to exceed 3,000mg a day – with most capping off their capsules at 500mg, which are taken 3-6 times daily. ⁶
Dong Quai Reviews
A supplement form of dong quai is available over the counter in a variety of different consumption methods. While it can be difficult to track down a safe, reputable company for vitamins and natural supplements we have provided a list of brands that you can trust for quality and efficacy.
Solaray is one of the most recognized vitamin and supplement manufacturers and distributors in the United States. They have been in business for over 45 years and have earned many awards in excellence in vitamin manufacturing. Their products are sustainably harvested and available in major retailers, small town health stores as well as on their website.
Solaray’s Dong Quai is in the form of 550mg capsules. This product is the grounded up root of the dong quai herb in a digestible vegetable capsule. At a serving size of 1 capsule a day, Solaray provides a 50 day, a hundred day or one hundred and eighty day supply.
Solaray also makes a Female Hormone Blend which consists of dong quai root and black cohosh as well as passion flower, chamomile and cramp bark. Black cohosh has been utilized in traditional Native American medicine for easing menstrual cramps, while the dong quai root extract is used to create a soothing effect from its antioxidant properties.
Swanson Superior Herbs started in 1969 in Fargo, North Dakota. Since then, they’ve been creating and distributing low-cost, sustainably sourced natural ingredients and supplements. Their products go through rigorous testing and approval from internal and external scientists and experts.
Swanson Vitamins provides their own Full Spectrum Dong Quai supplement. Each capsule is a 520 mg dose of the plant material and the serving size is one pull a day. Each bottle contains 100 capsules which serves as a 100 day supply of the supplement
HerbPharm is a trusted supplier of natural supplements through liquid forms including tinctures and sprays. They have been in business since 1979, creating products through sustainable farming practices and manufacturing their supplements through their own unique extraction methods. Certain products certify that they’re GMO-free, gluten-free, and vegan-friendly.
Herb Pharm’s Dong Quai System Restore is a liquid tincture form of the dong quai extract.The tincture is taken orally by dropping measured drops of the tincture into water or juice. Its best taken between meals and the drops are to be consumed twice to four times a day at 0.7 ml a dose. Each dose of 0.7 contains 140 mg of the dong quai root extract.
Nature’s Way is a supplement and vitamin company providing naturally created and sustainably harvested herbal ingredients. They have also prided themselves on manufacturing and distributing high-quality extracts and supplements for over fifty years.
Nature’s Way has their own Dong Quai Root Supplement. Nature’s Way’s supplement is 1,130mg a capsule and the serving suggestion is two capsules, which equals out to 2,260 mg as day. At 2 capsules a day, the bottle serves as a 50 day supply.
When you have a mental illness, it may seem like treating the symptoms can only be done through pharmaceutical means. However, that is no longer the case, as many have turned to more natural alternatives to try and combat their wide range of symptoms. For PTSD, dong quai may be able to provide relief from the physical symptoms like overactive nervous system responses.
Still, it’s vital that you communicate with a medical and mental health professional about any and all prescription and natural treatment options to see if they are right for you. If it is, dong quai might be the way to relieve yourself of the physical burden that PTSD provides and get back to feeling more healthy, vibrant, and well.
Still have questions about dong quai for PTSD?
We invite you to ask them in the comments section below. If you have any further knowledge on the topic to offer – whether personal or professional – we’d also love to hear from you.
¹ University of Rochester Medical Center: Dong Quai – Overview
² National Library of Medicine: Dong Quai’s Impact on HIV/AIDS Through Antiinflammatory Properties
³ OrganicFacts: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – An Integrative Health Approach
⁴ Elsevier: A surgeon’s guide to herbal supplements
⁵ Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: Dong Quai – Side Effects & Warnings
⁶ Drugs.Com: Dong Quai – Dosing Guide & Supplement Facts