Question

I am a breastfeeding mother and i want to know if it is safe to use Dong Quai? Is Dong Quai safe for nursing mother and child? Does Dong Quai extracts into breast milk? Does Dong Quai has any long term or short term side effects on infants? Can Dong Quai influence milk supply or can Dong Quai decrease milk supply in lactating mothers?

Dong Quai lactation summary

Dong Quai usage has low risk in breastfeeding
  • DrLact safety Score for Dong Quai is 3 out of 8 which is considered Low Risk as per our analyses.
  • A safety Score of 3 indicates that usage of Dong Quai may cause some minor side effects in breastfed baby.
  • Our study of different scientific research indicates that Dong Quai may cause moderate to no side effects in lactating mother.
  • Most of scientific studies and research papers declaring usage of Dong Quai low risk in breastfeeding are based on normal dosage and may not hold true for higher dosage.
  • While using Dong Quai We suggest monitoring child for possible reactions. It is also important to understand that side effects vary largely based on age of breastfed child and time of medication in addition to dosage.
  • Score calculated using the DrLact safety Version 1.2 model, this score ranges from 0 to 8 and measures overall safety of drug in lactation. Scores are primarily calculated using publicly available case studies, research papers, other scientific journals and publically available data.

Answer by Dr. Ru: About Dong Quai usage in lactation

A herbaceous plant from the apiaceae family, originating in China. Its roots are widely used in traditional Chinese medicine, attributing to it numerous properties in relation to women (menstruation, menopause) and respiratory infections, none of which have been clearly scientifically proven (WHO 1999: p.25-34, EMA 2013).Not to be confused with angelica (Angelica archangelica, see specific information). Since the last update we have not found published data on its excretion in breast milk. It contains phytochemical components that can modulate the human oestrogen receptor (Powers 2015) and for some experts it should be avoided during breastfeeding (Amir 2011). It is a widely used plant (Hardy 2000, Zhu 1987), even during pregnancy and breastfeeding (Sim 2013). Given its lack of toxicity at the correct dosage (WHO 1999: p.25-34), moderate use during breastfeeding would have little or no risk. Precautions when taking plant preparations: 1. Ensure that they are from a reliable source: poisoning has occurred due to confusing one plant with another with toxic properties, as well as poisoning from heavy metals extracted from the ground and food poisoning due to contamination with bacteria or fungi. 2. Do not take in large amounts; follow recommendations from professional experts in phytotherapy. "Natural" products are not always good in any quantity: plants contain active substances from which much of our traditional pharmacopoeia has been obtained and can result in poisoning or act as endocrine disruptors if taken in excessive amounts or time periods.

Answer by DrLact: About Dong Quai usage in lactation

Dong quai (Angelica sinensis) root contains a number of chemicals, including ligustilide, ferulic acid, angelicide. Dong quai has no generally recognized lactation-related uses, although some midwives in the United States reportedly have used it for postpartum blues or depression.[1] It is often used as part of a postpartum herbal mixture in Asia[2][3] and is used as a "women's herb" in Chinese medicine for symptoms associated with menstruation and menopause. No data exist on the excretion of any components of dong quai into breastmilk or on the safety and efficacy of dong quai in nursing mothers or infants. Although it is usually well tolerated in general use, it may increase the risk of bleeding in patients taking warfarin and antiplatelet drugs and cause photosensitivity reactions. Dong quai is best avoided during breast feeding.[4] Dietary supplements do not require extensive pre-marketing approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Manufacturers are responsible to ensure the safety, but do not need to the safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements before they are marketed. Dietary supplements may contain multiple ingredients, and differences are often found between labeled and actual ingredients or their amounts. A manufacturer may contract with an independent organization to verify the quality of a product or its ingredients, but that does certify the safety or effectiveness of a product. Because of the above issues, clinical testing results on one product may not be applicable to other products. More detailed information #about dietary supplements# is available elsewhere on the LactMed Web site.

Dong Quai Possible Effects in Breastfeeding

A study in Japan compared the use of a mixture of 13 herbs, including dong quai, to ergonovine for their effects on lactation and serum prolactin in postpartum women. The herbal mixture, called Xiong-gui-tiao-xue-yin, was given in a randomized fashion to 41 women in a dose of 2 grams of a dried aqueous extract 3 times daily. A comparable group of 41 women were randomized to receive methylergonovine 0.375 mg daily. Therapy was started on the day of delivery, but the duration of therapy was not specified. Plasma oxytocin and prolactin were measured on days 1 and 6; milk volumes were measured daily, although the method of measuring milk volume was not specified. Serum prolactin was higher on days 1 and 6 in the women who received the herbals; plasma oxytocin was lower on day 1 in the women who received the herbal, but not different on day 6. Milk volumes were greater on days 4, 5, and 6 in women who received the herbal mixture.[5] This study has serious flaws that make its interpretation impossible. First, milk volume measurement is subject to considerable variability depending on the measurement method used, but the method was not specified. Second, methylergonovine has caused decreases in serum prolactin and milk production in some studies.[6][7] Because of the lack of a placebo group, the differences found could be a negative effect of methylergonovine rather than a positive effect of the herbal preparation. Because this study used a multi-ingredient combination products in which dong quai was only one component, the results might be different from studies in which dong quai was used alone.

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Castor(Unsafe)
Nutmeg(Low Risk)
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Oregano(Low Risk)
Ginger(Safe)
Cranberry(Safe)
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Disclaimer: Information presented in this database is not meant as a substitute for professional judgment. You should consult your healthcare provider for breastfeeding advice related to your particular situation. We do not warrant or assume any liability or responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information on this Site.