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. It is often used as part of a postpartum herbal mixture in Asia and is used as a "women's herb" in Chinese medicine for symptoms associated with menstruation and menopause.[2,3] It is also used in some postpartum mixtures as galactogogues in Taiwan. 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.
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 prove 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 not 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.