Objective: To evaluate possible estrogenic effects of dong quai on vaginal cells and on endometrial thickness in postmenopausal women.
Design: Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial.
Setting: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in a large health maintenance organization (HMO).
Patient(s): Seventy-one postmenopausal women (mean age [+/- SD], 52.4 +/- 6 years) who had follicle-stimulating hormone levels (third-generation assay) of > 30 mIU/mL with hot flashes.
Intervention(s): Subjects were randomized to treatment with either dong quai or placebo for 24 weeks.
Main outcome measure(s): Endometrial thickness was measured by transvaginal ultrasonography; vaginal cells were evaluated for cellular maturation; menopausal symptoms were evaluated by reviewing the Kupperman index and the diary of vasomotor flushes.
Result(s): We observed no statistically significant differences between groups in endometrial thickness, in vaginal maturation index, in number of vasomotor flushes, or in the Kupperman index.
Conclusion(s): Used alone, dong quai does not produce estrogen-like responses in endometrial thickness or in vaginal maturation and was no more helpful than placebo in relieving menopausal symptoms.