Does dong quai have estrogenic effects in postmenopausal women? A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Fertil Steril. 1997 Dec;68(6):981-6. doi: 10.1016/s0015-0282(97)00397-x.


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.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Angelica sinensis
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use*
  • Endometrium / cytology
  • Endometrium / drug effects
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Estrone / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause / drug effects*
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin / metabolism
  • Treatment Failure
  • Vagina / cytology
  • Vagina / drug effects


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin
  • Estrone
  • Estradiol
  • angelicae sinensis extract