“Female Ginseng” For Cramps, PMS and Period Symptoms

Dong Quai Female Ginseng Root

As we’ve discussed before, everyone’s period is different because every woman is different.

You could have predictable periods throughout your menstrual years, or you could have had heavy cramping, PMS or other unpredictable period symptoms.

However, if you are under a lot of stress — or when you start perimenopause — periods can come with a whole new set of symptoms.

For example, you might get mood swings, randomly heavy periods, heavy cramps, or hot flashes, or a combination of any or all of these symptoms.

While these are common, they’re not mandatory. Suffering is optional!

There are things you can do to relieve cramps and other symptoms naturally. But before we go into those, let’s talk about why it’s happening in the first place.

What Causes Bad Period Symptoms?

Excess stress from life triggers the release of the stress hormone cortisol. You need some cortisol to help you act in emergency situations. But excessive stress leads to cortisol overproduction — which can turn into chronic inflammation and hormone disruption.

Maybe you don’t consider life very stressful. You can do it all and handle it all, right?

At least that’s what we’ve been taught culturally, and so many women normalize things that will cause excessive stress. For example…

  • Busy moms who keep up with multiple kids different after-school schedules — and play chauffeur for hours
  • Women who hold down two jobs to be able to pay the bills comfortably
  • Coupled women dealing with complex relationship issues — with their spouse or significant other as well as with their parents and in-laws
  • Career women dealing with pressure from work and project deadlines
  • Planning a wedding — or two weddings at once

Or imagine supporting your kid in their first year of college, only to find out their degree has been removed from the curriculum — and you have to start the college hunt process all over again? That’s what one woman in our Perfect Period community shared with us.

When it comes to perimenopause, hormonal shifts can collide with life stressors. It doesn’t help that many women go into perimenopause when they’re juggling multiple responsibilities — caring for children and elderly parents, working on a relationship or marriage, juggling work and home and social life.

Dealing with just one of these things causes excess stress. But very often, we will “suck it up” and deal with two or more of these stressors as if it’s just normal life.

One of the ways you can support your body to deal with excessive stress is to incorporate adaptogens into your routine.

What is an Adaptogen?

Adaptogens are herbs, roots, and mushrooms that can help the body manage stress and restore balance after a stressful situation. Adaptogens help the body “adapt” to stressors by supporting chemical processes in the nervous system. It is believed that adaptogens have phytochemicals that interact with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis — or the glands that respond to stressors.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic medicine have been using adaptogens for centuries to treat a wide range of conditions. Adaptogens are relatively new to Western medicine, but they are becoming more widely recognized as research grows. When it comes to supporting better periods, dong quai is one adaptogen to pay attention to.

What is Dong Quai?

Dong quai (Angelica sinensis) root is a plant revered in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for its ability to support women’s reproductive problems. Sometimes called the “female ginseng,” it has been used for more than 1000 years as a traditional tonic in China, Korea, and Japan.

Dong quai grows at high altitudes in the cold, damp, mountains of the Far east. This fragrant, perennial plant -- a member of the celery family -- has smooth purplish stems and umbrella-shaped clusters of white flowers. The roots are used as medicine.

How Does Dong Quai Help Periods?

Dong quai is anti-inflammatory and immune supportive, which can support the body when it is over stressed and inflamed. Dong quai is sometimes suggested to relieve cramps, irregular menstrual cycles, infrequent periods, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and menopausal symptoms.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, dong quai root is recommended for women’s health issues because it increases blood flow and helps with irregular cycles. Scientific studies have noted Dong Quai for its effect on hot flashes (1, 2) and night sweats (3). Extracts of Dong Quai have shown in studies to have neuroprotective properties (4), anti-tumor (5) and effects in animal studies.

Dong Quai in Perfect Period

Dong Quai is often used in combination with other herbs such as chaste tree berry and motherwort to relieve menopausal symptoms. That’s just one of the reasons we combine it with the other herbs in our Perfect Period formula.

Stress will happen no matter what. How your body manages the stress (or doesn’t manage it) will show within your cycle.

When it comes to supporting your body to manage stress, consistency matters. Perfect Period works best when taken regularly. So the best way to feel the difference is to add it to your daily regimen. Because it is a natural, herbal blend, it will take your hormones a while to adjust with the added support.

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1. Kupfersztain C, Rotem C, Fagot R, Kaplan B. The immediate effect of natural plant extract, Angelica sinensis and Matricaria chamomilla (Climex) for the treatment of hot flushes during menopause. A preliminary report. Clin Exp Obstet Gynecol. 2003;30(4):203-206.


2. Rotem C, Kaplan B. Phyto-Female Complex for the relief of hot flushes, night sweats and quality of sleep: randomized, controlled, double-blind pilot study. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2007;23(2):117-122.


3. Lee WH, Jin JS, Tsai WC, et al. Biological inhibitory effects of the Chinese herb danggui on brain astrocytoma. Pathobiology. 2006;73(3):141-148.


4. Shang P, Qian AR, Yang TH, et al. Experimental study of anti-tumor effects of polysaccharides from Angelica sinensis. World J Gastroenterol. 2003;9(9):1963-1967.


5. Tsai NM, Lin SZ, Lee CC, et al. The antitumor affects of Angelica sinensis on malignant brain tumors in vitro and in vivo. Clin Cancer Res. 2005;11(9):3475-3484.

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