What is Dong Quai?

Dong Quai. It’s the kind of word that you’ll most certainly screw up on the first pronunciation (hint: quai rhymes with why. We got you 👊). We’re not too cool to admit that until founding FLO, we hadn’t even heard of dong quai. And while the silly-sounding herb was new to us, it’s been widely used in Chinese medicine, especially in regards to women’s health, for over a thousand years. Allow us to introduce you.

If we’re being scientific, dong quai’s official name is Angelica sinensis, but it’s also commonly referred to as “female ginseng.” The herb hails from the same plant family as carrots, parsley, dill and celery, and is harvested from way up in the mountains of China, Japan and Korea. PMS symptoms so bad they’re worth trekking up a mountain to find relief? We get it.

So what makes dong quai worth the trip? Long story short, it kills cramps. Long story long, research shows that the pharmacological effects of dong quai include the ability to relax smooth muscle within the uterus. Dong quai also contains ferulic acid, a natural anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory that can help to further relieve PMS symptoms like bloating and muscle pain. Less cramps = less feeling like an energy-zapped zombie when that time of the month rolls around. And that’s not even the best part. Further evidence shows that dong quai begins working its magic after just 30 minutes.

Aside from relieving physical symptoms of PMS, this 2016 study found dong quai to be an effective antidepressant. In the study, rats were put under unpredictable, mild stress to induce depression. Symptoms included physical inactivity and decreased appetite :( Don’t worry though, this story has a happy ending! As soon as the animals began treatment with dong quai, they began exhibiting increased mobility and displayed more curiosity. The conclusion was that dong quai activates a signaling pathway in the brain that is directly related to mental health. Damn, dong quai. We think we love you.

In all seriousness though, what we love most about dong quai is its ability to tackle PMS symptoms from both ends; the physical and the psychological. Because the truth is, PMS is one tricky son-of-a-B. With over 200 associated symptoms, and the overwhelming majority (>90%) of women experiencing their own personalized cocktail of those symptoms each month, PMS is the kind of thing that needs to be hit from all sides. And so, we give you dong quai, in the form of our FLO gummies.

Want to get to know the other two main ingredients in FLO? Meet Chasteberry and Vitamin B6.