A Chinese herb with genetic ties to celery, dong quai has been traditionally used in Asia for several conditions, including reproductive problems. When used by men, it reportedly helps them maintain their sexual health. But, as of 2013, science has not found undisputed proof that dong quai offers the benefits its marketers claim.
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According to the Urology Care Foundation, as many as one in five American men between the ages of 18 and 59 experience premature ejaculation. A 2012 report on MedlinePlus offered the vague statement that “some men” treat the problem with a preparation containing dong quai and other ingredients. Data establishing how many men use the herb isn’t readily available. A 2008 chemical review of dong quai by the National Toxicology Program cited a 1996 survey that placed it 17th in sales volume among herbal supplements. That information didn’t clarify how many consumers were male, nor the reason they bought the product.
The makers of dong quai products also claim the herb detoxifies the blood, relieves high blood pressure and soothes painful joints. In addition, you may see claims the plant alleviates ulcers, treats infertility and promotes bowel movement.
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The MedlinePlus report claimed scientific evidence showed dong quai preparation is possibly effective in treating premature ejaculation. But it raises questions when it lists some other ingredients in the cream. Without proper scientific scrutiny, it's difficult to say conclusively that dong quai alone can offer relief from premature ejaculation. Regarding dong quai’s other uses, MedlinePlus says scientific evidence is unclear as to whether the herb is of help.
Proceed with Caution
If you feel tempted to give dong quai a try, first pay a visit to your doctor. Side effects are possible, and the herb might do more harm than good. The University of Maryland Medical Center says dong quai products can aggravate chronic diarrhea and abdominal bloating. Dong quai essential oil also contains small amounts of substances known to cause cancer. Other problems dong quai can create are skin sensitivity to sunlight and an increased risk of hemorrhage.