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Can dang gui or similar herbs cause bad reaction?


Hello, my new acupuncturist I started seeing just put me on “follicular phase” herbs. I started them on cycle day 5 and today is cycle day 10.
The last several days I haven’t been sleeping well, and last night I awoke several times, once my chest and neck were all sweaty. I looked at the list of herbs in the “follicular phase” herbs she gave me and dang gui is one of the ingredients. I remembered in the past taking dang gui and it made my cycle very short so I stopped it. She told me stop taking the herbs for the moment just in case.
Could I react badly to that or other herbs in it? Causing frequent waking during the night and also I have bad anxiety today. This is all not normal for me, I usually sleep well and am not anxious.
Is this cycle a lost cause now for trying to conceive? Is there anything I can do to save it? I’m almost 42 years old, have had a few miscarriages as well, so I really hate wasting more time.

List of herbs in “follicular phase” formula:
Chinese Yam
Asiatic Cornelian cherry
Dong quai
White peony
Chinese salvia
Tree peony root bark
Chinese dodder seed
Silk tree bark
Asian water plantain
Chinese amomum
Porsaleae fruit
Cuperus rhizome


I’m not that familiar with that particular formula, but essentially any of the tonic formulas that can be used to enhance ovulation can be a little overstimulating. Compared to what happens with clomid or other similar medications the side effects of the herbal approach is generally minimal.

Now trying to pick out one ingredient of a complex formula and make judgements about it is usually not all that useful or clinically accurate. Individual herbs often take on fairly different properties when applied with certain other herbs in a formula - in other words an ingredient on it’s own can cause problems, but not within a particular formula, vice versa, and everything possibility in between.

Generally speaking if the formula is right for the persons diagnosis (not just in theory for what you are trying to accomplish in clinical/medical terms) then there will be nothing but upsides. So using standard protocols, i.e. using the same formula on all women having fertility issues will most often lead to very poor results.

Now all that said, again as with western approaches, there is a time to push the body a little bit with more tonic herbs which depending on your underlying diagnosis can cause some temporary issues - usually heat signs, less commonly anxiety but they can go hand in hand to some degree.

Going into any more detail would require me knowing more about your medical history which is simply inappropriate for a public forum. If you feel like you are seeing a capable practitioner then I would trust their process.

And to get to the more personal question “is this cycle a lost cause now for trying to conceive” - absolutely not. You’ve been pregnant before multiple times from what it sounds like, and women can get pregnant anytime. The extra strength that the formula may have provided may have been exactly what you needed even if it didn’t feel that way. I can’t be certain of that without a lot more information, but I certainly wouldn’t jump to the other extreme.


Thank you! I believe my diagnosis is kidney deficiency (yin and yang) and spleen deficiency. Are these ingredients helpful for yin?
She’s going to make me a new formula for the yang phase.


Yes there are some yin tonics in there. If you are truly interested you can look up all of these herbs on our theory site to get an idea of what the approach of the formula is. Chinese herbalism, however, is ultimately quite complicated so the formula often acts differently than the sum of the individual parts. But it will give you an idea.

To get you started here is a link to Rehmannia (Sheng Di Huang).

Ultimately, however, you should trust your practitioner, communicate your concerns, responses, etc. with them and let them help you.


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