Alex’s notes: Angelica sinensis, more commonly known as “dong quai”, is an herb native to China that is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine to “nourish one’s vitality and enrich blood.” Despite the Chinese’s ancient wisdom and proven track record with these medicinal compounds, no study has actually shown if dong quai does “strengthen” via skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Until now that is.
This study was in vitro, meaning it was performed on cell cultures outside of a living organism. Regardless, treatment of the myotubes (muscle fibers) with dong quai increased their diameter by an average of 1.34-fold. Using pathway inhibitors, it was shown that hypertrophy was the result of an increased role of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway. However, it should also be noted that for every 10-fold increase in concentration of dong quai, the viability of the cells decreased, giving rise to the notion that more isn’t better. How these results would transfer to us is completely unknown. Dong quai does induce hypertrophy significantly, but how much would you need to take? And would it even work in the same manner?