Danshen root
Updated on October 6, 2011
This website discusses the benefits and side effects of various supplements, herbs and drug products, including danshen. Different people may
experience different side effects and benefits of a product. Danshen has not been scientific studied thoroughly, you must consult with your doctor
before use it. You are encouraged to report adverse side effects to FDA, its website is
www.fda.gov., or report the adverse side effects to the
manufacturer. Reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document and the information provided herein is believed to be accurate. The
information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Danshen Information
Salvia miltiorrhiza (丹參; dānshēn), also known as red sage, Chinese sage, tan shen, or danshen, is a perennial plant
in the genus Salvia, highly valued for its roots in traditional Chinese medicine. Native to China and Japan, it grows at 90
to 1,200 m elevation, preferring grassy places in forests, hillsides, and along stream banks. People use the danshen
root to make medicine.

Traditional Uses of Danshen
Danshen has been used for treating chronic renal failure and to prevent and treat heart conditions and strokes in
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The Danshen root is used with kudzu root for the treatment of coronary heart
disease. Danshen is also used for treating diabetes in TCM. Some people also use danshen for menstrual disorders,
chronic liver disease, rapid heartbeat, tight chest, acne, psoriasis and eczema.

Key ingredients of Danshen
Danshen contains danshensu, protocatechuic aldehyde, salvianolic acid B, cryptotanshinone, tanshinone I and
tanshinone IIA. [6] Salvianolic acid is important to danshen's protective action against cerebrovascular disorders.
Tanshinone I, IIA and dihydrotanshinone may contribute the anti-cancer activities of danshen

Danshen Benefits

High Blood Pressure
Blood Pressure Animal studies have suggested that danshen (丹參) may have benefits of blood pressure lowering; anti-
fibrinolytic activities and inhibitory effect of platelet aggregation [1,2] However, its side effects can be serious, especially
if the users are overdosed. It interacts with warfarin, danshen should be avoided in patients taking blood thinning or
blood pressure lowering agents. [3]

Inhibition of Ca(2+) influx in the vascular smooth muscle cells was found to contribute the vasorelaxant effects of
danshen aqueous extract, danshensu and dihydrotanshinone and salvianolic acid B. [7, 9, 10] Kim DD and co-workers
at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School found that oral tanshinone (50 microg/100 g body wt) reduced mean arterial
pressure in hypertensive hamsters. [8] They also identified eNOS stimulation is one mechanism by which tanshinone
induces vasodilation and reduces blood pressure. [8]

Danshen decoction was found to accelerate the healing of ulcer induced by acetic acid, increased the content of
mucus and inhibited the formation of gastric ulcer in a study of mice. [4]

Anti-oxidative activities
Yue KK and co-workers at Hong Kong Baptist University found that oral intake of danshen improved the glutathione
and malondialdehyde levels in the eyes and aorta in diabetic rats. In addition, danshen didn't alter the hyperglycemic
status of the diabetic animals. Thus, that oral administration of danshen can effectively prevent the occurrence of
oxidative stress in the eye and aorta of the diabetic rats, help prevent or relieve the diabetic complications. [5]

Lipid Profiles and Osteoporosis
Zhang ZP from Guangdong Medical College found that danshen root compounds increased HDL-cholesterol and
partially prevent the occurrence of osteoporosis in mice suffered from hyperlipemia-induced osteoporosis.  [11]

Breast Cancer
Danshen was found to strongly inhibit the proliferation of both breast cancer cells MCF-7 vec cells and MCF-7 HER2
cells. MCF-7 HER2 cells is related to the overexpression of HER2. HER2 is a receptor tyrosine kinase, and is involved
in signal transduction pathways leading to tumor cell proliferation. And, MCF-7 HER2 cells were more resistant to the
Danshen-induced inhibition of Akt phosphorylation and p27 up-regulation. [12]

Anti-viral activities
A study from Chang Gung University suggests a danshen extract may be used as anti-enterovirus 71 agent. [12]

Scientific evidence for danshen benefit is insufficient, more studies are needed to prove danshen benefits.

Danshen Side Effects and Safety
Danshen may lead to side effects such as itching, upset stomach, reduced appetite, drowsiness, dizziness, and
thrombocytopenia. Thrombocytopenia is any disorder in which there is an abnormally low amount of platelets. Pregnant
women, and patients suffered from bleeding disorder or receiving a surgery soon should avoid danshen. Further, do
not take digoxin, anticoagulant, or antiplatelet agents together with danshen. You should avoid taking danshen, if you
are taking warfarin, aspirin, clopidogrel, diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, dalteparin, enoxaparin, heparin, warfarin and
other similar medications.

Danshen may also alter the metabolism of certain drugs such as lovastatin, clarithromycin, cyclosorine, diltiazem,
estrogens, indinavir, triazolam and others. Do not take danshen if you are on these medications.

Danshen Dosage
Common dosage is about 20 mg/kg, 3 times daily. However, at this time there is not enough scientific information to
determine an appropriate range of doses for danshen. Users should consult with their doctors before taking danshen.

Danshen Benefits   Dan Shen Pian               
A. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvia_miltiorrhiza
B. WebMD, October 6, 2011
Drugs.com October 6, 2011
Medicinenet.com, October 6, 2011

Research Articles
[1] Kang DG, et al. Anti-hypertensive effect of water extract of danshen on renovascular hypertension through inhibition of the renin
angiotensin system. Am J Chin Med. 2002;30(1):87-93. Zou ZW, et al. Antithrombotic and antiplatelet effects of rosmarinic acid, a water-
soluble component isolated from radix Salviae miltiorrhizae (danshen) Yao Xue Xue Bao. 1993;28(4):241-5. [3] Chan TY. Interaction
between warfarin and danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza). Ann Pharmacother. 2001 Apr;35(4):501-4. [4] Liu L, Zhang HQ. Effects of Danshen
Decoction on experimental gastric ulcer in rats and mice, Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao. 2005 Jan;3(1):35-8. [5] Yue KK, et al. Danshen
prevents the occurrence of oxidative stress in the eye and aorta of diabetic rats without affecting the hyperglycemic state. J
Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Jun 15;106(1):136-41. Epub 2006 Jan 20. [6] Zhou L, et al. Improved quality control method for Danshen products--
consideration of both hydrophilic and lipophilic active components. J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2006 Jun 7;41(3):744-50. Epub 2006 Feb 2. [7]
Lam FF, et al. Salvianolic acid B, an aqueous component of danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza), relaxes rat coronary artery by inhibition of
calcium channels. Eur J Pharmacol. 2006 Dec 28;553(1-3):240-5. Epub 2006 Sep 23. [8] Kim DD, et al. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase
is a molecular vascular target for the Chinese herb Danshen in hypertension. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2007 May;292(5):H2131-7.
Epub 2006 Dec 15. [9] Lam FF, et al. Relaxant effects of danshen aqueous extract and its constituent danshensu on rat coronary artery are
mediated by inhibition of calcium channels. Vascul Pharmacol. 2007 Apr;46(4):271-7. Epub 2006 Nov 18. [10] Lam FF, et al.
Dihydrotanshinone, a lipophilic component of Salvia miltiorrhiza (danshen), relaxes rat coronary artery by inhibition of calcium channels. J
Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Sep 26;119(2):318-21. Epub 2008 Jul 18. [11] Zhang ZP, et al. Effect of Danshen root compound on blood lipid and
bone biomechanics in mice with hyperlipemia-induced osteoporosis Nan Fang Yi Ke Da Xue Xue Bao. 2008 Aug;28(9):1550-3. [12] Wu
BW, et al. Antiviral effects of Salvia miltiorrhiza (Danshen) against enterovirus 71. Am J Chin Med. 2007;35(1):153-68. [12] Yang W, et al,
Danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza) extract inhibits proliferation of breast cancer cells via modulation of Akt activity and p27 level.Phytother Res.
2010 Feb;24(2):198-204.