Ch'ih Shen, Chinese Red Sage, Chinese Sage, Chinese Salvia, Dan Shen, Dan-Shen, Huang Ken, Pin-Ma Ts'ao, Racine de Salvia, Radix Salviae Miltiorrhizae, Radix Salvie Miltiorrhiae, Red Root Sage, Red Rooted Sage, Red Sage, Sage Miltiorrhiza, Salvia bowelyana, Salvia miltiorrhiza, Salvia przewalskii, Salvia Przewalskii Mandarinorum, Salvia Root, Salvia yunnanensis, Salviae Miltiorrhizae, Sauge Rouge, Sauge Rouge Chinoise, Shu-Wei Ts'ao, Tan Seng, Tan-Shen, Tzu Tan-Ken.


Overview Information

Danshen is an herb. The root is commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is often combined with other herbs.

Danshen is used for heart and blood vessel health, cancer, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

How does it work?

Danshen appears to thin the blood by preventing platelet and blood clotting. It also causes blood vessels to widen, and this can improve circulation.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Chest pain (angina). Early research shows that taking danshen with other ingredients for up to 6 months can reduce chest pain in people with heart disease about as well as taking isosorbide dinitrate.
  • Liver scarring (cirrhosis). Early research shows that injecting a combination of danshen and astragalus into a vein each day improves markers of liver injury in people with liver cirrhosis. It's too soon to know if the improvement is due to astragalus, danshen, or the combination.
  • Heart disease. Some research shows that taking danshen with other ingredients daily can reduce pain and cholesterol levels and improve heart function in people with heart disease.
  • Vision problems in people with diabetes (diabetic retinopathy). There is some evidence that taking danshen with other ingredients for up to 24 weeks can improve vision in people with retinal damage caused by diabetes.
  • High levels of cholesterol or other fats (lipids) in the blood (hyperlipidemia). Early research shows that adding danshen injections to lipid-lowering medications for 30 days decreases total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol, and certain blood fats called triglycerides in people with high cholesterol. It also seems to help increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good") cholesterol.
  • High blood pressure. Early research shows that taking danshen with other ingredients along with medication to lower blood pressure might help lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure better than taking blood pressure-lowering medication alone.
  • Kidney transplant. Early research shows that receiving an injection of danshen for 10 days improves kidney function after a kidney transplant, but does not reduce the risk of transplant rejection.
  • A painful mouth disease that reduces ones ability to open the mouth (oral submucous fibrosis). Early research shows that giving danshen with a needle along with steroids helps improve symptoms of oral submucous fibrosis more than when steroids are used alone.
  • Stroke. Early research shows that receiving danshen with other ingredients by mouth or injecting danshen intravenously (by IV) might improve brain function after a stroke caused by a blood clot (ischemic stroke).
  • Blood clots that form in the veins (venous thromboembolism or VTE). Early research shows that taking danshen with other ingredients daily can decrease the risk of a blood clot in people receiving a certain type of chemotherapy called thalidomide.
  • A pregnancy complication marked by high blood pressure and protein in the urine (pre-eclampsia).
  • Acne.
  • Bruises.
  • Cancer.
  • Diabetes.
  • Eczema (atopic dermatitis).
  • Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).
  • Heart attack.
  • Obesity.
  • Scaly, itchy skin (psoriasis).
  • Swelling (inflammation) of the liver (hepatitis).
  • Swelling (inflammation) of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
  • Wound healing.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of danshen for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Danshen is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth by most people. It can cause some side effects, including itching, upset stomach, and reduced appetite.

When given by IV: There isn't enough reliable information to know if danshen is safe when given by IV. It might cause side effects such as itching, upset stomach, and reduced appetite.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if danshen is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Bleeding disorders: There is a concern that danshen might increase the risk of bleeding. If you have a bleeding disorder, don't use it.

Low blood pressure: Danshen might lower blood pressure. In theory, taking danshen might make blood pressure become too low in people with low blood pressure.

Surgery: Danshen might slow blood clotting, so there is a concern that it might increase the risk of extra bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using danshen at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.



Major Interaction

Do not take this combination

  • Digoxin (Lanoxin) interacts with DANSHEN

    Digoxin (Lanoxin) helps the heart beat more strongly. Danshen also seems to affect the heart. Taking danshen along with digoxin can increase the effects of digoxin and increase the risk of side effects. Do not take danshen if you are taking digoxin (Lanoxin) without talking to your healthcare professional.

  • Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with DANSHEN

    Danshen might slow blood clotting. Taking danshen along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
    Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

  • Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with DANSHEN

    Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. Danshen might increase how long warfarin (Coumadin) is in the body, and increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.



The appropriate dose of danshen depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for danshen. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References


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  • Zhou X, Chan K, Yeung JH. Herb-drug interactions with Danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza): a review on the role of cytochrome P450 enzymes. Drug Metabol Drug Interact. 2012 Mar 2;27(1):9-18. View abstract.
  • Zhu C, Cao H, Zhou X, Dong C, Luo J, Zhang C, Liu J, Ling Y. Meta-analysis of the clinical value of danshen injection and huangqi injection in liver cirrhosis. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:842824. View abstract.

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