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Salvia miltiorrhiza
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Salvia
Species: S. miltiorrhiza
Binomial name
Salvia miltiorrhiza

Salvia miltiorrhiza (simplified Chinese: 丹参traditional Chinese: 丹參pinyin: dānshēn), also known as Red sage, Chinese sage, tan shen, or dan shen, is a perennial flowering plant in the genus Salvia, highly valued for its roots in traditional Chinese medicine .[2] Native to China and Japan, it grows between 90-1,200 meters elevation, preferring grassy places in forests, hillsides, and along stream banks.



The plant is a deciduous perennial. It grows to between 30-60cm high. Leaves are simple or divided, depending on their position on the stem. Flower petals are purple or blue, held within a dark purple calyx.

The specific epithet miltiorrhiza means "red juice extracted from a root".[3]



Medicinal uses

The outside of the taproot, which is the part used in medicine, is red.

In traditional Chinese medicine, danshen has been used to prevent and treat heart conditions and strokes. Results from animal and human studies support these uses of danshen to some extent because danshen is known to decrease the blood's ability to clot in at least two ways. First, it limits the stickiness of blood components known as platelets. It also decreases the production of fibrin--threads of protein that trap blood cells to form clots. Both these effects help to improve blood circulation. In addition, chemicals in danshen may relax and widen blood vessels, especially those around the heart. In animal studies, chemicals in danshen may also have protected the inner linings of arteries from damage. Some other research suggests that danshen potentially may increase the force of heartbeats and slow the heart rate slightly.

Pharmacological mechanism

In animal studies, danshen has appeared to interfere with the development of liver fibrosis--the formation of scar-like fibers in the liver. Because the non-functioning fibers crowd out active liver tissue, liver function decreases gradually as the amount of fibrous tissue increases. Having chronic hepatitis and habitually drinking large amounts of alcoholic beverages are the major causes of liver fibrosis, which could also result from exposure to chemicals or certain drugs. Danshen may also increase blood flow into the liver, so the length of time that potentially damaging substances stay in the liver may be reduced, also reducing the possible injury they may cause. Results from a few animal studies show that it may also protect kidney tissues from damage caused by diabetes. In China, danshen has also been studied for treating acute pancreatitis, painful and possibly dangerous inflammation of the pancreas.

Recent discovery

Recently, initial results from laboratory studies show that danshen may have some activity against human cancer cells and HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). Danshen may stop the spread of several different cancer cells types by interrupting the cell division process and also by causing cancer cells to disintegrate. For HIV, chemicals in danshen may block the effectiveness of an enzyme, HIV-1 integrase, that the virus needs to replicate. Neither of these potential uses of danshen has been tested in humans.

Drug Interactions

Danshen has been shown to potentiate the effects of the common anticoagulation drug Warfarin, leading to gross anticoagulation and bleeding complications. Danshen should be avoided by those using Warfarin.[4]

External links


  1. ^ "Salvia miltiorrhiza information from NPGS/GRIN". Retrieved 2008-03-31.  
  2. ^ Tan, Benny K.-H., Boon-Huat Bay, and Yi-Zhun Zhu. 2004. Novel compounds from natural products in the new millennium: potential and challenges. Singapore: World Scientific. Page 183.
  3. ^ Clebsch, Betsy; Carol D. Barner (2003). The New Book of Salvias. Timber Press. pp. 196–198. ISBN 9780881925609.  
  4. ^ Chan, T.Y. 2001. "Interaction between warfarin and danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza)" The Annals of Pharmacotherapy, Vol. 35, No. 4, pp. 501-504. DOI 10.1345/aph.19029 Retrieved on 06.08.2009


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Euasterids I
Ordo: Lamiales
Familia: Lamiaceae
Subfamilia: Nepetoideae
Tribus: Mentheae
Genus: Salvia
Species: Salvia miltiorrhiza


Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge


Enum. pl. China bor. 50. 1833 (Mém. Acad. Imp. Sci. St.-Pétersbourg Divers Savans 2:124. 1835)


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