Radix Salvia miltiorrhiza
Salvia miltiorrhiza (simplified Chinese: 丹参; traditional Chinese: 丹參; pinyin: 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 (300 to 3,940 ft) elevation, preferring grassy places in forests, hillsides, and along stream banks. The specific epithet miltiorrhiza means “red ochre root”.
S. miltiorrhizais a deciduous perennial with branching stems that are 30 to 60 cm (0.98 to 1.97 ft) tall, with widely spaced leaves that are both simple and divided. The 30 cm (0.98 ft) inflorescences are covered with hairs and sticky glands. Flowers grow in whorls, with light purple to lavender blue corollas that are approximately 2.5 cm (0.082 ft) long, with a dark purple calyx.Salvia miltiorrhiza prefers well-draining soil, with about half a day of sunlight. It is hardy to approximately −10 °C (14 °F). Most Salvia seeds have a higher germination rate when exposed to light, though it is not required.
Traditional Chinese medicine
Salvia miltiorrhiza has been used in China and, to a lesser extent, in Japan, the United States, and European countries for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. A 2007 Cochrane review of clinical studies of the use of danshen for acute ischaemic stroke found that the quality of evidence was poor and there is no evidence of benefit.
In China, Salvia miltiorrhiza (alone or combined with other Chinese herbal medicines) has been used for a variety of diseases such as angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and acute ischemic stroke.
One TCM combination is a patent medicine called “xuebijing” which is given by injection; along with danshen it includes dang gui, safflower,Chinese peony, and Ligusticum striatum.
Danshen has been shown to potentiate the effects of the common anticoagulation drug warfarin, leading to gross anticoagulation and bleeding complications. Therefore, danshen should be avoided by those using warfarin. Danshen causes interference when measuring digoxin levels when measured using chemiluminescence immunoassays (CLIA).
Chemical compounds isolated from Salvia miltiorrhiza include salvianolic acid (or salvianolic acid B), dihydrotanshinone, tanshinone I, and tanshinone IIA. Tanshinone IIA is one of the most abundant constituents of the root of Salvia miltiorrhiza.
Salvianolic acid B has shown to be protective after experimental subarachnoid haemorrhage