Herbal Spotlight: The Powerful Effects of Danshen

Author: Lauren Grieco, MS, RD         

Editor: Shuhua Bloom


While Danshen has been used as an herbal medicine for centuries in both China and Japan, its use in the United States has just begun to gain popularity. With Danshen’s researched benefits on chronic disease, this powerful herbal medicine could be the answer to your improved health.

What is Danshen?

Danshen comes from the dried root of the Salvia Miltiorrhiza plant and is also known as red sage. Danshen is one of the most widely used Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM) and has a high safety profile for use.

This medicinal herb is known for benefitting cardiovascular diseases such as including1:

  • coronary heart disease
  • myocardial infarction (heart attack)
  • angina pectoris (chest pain) and atherosclerosis (plaque buildup)

The composition of Danshen continues to be researched due to its medicinal properties. This composition includes more than 30 lipophilic compounds and more than 50 hydrophilic compounds, all contributing to the unique cardiovascular protective benefits1.

Danshen works to thin the blood therefore preventing platelet and blood clotting. It also causes blood vessels to widen, thus improving circulation2.

The use of prescription Danshen, Dantonic®, is currently approved in 24 countries (not in the USA yet) for the treatment and prevention of chronic stable angina pectoris and other cardiovascular disease related conditions. However, this prescription is currently in the process of gaining FDA approval in the USA.

Studied Benefits:

  • A review of clinical trials using Danshen to treat angina reported that it may be better than isosorbide dinitrate for long-term management of angina3.
  • Danshen also appears to be effective in relieving angina caused by coronary artery spasms3,4.
  • Efficacy in treatment of myocardial infarction (MI) may be due to sedative, antioxidant, and antiplatelet effects, as well as by improved coronary microcirculation4.
  • Trials have demonstrated that Danshen prevents atherogenesis as well as cardiac injury and hypertrophy. In atherosclerosis, Danshen acts by inhibiting LDL (“bad” cholesterol) oxidation, monocyte adhesion to endothelium, smooth muscle cell migration and proliferation, macrophage cholesterol accumulation, proinflammatory cytokine expression and platelet aggregation. Danshen also has potential to stabilize atherosclerotic plaques5.
  • A study among elderly patients with hyperlipidemia showed decreased total cholesterol and LDL with Danshen3.

Where can I get Danshen?

You can find danshen in the following forms:

  • capsules
  • tincture
  • tea

NatureKue features a dietary supplement, CardioSupport, containing a proprietary blend of key ingredients including Danshen. CardioSupport works to support cardiovascular function, disrupt plaque inducing cholesterol, widen blood vessels, and reduce inflammation.

Potential Medication Interactions:

Warfarin (Coumadin): Danshen may cause your body to remove warfarin slower. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin might need to be changed.

Digoxin (Lanoxin): 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 without talking to your healthcare professional.

Main Takeaways:

Accumulating evidence suggests that Danshen and its components prevent vascular diseases, in particular, atherosclerosis and cardiac diseases, including myocardial infarction, myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury, arrhythmia, cardiac hypertrophy and cardiac fibrosis1. However, continued research supporting the use of Danshen is still needed.

NatureKue’s supplement, CardioSupport, contains this powerful herbal to promote cardiovascular health.

For your health and safety, talk with your healthcare provider for more information. Danshen may be a positive addition to your health and wellness.


  1. Li Z, Xu S, Liu P. Salvia miltiorrhizaBurge (Danshen): a golden herbal medicine in cardiovascular therapeutics. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2018;39(5):802-824. doi:10.1038/aps.2017.193
  2. Su X, Yao Z, Li S, Sun H. Synergism of Chinese Herbal Medicine: Illustrated by Danshen Compound. Evid-Based Complement Altern Med ECAM. 2016;2016:7279361. doi:10.1155/2016/7279361
  3. Cheng TO. Cardiovascular effects of Danshen. Int J Cardiol. 2007;121(1):9-22. doi:10.1016/j.ijcard.2007.01.004
  4. Zhou L, Zuo Z, Chow MSS. Danshen: an overview of its chemistry, pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, and clinical use. J Clin Pharmacol. 2005;45(12):1345-1359. doi:10.1177/0091270005282630
  5. Gao S, Liu Z, Li H, Little PJ, Liu P, Xu S. Cardiovascular actions and therapeutic potential of tanshinone IIA. Atherosclerosis. 2012;220(1):3-10. doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2011.06.041

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