By Raffi Kojian -
http://Gardenology.org, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Chinese red sage, red root sage, kinesisk salvie, Dan Shen,
chi dan shen, zue dan shen (Chinese); tanjin (Japanese;
A hardy perennial growing
to 32 inches with toothed, oval leaves and clusters of
Native to China, red sage is now cultivated in
and Inner Mongolia.
it requires moist sandy soil and is propagated by root
division in spring.
The root is harvested from
late autumn through to early spring.
The English translation of
dan shen is “cinnabar root”
tanshinones I, IIa, IIb,
cryptotanshinone, isotanshinone I, isotanshinone
II, isocryptotanshinone, miltirone, tanshinol I,
tanshinol II, methyl tanshinonate, hydrozytanshinone IIb,
salviol, protocatechuic aldehyde, protocatechuic acid,
Vitamin E, Volatile oil
circulatory tonic, dilates the blood vessels, sedative,
bitter, slightly cold
heart, pericardium, liver
There has been extensive
research into dan shen in
China, and the tanshinones
have been shown to have a profound effect on the coronary
circulation, reducing the symptoms of angina and improving
The whole herb (rather
than isolated constituents) has been used in
to assist patients who are recovering from a heart attack,
and it appears to support heart function at this critical
Clinical trials in
China, however, have shown
that dan shen is most effective when taken as a preventive,
rather than as a a remedy after the heart attack has taken
Dan shen is known to
inhibit the action of tubercle bacillus.
Dan shen has been
esteemed by the Chinese for thousands of years as a
Life hawthorn, it is a
safe effective remedy for many circulatory problems.
It particularly benefits
the coronary circulation, opening up the arteries and
improving blood flow to the heart, and is therefore helpful
in treating coronary heart disease.
Although it does not lower
blood pressure, dan shen relaxes the blood vessels and
improves circulation throughout the body.
Dan shen is used
traditionally to treat conditions caused by blood
stagnation, primarily those affecting the lower abdomen,
such as absent or painful menstrual periods and fibroids.
The sedative action of dan
shen helps calm the nerves, and it is therefore helpful in
treating angina, a condition made worse by anxiety and
Palpitations, insomnia and
irritability also benefit from dan shen’s sedative
Dan shen is a soothing
remedy that is used to remove “excess heat,” particularly in
the heart and liver.
It can also alleviate
inflammatory skin problems, such as abscesses, boils, and
Research: In one series of
323 patients given a preparation of dan shen for 1-9 months,
there was marked clinical improvement in 20.3% and
improvement in 62% of the cases.
Results were best in cases
of coronary artery disease without a history of myocardial
In another clinical series
of more than 300 patients with angina pectoris, a
combination of dan shen and jiang xiang, given either
intramuscularly or intravenously, improved the symptoms in
approximately 82% and the ECGs in 50% of the cases.
Tinctures of dan
shen were the principal treatment in 34 cases of
Of these, 15 were
clinically cured and nine showed significant improvement.
There was a low incidence
of pruritus, stomach pain, and reduced appetite.
studies, injections of dan shen have lowered the serum
cholesterol levels in some patients.
Preparations of dan shen
had a significant sedative effect on white mice and
prolonged the hypnotic effect of barbiturates.
Injection of decoctions of
dan shen at doses of 0.5g/kg had a hypoglycemic effect
lasting as long as five hours.
Its product, Fufang
Danshen Diwan, extracting curative ingredients mainly from
the herbal plant, is now available in 16 African countries
and becomes the first Chinese herbal medicine approved by
the Food and Drug Administration for clinical tests in the
Tincture is used to treat
angina and other circulatory problems
Decoction for painful menstrual
periods, take ½ cup up to 3 times a day
To mobilize blood and disperse effusion, to sedate, to drain
pus, to stop pain
Invigorates the blood and
breaks up blood stasis: for blood stasis disorders in the
lower abdomen such as dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, palpable
masses, lochioschesis, and pain due to blood stasis.
It is also used for blood
stasis obstructing the chest with chest or epigastric pain,
as well as soreness in the ribs or hypochondria due to
constrained Liver qi with blood stasis.
Clears heat and soothes
irritability: especially useful for restlessness,
irritability, palpitations, and insomnia due to heat
entering the nutritive level.
It can also be used in
patterns of Heart and Kidney yin deficiency.
Promotes circulation; dissolves clots; refrigerant to blood;
tonic to blood; sedative
Combinations: With Dang
quai (Angelica sinensis)
for irregular menstruation and lochioschesis
With ru xiang (Boswellia
carterii) for pain and
swelling due to blood stasisWith tan xiang (Santalum
album) and sha ren (Amomum
villosum) for pain in the
chest, epigastrium, and abdomen due to stagnant qi and blood
With mu dan pi (Paeonia
suffruticosa) and sheng di
huang (Rehmannia glutinosa)
for high fever, irritability, subcutaneous bleeding,
spitting of blood, and nosebleed associated with heat
injuring the nutritive level in a warm-febrile disease
With suan zao ren (Ziziphus
spinosa) and bai zi ren (Biota
palpitations and insomnia due to Heart blood deficiency.
With Gua lou (Trichonsanthes
and chuan shan jia (anteater scales) for breast abscess and
other sores and swellings of the skin
with caution in cases without blood stasis.
Incompatible with li lu (Veratrum
Use with caution in those taking
anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs, for those with a
When used alone or in
treating vasculitis, up to 60g may be prescribed.
Frying in wine enhances
its blood-invigorating properties.
Large doses should not be
prescribed for patients with a bleeding diathesis.
Good quality is coarse and
purplish black inside with small white spots.
Shih hsiao tang (laughter
decoction for peptic ulcers)
10 g cattail, 12 g Mastic tree,
12 g Balsamodendron myrrha,
12 g Salvia miltiorhiza,
15 g Angelica sinensis,
10 g Corydalis ambigua,
6 g Gynura pinnatifida
two doses, on an empty stomach; powder: infusion; 4 g in hot
water three times daily, on an empty stomach
Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia
Dan Bensky & Andrew Gamble, Eastland Press, 1993; ISBN:
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal
A Manual of Chinese Herbal
Warner J. W. Fan, MD, Shambhala, 1996, ISBN: 1-57062-147-1
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