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TCM Physicians Clinic


The Use of Danshen for Cardiovascular Health

Introducction:Danshen (Salvia mitiorriza) is one of the most used traditional medicine for the treatment of atherosclerosis-related disorders such as cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases in China, Japan, South Korea, and other countries. The demonstration of beneficial effects of Danshen (salvia mitiorrhiza) on ischemic diseases has beneficially impacted the management of angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, or stroke in China. Studies have shown that Danshen dilated coronary arteries, increased coronary blood flow, and scavenged free radicals in ischemic diseases, so that it reduced the cellular damage from ischemia and improved heart functions. Clinical trials also demonstrated that it is an effective medicine for angina pectoris, MI, and stroke. Danshen is available in the United States, but with some exceptions, conventional doctors in the West do not know about this amazing herb and its potential benefits for their patients. Perhaps thousands of patients could benefit from using this herbal remedy. 

Danshen is typically available in 5:1 concentrated extract powder (granules), in pills forms, and also in injections for intravenous or intramuscular administration. 

My clinical experience using this herbal remedies: Besides, coronary and cerebrovascular schemias, I have use Danshen effectively in patients with carotid occlusions and lower limbs claudication; this herb can also improve male erection and performance in persons with compromised peripheral blood circulation. Combined with Zhansha (Crataegus pinnatifida), Danshen is excellent for people presenting fatty liver and hypperlipemia.

Danshen Chemistry: Danshen (salvia miltiorrhiza) has tanshinones and related terpenoids.

Danshen Research: Fifteen tanshinone analogues isolated from the chloroform extract of Danshen roots (Salviae Miltiorrhizae Radix) by chromatographic procedures were tested for their cytotoxic activities against KB, Hela, Colo-205 and Hep-2 carcinoma cell lines. Several of them were effective at concentrations below 1 micrograms/ml concentrations.

Water soluble extracts of the herbal plant, Salvia miltiorrhiza (Danshen) exhibited potent effect against HIV-1 integrase activity in vitro and viral replication in vivo.

Danshen Interactions: Warfarin (Coumadin)? Danshen can affect hemostasis in several ways, including inhibition of platelet aggregation, interference with the extrinsic blood coagulation, antithrombin III-like activity, and promotion of fibrinolytic activity. Single-dose and steady-state studies in rats indicated that danshen increased the absorption rate constants, AUCs, maximum concentrations, and elimination half-lives, but decreased the clearances and apparent volume of distribution of both R- and S-warfarin. Danshen can increase the antiguagulation effects of warfarin and other anticuagulating drugs, therefore, it should not be used indiscriminately. Please seek the advise of a health care provider with knowledge in herbal medicine before using any herbal product.

Danshen Research Update: Immunomodulatory effects of Yun Zhi and Danshen capsules in health subjects-a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Wong CK. The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong. Int Immunopharmacol, 2004 Feb;4(2):201-11.

Immunostimulating polysaccharides extracted from the Chinese medicinal plant Yun Zhi (Coriolus versicolor) have been found to enhance various immunological functions, and Danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza) to show beneficial effects on the circulatory system. In the present clinical study, we investigated if regular consumption of Yun Zhi and Danshen capsules could improve cellular immunity in healthy subjects. One hundred healthy subjects were recruited to take Yun Zhi (50 mg/kg body weight) plus Danshen (20 mg/kg body weight) or placebo capsules daily for four successive months and, after a 2-month wash-out period, crossover to take placebo or Yun Zhi plus Danshen capsules for four successive months. Flow cytometry was used to assess the lymphocyte subtypes and concentration of T helper (Th) cell cytokines in culture supernatant. Gene expression of cytokines and cytokine receptors of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) was analyzed by cDNA expression array. Results showed that regular oral consumption of Yun Zhi-Danshen capsules could significantly elevate PBMC gene expression of interleukin (IL)-2 receptor, increase the percentage and absolute counts of T helper cell and ratio of CD4(+) (T helper)/CD8(+) (T suppressor and cytotoxic T) cell, and significantly enhance the ex vivo production of typical Th1 cytokine interferon-gamma from PBMC activated by phytohemagglutinin and lipopolysaccharide (all p<0.005). Such consumption had no adverse effects on liver and renal functions, and the biochemical bone profile. Therefore, regular consumption of Yun Zhi and Danshen could be beneficial for immunological functions by potential enhancement of cell-mediated immunity in healthy subjects without any adverse effects. 

Danshen can be combined with Shanzha for the treatment of cardiovascular illnesses.

Chinese Name: Shanzha 
Botanical Name:  Crataegus pinnatifida fruits. 
Pharmaceutical Graded, 5:1 concentrated extract powder (granules) for oral administration.

Properties: Sour, sweet and slightly warm
Meridians: Spleen, stomach and liver

1. Strengthens the stomach to improve digestive functions.
2. Promotes blood circulation to maintain a normal metabolism.
3. Relieves diarrhea.
4. Lowers blood pressure.
5. Dissolves cholesterol deposits in lining of blood vessels.
6. Eliminates food retention

Indications & Combinations: Food retention (specially fatty foods) accompanied by abdominal and epigastric distension, pain and diarrhea, postpartum abdominal pain and lochia due to blood stagnation. Shanzha concentrated extractum is used together with other Chinese herbs in many medicinal formulas to improve blood circulation and relieve pain.

Our treatment protocol with Danshen injectable is the best way to optimize the benefits from this herbal remedy.  Contact

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