Health Guide

Dan shen

What is it?

Dan Shen is a traditional Chinese herb used for supporting heart and liver function. It is also used for skin problems, like acne and boils.

Other names for Dan Shen include: Red Sage, Salvia Miltiorrhiza, and Radix Salvis Mitiorhiza.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have a history of depression, breast cancer, have pheochromocytoma, or ulcers
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease


Talk with your caregiver about how much Dan Shen you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking Dan Shen. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.

Drug and Food Interactions:

Do not take Dan Shen without talking to your doctor first if you are taking:

  • Blood thinning medicine (examples: warfarin (Coumadin(R)), clopidogrel (Plavix(R)), aspirin, enoxaparin (Lovenox(R)), dalteparin (Fragmin(R)))
  • Medicine to help you relax or sleep (examples: alprazolam (Xanax(R)), lorazepam (Ativan(R)), diazepam (Valium(R)))
  • Medicine used for pain, swelling, and certain stomach or intestinal problems (examples: aspirin, mesalamine (Asacol(R), Pentasa(R)), olsalazine (Dipentum(R)), salsalate (Disalcid(R)))


  • Before taking Dan Shen, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breast feeding

Side Effects:

Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.

  • Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest
  • Chest pain
  • Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • Itching
  • Upset stomach and loss of appetite


1. Izzat MB, Yim APC, El-Zufari H et al: A taste of Chinese medicine. Ann Thorac Surg 1998; 66:941-942.

2. Yu CM, Chan JCN, Sanderson JE et al: Chinese herbs and warfarin potentiation by danshen. J Intern Med 1997;241:337-339.

3. Lee CM, Wong HCN, Chui KY et al: Miltirone, a central benzodiazepine receptor partial agonist from a Chinese medicinal herb Salvia miltiorrhiza. Neurosci Lett 1991;127:237-241.

4. Chan TYK: Interaction between warfarin and danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza). Ann Pharmacother 2001; 35(4):501-504.

5. Bensky D, Gamble A & Kaptchuk T (eds): Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica, revised edition. Eastland Press Inc. Seattle, WA; 1993.

6. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R et al (eds): American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL; 1997.

7. Gupta D, Jalali M, Wells A et al: Drug-herb interactions: unexpected suppression of free Danshen concentrations by salicylate. J Clin Lab Anal. 2002;16(6):290-4.

8. Wang Z, Roberts JM, Grant PG et al: The effect of a medicinal Chinese herb on platelet function. Thromb Haemostas 1982; 48(3):301-306.

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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