This website discusses the benefits and side effects of various supplements, herbs and drug products, including danshen. Different people may experience different side effects and benefits of a product. Danshen has not been scientific studied thoroughly, you must consult with your doctor before use it. You are encouraged to report adverse side effects to FDA, its website is www.fda.gov., or report the adverse side effects to the manufacturer. Reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document and the information provided herein is believed to be accurate. The information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Dan Shen and Dan Shen Pian Salvia miltiorrhiza (丹參; dānshēn), also known as red sage, Chinese sage, tan shen, or dan shen, is a perennial plant, native to China and Japan. People use the danshen root to make medicine. Danshen benefits may be many, danshen has been used for treating diabetes, chronic renal failure, heart conditions and strokes. Danshen is also used for treating menstrual disorders, chronic liver disease, rapid heartbeat, tight chest, acne, psoriasis and eczema.
Compound Tablet of Scarlet Root (Fu Fang Dan Shen Pian) 50 Tablets X 10 / Fu Fang Dan Shen Pian (Salvia Miltiorrhiza) -100 Tablets (Compound Chinese Medicine Formula for Circulation Improvement) According to online advertisement, Dan Shan Pian is a formula for dispersing pain in the heart and blood vessels due to blood stagnation. One online advertisement claims Dan Shan Plan can treats angina pectoris with pain radiating down the left arm, heart palpitations, and chest pains, and it reduces blood cholesterol and lipids. The AD describes Dan Shan Pian as a medicine, while it is not listed in FDA orange book. FDA Orange Book lists out approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. (Search on October 9, 2011) Further, according to the AD Dan Shen Pian contains scarlet root, Notoginseng root, Lovage root, Starch, and cochineal extract. According to another online advertisement, Dan Shan Plan is in the form of coated tablet, and it is manufactured by Shanghai Chinese Herbal Works, China. The AD claims the original formula for this preparation came from a Ming Dynasty herbal text. In this AD, the terminology "indications" even appear in the text, thought it says, "These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or disorder." There are different products with the name of Fu Fang Dan Shen Pian, their price range is huge.
There is also a popular product of Dan Shen formula - An Shen Bu Xin Wan (Pian). An Shen Bu Xin Wan contains Radix Salviae Miltiorrhlzae (dan shen), Fructus Schisandrae (wu wei zi), Rhizoma Acori Tatarinowii (shi chang pu), Concha Margaritifera Usta (zhen zhu mu), Caulis Polygoni Multl Florl (shou wu teng), Cortex Albiziae (he huan pi), Se Men Cuscutae (tu si zi), Herba Ecliptae (mo han lian), Fructus Ligustri Lucidi (nu zhen zi) and Radix Rehmanniae (shou di huang). _________________________________________________________________________________________
Dan shen Benefits Here is a highlight of Dan Shen benefits based on recent research findings. The preparation and formula of those Dan Shen extracts are obviously different from Dan Shen Pain, thus, it is unclear if Dan Shen Pain may have similar biological benefits as those found in the studies.
Dan Shen Benefits - Cardiovascular Protection Animal studies have suggested that Dan Shen may have benefits of blood pressure lowering; anti-fibrinolytic activities and inhibitory effect of platelet aggregation [1,2] DanShen aqueous extract, and its ingredients - danshensu, tanshinone, dihydrotanshinone and salvianolic acid B are found to have vasorelaxant effects. [7-10]
Dan Shen Benefits - Diabetes Most of the studies were done with animal models. Dan Shen may have benefits on diabetes, but clinical studies are needed to prove this claim. A recent study demonstrated the effect of Dan Shen on diabetic nephropathy in an rat model. High levels of 24-h urinary protein excretion as well as some other signs were reduced after a treatment of danshen (500 mg/kg) for 8 weeks. [A14]
Dan Shen Benefits - Metabolic Syndrome A mixture of Gynostemma pentaphyllum, Coptis chinensis and danshen prevented weight gain with decreased visceral fat in rats suffered from metabolic syndrome. Further this Dan Shen mixture significantly reduced plasma triacylglycerols (triglycerides), and cholesterol. [A15]
Dan Shen Benefits - Ulcer Dan Shen decoction was found to accelerate the healing of ulcer induced by acetic acid, increased the content of mucus and inhibited the formation of gastric ulcer in a study of mice. 
Dan Shen Benefits - Lipid Profiles and Osteoporosis Zhang ZP from Guangdong Medical College found that Dan Shen root compounds increased HDL-cholesterol and partially prevent the occurrence of osteoporosis in mice suffered from hyperlipemia-induced osteoporosis. 
Dan Shen Benefits - Cancers Dan Shen root extracts probably may have benefits on people suffered from certain cancers. Lots of in-vitro studies are supporting this beneficial claim. [A7-A13] Dan Shen was also found to strongly inhibit the proliferation of both breast cancer cells MCF-7 vec cells and MCF-7 HER2 cells. MCF-7 HER2 cells is related to the overexpression of HER2. HER2 is a receptor tyrosine kinase, and is involved in signal transduction pathways leading to tumor cell proliferation. And, MCF-7 HER2 cells were more resistant to the Dan Shen-induced inhibition of Akt phosphorylation and p27 up-regulation. 
Please, note that most of these studies are done with pure chemicals, instead of Dan Shen whole plant. It is not clear if a commercially-available Dan Shen supplements have the benefits of anti-cancer.
Anti-viral activities A study from Chang Gung University suggests a Dan Shen extract may be used as anti-enterovirus 71 agent. 
Dan Shen Side Effects and Safety Dan Shen may lead to side effects such as itching, upset stomach, reduced appetite, drowsiness, dizziness, and thrombocytopenia. For details, please, review: Danshen _______________________________________________________________________________________
Reference  Kang DG, et al. Anti-hypertensive effect of water extract of danshen on renovascular hypertension through inhibition of the renin angiotensin system. Am J Chin Med. 2002;30(1):87-93. Zou ZW, et al. Antithrombotic and antiplatelet effects of rosmarinic acid, a water- soluble component isolated from radix Salviae miltiorrhizae (danshen) Yao Xue Xue Bao. 1993;28(4):241-5.  Liu L, Zhang HQ. Effects of Danshen Decoction on experimental gastric ulcer in rats and mice, Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao. 2005 Jan;3(1):35-8.  Lam FF, et al. Salvianolic acid B, an aqueous component of danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza), relaxes rat coronary artery by inhibition of calcium channels. Eur J Pharmacol. 2006 Dec 28;553(1-3):240-5. Epub 2006 Sep 23.  Kim DD, et al. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase is a molecular vascular target for the Chinese herb Danshen in hypertension. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2007 May;292(5):H2131-7. Epub 2006 Dec 15.  Lam FF, et al. Relaxant effects of danshen aqueous extract and its constituent danshensu on rat coronary artery are mediated by inhibition of calcium channels. Vascul Pharmacol. 2007 Apr;46(4):271-7. Epub 2006 Nov 18.  Lam FF, et al. Dihydrotanshinone, a lipophilic component of Salvia miltiorrhiza (danshen), relaxes rat coronary artery by inhibition of calcium channels. J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Sep 26;119(2):318-21. Epub 2008 Jul 18.  Zhang ZP, et al. Effect of Danshen root compound on blood lipid and bone biomechanics in mice with hyperlipemia-induced osteoporosis Nan Fang Yi Ke Da Xue Xue Bao. 2008 Aug;28(9):1550-3.  Wu BW, et al. Antiviral effects of Salvia miltiorrhiza (Danshen) against enterovirus 71. Am J Chin Med. 2007;35(1):153-68.  Yang W, et al, Danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza) extract inhibits proliferation of breast cancer cells via modulation of Akt activity and p27 level.Phytother Res. 2010 Feb;24(2):198-204. [A5] Xu G. et al, Danshen extracts decrease blood C reactive protein and prevent ischemic stroke recurrence: a controlled pilot study. Phytother Res. 2009 Dec;23(12):1721-5. [A6] Tam WY, et al The efficacy and tolerability of adjunctive alternative herbal medicine (Salvia miltiorrhiza and Pueraria lobata) on vascular function and structure in coronary patients. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Apr;15(4):415-21. [A7] Dai Zk et al, Tanshinone IIA activates calcium-dependent apoptosis signaling pathway in human hepatoma cells. J Nat Med. 2011 Aug 19. [A8] Kim JH, et al, Cryptotanshinone enhances TNF-α-induced apoptosis in chronic myeloid leukemia KBM-5 cells. Apoptosis. 2011 Jul;16(7):696-707. [A9] Wang J et al, Identification, structural properties and chelating capacity of miltipolone as a broad-spectrum inhibitor to cancer cells. Eur J Med Chem. 2011 Apr;46(4):1117-21. [A10] Chuang MT et al, 15,16- Dihydrotanshinone I, a Compound of Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge, Induces Apoptosis through Inducing Endoplasmic Reticular Stress in Human Prostate Carcinoma Cells. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:865435. [A10] Chuang MT et al, 15,16- Dihydrotanshinone I, a Compound of Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge, Induces Apoptosis through Inducing Endoplasmic Reticular Stress in Human Prostate Carcinoma Cells. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:865435. [A11] Zhao Y et al, Salvianolic Acid B, a potential chemopreventive agent, for head and neck squamous cell cancer. J Oncol. 2011;2011:534548. [A12] Gong Y, et al, Bioactive tanshinones in Salvia miltiorrhiza inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells in vitro and in mice. Int J Cancer. 2011 Sep 1;129(5):1042- 52. [A13] Chen L, et al, Cryptotanshinone has diverse effects on cell cycle events in melanoma cell lines with different metastatic capacity. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2011 Jul;68(1):17-27. [A14] Lee SH et al, The protective effect of Salvia miltiorrhiza in an animal model of early experimentally induced diabetic nephropathy. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Aug 11. [A15] Tan Y et al, Chinese herbal extracts (SK0506) as a potential candidate for the therapy of the metabolic syndrome. Clin Sci (Lond). 2011 Apr;120(7):297-305.