Danshensu is the major marker for the antioxidant and vasorelaxation effects of Danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza) water-extracts produced by different heat water-extractions

Phytomedicine. 2012 Nov 15;19(14):1263-9. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2012.08.011. Epub 2012 Sep 29.


Some of the major components of Danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza), a widely used Chinese herbal medicine rich in phenolic acids, are thermosensitive and may degrade to other phenolic acids during extractions with heating. The chemical profiles of Danshen water-extract may vary with different heat water extraction at different temperatures, affecting the composition and bioactivity of the extracts. In this study, six water-extracts of Danshen obtained from heat reflux water extraction and microwave-assisted extraction with water (MAE-W) at different temperatures were tested for their composition and pharmacological effects. Among these extracts, the third-round MAE-W (100°C) extract had the highest phenolic acids and tanshinones contents, with the strongest antioxidant activity in 2,2-diphenyl-1-(2,4,6-trinitrophenyl) hydrazyl (DPPH) assay and ferric reducing/antioxidant potential (FRAP) assay. This extract also showed the strongest inhibitory effects on 2,2'-azobis-2-amidinopropane (AAPH)-induced hemolysis in human red blood cells, hydrogen peroxide-induced apoptosis in rat heart H9c2 cells and the highest relaxation effects on rat basilar artery. The antioxidant effects of Danshen water-extracts linearly correlated to their relaxation effects (r=0.895-0.977). Through multiple linear regression analysis, danshensu was found to be the most significant marker in the antioxidant and vasodilation effects of Danshen water-extract, while tanshinone IIA as the marker on hydrogen peroxide-induced apoptosis in rat heart H9c2 cells. Danshensu is, therefore, a useful marker for the quality control of Danshen water-extracts in antioxidant and vasodilation, while tanshinone IIA for anti-apoptotic potential of different extracts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abietanes / analysis
  • Abietanes / pharmacology
  • Amidines / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Basilar Artery / drug effects
  • Biphenyl Compounds / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / chemistry
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Erythrocytes / drug effects
  • Ferric Compounds / metabolism
  • Heart / drug effects
  • Hemolysis / drug effects
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Lactates / analysis
  • Lactates / pharmacology*
  • Phenols / analysis
  • Picrates / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Salvia miltiorrhiza / chemistry*
  • Vasodilation / drug effects*
  • Vasodilator Agents / analysis
  • Vasodilator Agents / pharmacology*


  • Abietanes
  • Amidines
  • Antioxidants
  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Ferric Compounds
  • Lactates
  • Phenols
  • Picrates
  • Vasodilator Agents
  • tanshinone
  • 3,4-dihydroxyphenyllactic acid
  • 2,2'-azobis(2-amidinopropane)
  • dan-shen root extract
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl