Salvia miltiorrhiza: Traditional medicinal uses, chemistry, and pharmacology

Chin J Nat Med. 2015 Mar;13(3):163-82. doi: 10.1016/S1875-5364(15)30002-9.


Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge (SM) is a very popular medicinal plant that has been extensively applied for many years to treat various diseases, especially coronary heart diseases and cerebrovascular diseases, either alone or in combination with other Chinese plant-based medicines. Although a large number of studies on SM have been performed, they are scattered across a variety of publications. The present review is an up-to-date summary of the published scientific information about the traditional uses, chemical constituents, pharmacological effects, side effects, and drug interactions with SM, in order to lay the foundation for further investigations and better utilization of SM. SM contains diverse chemical components including diterpenoid quinones, hydrophilic phenolic acids, and essential oils. Many pharmacological studies have been done on SM during the last 30 years, focusing on the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular effects, and the antioxidative, neuroprotective, antifibrotic, anti-inflammatory, and antineoplastic activities. The research results strongly support the notion that SM has beneficial therapeutic properties and has a potential of being an effective adaptogenic remedy.

Keywords: Antitumor; Cardiovascular diseases; Danshen; Review; Side effect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional
  • Salvia miltiorrhiza / chemistry*


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal