Danshen: a phytochemical and pharmacological overview

Chin J Nat Med. 2019 Jan;17(1):59-80. doi: 10.1016/S1875-5364(19)30010-X.


Danshen, the dried root or rhizome of Salvia miltiorrhiza Bge., is a traditional and folk medicine in Asian countries, especially in China and Japan. In this review, we summarized the recent researches of Danshen in traditional uses and preparations, chemical constituents, pharmacological activities and side effects. A total of 201 compounds from Danshen have been reported, including lipophilic diterpenoids, water-soluble phenolic acids, and other constituents, which have showed various pharmacological activities, such as anti-inflammation, anti-oxidation, anti-tumor, anti-atherogenesis, and anti-diabetes. This article intends to provide novel insight information for further development of Danshen, which could be of great value to its improvement of utilization.

Keywords: Chemical constituents; Danshen; Pharmacological activities; Quality control; Traditional uses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diterpenes / chemistry
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / chemistry*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / isolation & purification
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use
  • Hydroxybenzoates / chemistry
  • Molecular Structure
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry
  • Phytochemicals / chemistry*
  • Phytochemicals / isolation & purification
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology*
  • Phytochemicals / therapeutic use
  • Plant Roots / chemistry
  • Quality Control
  • Salvia miltiorrhiza / chemistry*


  • Diterpenes
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Hydroxybenzoates
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Phytochemicals
  • phenolic acid