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Dan Shen (Salvia Root): The Most Popular Chinese Herb For Circulation

There are over 300 herbs commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine. But only one of them can be crowned king of cardiovascular and circulatory support. And that herb is salvia root, or as it’s known in TCM: Dan Shen

Dan Shen is the chief active ingredient in several remedies for blood circulation and heart health. What makes salvia root—a plant in the mint family that’s also known by botanists as red sage—so highly prized in TCM?

For starters, over the centuries, it’s been the most popular TCM herb for blood-pressure and circulatory support.

And what’s exciting about Dan Shen is that its primary use for supporting circulation could soon one day be coming to a drug store near you. 

That’s because salvia root is the main ingredient in the eponymous TCM formula, Danshen Dripping Pills (DDP). DDP is the only TCM formula to pass phase II FDA drug trials. 

DDP is a household name in China. And if DDP passes phase III trials, it will be the first TCM formula to be passed by the FDA. Perhaps then, Dan Shen will be a household name in the west, too. 

How Does Dan Shen, aka Salvia Root for Circulation Work? 

According to TCM theory Dan Shen dispels blood stasis, invigorates the blood and unblocks the channels (meridians). Dan Shen is also noted for its ability to clear excess heat from the TCM Heart organ system. And by doing so, it may soothe irritability.

According to TCM theory, Dan Shen dispels blood stasis, invigorates the blood and unblocks the channels (meridians).

The Chinese Pharmacopoeia says that Dan Shen exerts a beneficial action by promoting blood circulation to remove blood stasis and assuage discomfort, clearing heart heat to relieve restlessness, and cooling blood. 

Dan Shen may also support blood sugar levels in individuals that already have a normal blood sugar level.

What Is Salvia Root Used For?

Any health concern that could use some invigoration of the blood and the removal of blood stasis/stagnation…

Dan Shen is also used for conditions that don’t have an obvious physical symptom but more of an emotional component. This includes restlessness, irritability, and occasional sleeplessness, all of which are characterized by excess heat (Yang) in the interior of the body. Salvia root helps clear this excess heat. 

TCM Formula For Blood Circulation & Cardiovascular Support

CardioVigor contains Dan Shen and the other two herbs in the legendary formula, Danshen Dripping Pills (Fu Fang Dan Shen Pian). Like salvia root, CardioVigor contains notoginseng, an adaptogenic herb. Adaptogenic herbs support bodily functions and may counteract the deleterious effects of stress. 

In addition to taking CardioVigor, you can support your circulatory and cardiovascular system by drinking Dan Shen hot instant tea.

Along with the third herb in the formula, Shu He Xiang (Styrax), CardioVigor is appropriate for the TCM pattern of Xiong Bi, which loosely translated means chest obstruction. This pattern is most often caused by phlegm obstruction or blood stasis, which prevents Qi from moving properly in the chest.  

Suggested Reading from the ActiveHerb Blog:

Cold Feet? These 3 Herbal Remedies Improve Blood Circulation

Heart Health in TCM: Beyond The Blood-Pumping Organ