Salvia Root (Radix Salviae miltiorrhizae; Dan Shen)


TCM Herbal Story


Salvia Root (Radix Salviae miltiorrhizae; Dan Shen)



Long time ago, there was a fishing village in the eastern coast of the East Sea that resides a bully, and one day his wife got terribly sick.  In order to find a cure for his wife, he began to seek for medical advises from numerous physicians and also spent a lot of money, but no significant improvement was noted.


When all hopes were lost, the bully heard a rumor about a magical herb that would be able to cure his wife.  The herb had purple flower and root, and grew in an anonymous island in the East Sea.  However, the island was known as “Hell’s Gate”, for the rocks, strong wind, waves, and rapid currents that stood on its path, which made it extremely difficult for anybody to land.


After a lot of thinking, the bully thought of a strong young swimmer named Ming, also known as “Little Dragon” on sea, that would be able to retrieve the herb for him.  Therefore, the bully requested Ming to fulfill the task but got rejected.  Furious by the rejection, the bully threatened him to bring back the herb in 5 days, or he would cut off the food supply and left his family starve to death.


Although Ming was raged by the treat, he decided not to fight back but follow the order, since the herb would also be the cure for his mother’s illness.  As exchange, he asked the bully to have someone to take care of his mother during his absence and prepare the boat, food, and money for the journey.


Ming set for sail on the next day, with his expertise in sailing and bravery, he successfully landed on the island after overcoming the obstacles in the sea.  Once he landed, he began to search for the herb and hid the herb in the cabinet.  He also picked up some weeds for the bully.


Ming managed to return to the village on time and the weeds were delivered to the bully immediately.  As expected, no improvements on the sickness were seen the bully’s wife after taking the weeds.  Instead, her conditions worsened and eventually took her life.  On the other hand, Ming’s mother recovered quickly after taking the herb.


Ming shared the remaining herb with the other villagers for future usage, and left the village with his mother to escape from any revenge from the bully.


Salvia Root is the root of Salvia miltiorrhiza Bge.  Its properties are bitter and slightly cold.  It enters through the heart, pericardium, and liver.



Actions & Indications:

  • Invigorates the blood and breaks up blood stasis
  • Clears heat and soothes irritability


Caution & Contradiction

  • Use with caution in cases without blood stasis
  • According to traditional texts, this herb is incompatible with Rhizoma et Radix Veratri (Li Lu)


The original article is from Brion Research Institute, translated by Sun Ten Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

For Chinese/original version, please go to:

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