Cochrane LibraryDanshenHeart Disease

Danshen to treat myocardial infarction

Danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza) is used in China to treat several diseases, including acute heart attacks.

The latest Cochrane Review is unimpressed.

A literature search yielded 6 studies of 2368 patients for review.

  • Only one study was judged to be a randomized clinical trial
  • It showed no statistically significant difference in reduction of total mortality.
  • By comparison, a quasi-randomized clinical trial reported reduced total mortality.
  • Pooling the results yielded an approximate halving of mortality in those patients treated with danshen preparations plus usual care compared with usual care alone.

The bottom line?
For the record, randomized clinical trials are the preferred way to evaluate the value of one treatment by randomly assigning participants to it or another treatment or placebo. This design increases (but does not guarantee) the chances for an unbiased comparison.

The authors concluded, “The evidence to support use of danshen preparations is too weak to make any judgment about its effects.”

A similar story for danshen to treat stroke is here.

4/17/08 20:59 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.