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dan-shen (generic name)

treats Dialysis, Stroke, Tinnitus, Syncope, Asthmatic bronchitis, Diabetic complications, Kidney disease, Chronic prostatitis, Glaucoma, High c...
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Interactions with Drugs

Danshen may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that also increase the risk of bleeding. This herb is reported to inhibit platelet aggregation and to cause over-anticoagulation (excessive "blood-thinning" effects) in patients taking the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin®). Examples of drugs that increase the risk of bleeding include aspirin, anticoagulants such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, anti-platelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).

In theory, the risk of side effects or toxicity from digoxin (Lanoxin®) may be increased if taken with danshen. In addition, danshen may cause laboratory measurements of digoxin blood levels to be inaccurate (too high or too low).

Danshen may result in hypotension (dangerously low blood pressure) if taken with drugs that also lower blood pressure, such as ACE-inhibitors like captopril (Capoten®) or lisinopril (Prinivil®) and beta-blockers like atenolol (Tenormin®) or propranolol (Inderal®). In addition, the use of danshen with beta-blockers may cause bradycardia (dangerously slow heart rate).

In theory, a chemical found in danshen called miltirone may increase sleepiness or other side effects associated with some drugs taken for anxiety or insomnia, such as lorazepam (Ativan®), alprazolam (Xanax®), and diazepam (Valium®), or alcohol. In addition, based on animal studies, danshen may affect the absorption of alcohol into the blood.

Antibiotics, antilipemic agents, antineoplastic agents, antioxidants, antivirals, drugs broken down by the liver, immunosuppressants, nitrates, and steroids may interact with danshen.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

Danshen may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto.

In theory, danshen may add to the effects of other herbs, such as hawthorn, with potential cardiac glycoside properties, potentially resulting in slow heart rate or toxicity.

Danshen should be used cautiously with herbs/supplements that may also lower blood pressure.

In theory, a chemical found in danshen called miltirone can increase the amount of drowsiness that may be caused by other herbs or supplements.

Antibacterials, anti-inflammatory herbs, antilipemics, antineoplastics, antioxidants, antivirals, steroids, astragalus, chronotropic herbs, herbs and supplements broken down by the liver, immunosuppressants, Gexia zhuyu decoction, licorice, Ligusticum chuanxiong, Ligustrum lucidum, Polyporus, Serissa, Sophora subprostrata, and Yun zhi (Coriolus mushroom) may interact with danshen.


This information is based on a professional level monograph edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration ( Ethan Basch, MD (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center); Dawn Costa, BA, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Nicole Giese, MS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Jenna Hollenstein, MS, RD (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Brooke Sweeney, PharmD (Massachusetts College of Pharmacy); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Mamta Vora, PharmD (Northeastern University); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration).

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