Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge (SM) is a perennial herbal plant that usually grows on sunny slopes, by riversides, and on canal banks or edges of forests. It is normally 30-100 cm tall, villous, with purple flowers on the terminal or auxiliary spike (Fig. 1a). The root of SM is forked, brick-red, slender, wrinkled, with a solid and almost brittle texture (Fig. 1b). It is about 10-20 cm long and 0.3-1 cm in diameter. The part of SM used for medication is its dried root, which has a bitter and astringent taste (1).

SM, referred to as Dan Shen in traditional Chinese medicine, as an ingredient of certain medical prescriptions, has been widely used in China for the treatment of various kinds of diseases for centuries. It has been documented that the crude aqueous extract of SM has multiple pharmacological actions, for instance, promoting microcirculation, antiplatelet aggregation, and thrombosis formation, and sedative, tranquilizing, anticarbuncular, and analgesic actions (2). The decoction and injection made from SM exhibit some therapeutic effects on cardiac and cerebral ischemia as well as on liver

Figure 1 (a) Plant of Salvia miltiorrhiza. (b) Dried root, used for medication.

diseases, including chronic hepatitis and liver fibrosis. SM has also been used for other disorders, such as irregular menstruation, dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, neurasthenia, irratability, and insomnia (2).

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