Red sage roots (Dan Shen) Sandalwood (Tan Xiang) Amomum fruits (Sha Ren)

Chinese: 丹参饮

Pinyin: Dān Shēn Yǐn

Other names: Salvia Drink

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Formula category: Formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation

Conditions for which it may be prescribed: HepatitisPancreatitisCholecystitis and five other conditions

  1. Invigorates the Blood and removes Blood Stagnation
  2. Promote Qi movement
  3. Relieves pain

Contraindications: Contraindicated during pregnancy and in cases with bleeding diathesis or any... Contraindicated during pregnancy and in cases with bleeding diathesis or any active hemorrhagic disorder. see more

Source date: 1801 AD

Source book: Compendium of Songs on Modern Formulas

Dan Shen Yin is a 3-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Red Sage Roots (Dan Shen) as a principal ingredient.

Invented in 1801 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation. Its main actions are: 1) invigorates the Blood and removes Blood Stagnation and 2) promote Qi movement .

In Chinese Medicine health conditions are thought to arise due to "disharmonies" in the body as a system. These disharmonies are called "patterns" and the very purpose of herbal formulas is to fight them in order to restore the body's harmony.

In this case Dan Shen Yin is used by TCM practitioners to fight patterns like Blood Stagnation or Qi And Blood Stagnation. From a Western Medicine standpoint, such patterns can give rise to a range of conditions such as angina pectoris, hepatitis or pancreatitis for instance.

On this page, after a detailed description of each of the three ingredients in Dan Shen Yin, we review the patterns and conditions that Dan Shen Yin helps treat.

The three ingredients in Dan Shen Yin

Dan Shen is a king ingredient in Dan Shen Yin. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.

1. Red Sage Roots (Dan Shen)

Part used: Dried root and rhizome

Nature: Cool

Taste(s): Bitter

Meridian affinity: HeartLiver

Category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

Dan Shen bitter and slightly cold. It can be used in a large dosage without injuring the Qi and Blood. It serves as the key herb to invigorate the Blood, transform Blood Stagnation, and alleviate pain.

Learn more about Red Sage Roots (Dan Shen)

Tan Xiang is a deputy ingredient in Dan Shen Yin. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.

2. Sandalwood (Tan Xiang)

Part used: The wood

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: SpleenStomachHeartLung

Category: Herbs that regulate Qi

In general Tan Xiang's main actions are as follows: "Clears Qi Stagnant in the chest and abdomen. "

In the context of Dan Shen Yin, it is used because it warms the Middle Burner and regulates the Qi.

Learn more about Sandalwood (Tan Xiang)

Sha Ren is an assistant ingredient in Dan Shen Yin. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

3. Amomum Fruits (Sha Ren)

Part used: Dried ripe fruit

Nature: Warm

Taste(s): Pungent

Meridian affinity: KidneySpleenStomach

Category: Aromatic herbs that transform Dampness

Sha Ren promotes the Qi movement, relaxes the Middle Burner, disperses the stifling sensation of constraint in the chest, and relieves pain.

Learn more about Amomum Fruits (Sha Ren)

Conditions and patterns for which Dan Shen Yin may be prescribed

It's important to remember that herbal formulas are meant to treat patterns, not "diseases" as understood in Western Medicine. According to Chinese Medicine patterns, which are disruptions to the body as a system, are the underlying root cause for diseases and conditions.

As such Dan Shen Yin is used by TCM practitioners to treat two different patterns which we describe below.

But before we delve into these patterns here is an overview of the Western conditions they're commonly associated with:

Angina pectoris Hepatitis Pancreatitis Cholecystitis Chronic gastritis Peptic ulcers Primary dysmenorrhea Secondary dysmenorrhea

Again it wouldn't be correct to say "Dan Shen Yin treats angina pectoris" for instance. Rather, Dan Shen Yin is used to treat patterns that are sometimes the root cause behind angina pectoris.

Now let's look at the two patterns commonly treated with Dan Shen Yin.

Blood (Xue) is one of Chinese Medicine's vital subtances. Learn more about Blood in Chinese Medicine

Blood Stagnation

Dan Shen Yin is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Blood Stagnation. This pattern leads to symptoms such as dark face, purple lips, boring fixed stabbing pain and abdominal masses. Patients with Blood Stagnation typically exhibit choppy (Se), firm (Lao) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as Purple tongue .

Blood Stagnation - also often referred to as "Blood Stasis" - is where the Blood flow is heavily restricted in all or parts of the body. It is one of the most important diagnostic conditions in Chinese Medicine because it is frequently the cause of intractable pain syndromes anywhere in the... read more about Blood Stagnation

Qi is one of Chinese Medicine's vital subtances. Learn more about Qi in Chinese Medicine

Qi And Blood Stagnation

Dan Shen Yin is sometimes prescribed by TCM practitioners to treat Qi And Blood Stagnation. This pattern leads to symptoms such as chest fullness, chest pain, boring fixed stabbing pain and dark face. Patients with Qi And Blood Stagnation typically exhibit choppy (Se), deep (Chen) or fine (Xi) pulses.

The typical symptoms of Qi stagnation are distension, oppression and swelling. There are also emotional issues like mood swing, depression or irritability. However, the Blood Stagnation is more on pains and purple color manifestation on skin, face, lips and nails. 

Qi Stagnation can cause the... read more about Qi And Blood Stagnation

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