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J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Apr;15(4):415-21. doi: 10.1089/acm.2008.0400.

The efficacy and tolerability of adjunctive alternative herbal medicine (Salvia miltiorrhiza and Pueraria lobata) on vascular function and structure in coronary patients.

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Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.



Danshen and gegen (D&G) have long been used in treatment of angina and other cardiac symptoms in Chinese materia medica. Recent pharmacological studies suggest their therapeutic values. We aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Salvia miltiorrhiza (danshen) and Pueraria lobata (gegen) in secondary prevention.


One hundred (100) consecutive coronary patients (mean age 58 +/- 8 years) were randomized to adjunctive treatment with D&G combination (3 g) or placebo (6 capsules) for 24 weeks in double-blind parallel fashion, followed by optional open-label D&G (1.5 g/day) for 6 more months. Brachial flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) were measured using ultrasound.


Baseline characteristics were similar between the 2 groups. After 24 weeks and compared with baseline, there were no significant changes in blood pressures, blood hematological and biochemical profiles, or folate and homocysteine levels in both groups, but there was a mild decrease in low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in both groups (p < 0.05). Brachial FMD improved during D&G (p < 0.001) and less so during placebo treatment (p < 0.05), while improvement in carotid IMT was observed only in the D&G group (p < 0.05). After open-label D&G treatment for 6 more months (n = 45), further improvement in both brachial FMD (p < 0.0001) and carotid IMT (p < 0.0001) was observed. Eight (8) adverse events were reported-6 during placebo and 2 during D&G treatment-requiring treatment termination in 2 patients (on placebo).


D&G adjunctive treatment in coronary patients was well tolerated and effective in improving vascular function and structure. These two herbs may become a novel agent for secondary prevention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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