Red sage is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and it has been used as a medicinal herb for more than 2000 years.
In China, extensive research has been carried out on the benefits and medicinal properties of red sage. Studies have shown that the tanshinones in the herb have a positive effect on the coronary artery of the heart resulting in diminished symptoms of angina pectoris and enhanced cardiac function.
The whole plant (rather than the isolated constituents) is sometimes used in China to help patients who are recovering from a heart attack or stroke, and studies indicate that the herb has a positive effect in that regard.
However, clinical trials in China have shown that the plant is more effective when used preventively.
Today, red sage is mostly used as an herbal remedy for ailments related to the heart and blood vessels, in a similar manner to hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna).
It is often used as a treatment for high blood pressure by opening up the arteries and improving blood flow. While the herb does not directly lower blood pressure, it relaxes the blood vessels and improves the entire body’s circulatory system, which can indirectly dampen high blood pressure.
In addition, the herb may be useful in treating osteoporosis. Studies indicate that one of the herb’s constituents can selectively block an enzyme known as Cathepsin K (CatK), which plays a big part when it comes to the breakdown of collagen in the bones of people suffering from osteoporosis.