Danshen, Also Known As Red Sage, Can Be The Key To Treating Oral Cancer

Oral cancer isn’t less deadly as compared to lung, breast, prostate, or liver cancer. It is also considered to be a dangerous type of cancer. Fortunately, in a study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, results revealed that red sage (Salvia miltiorrhiza), also known as Danshen in Chinese medicine, can be used to prevent oral cancer tumors from spreading, causing them to die out instead.

Oral cancer is also one of the deadliest forms of cancer. In the U.S. it was estimated that approximately one person dies in oral cancer every hour.

A person with this disease often produces no pain or notable changes during its onset. That is why cancer has already metastasized and has progressed to an advanced stage by the time patients notice it. This type of cancer is also associated with a high risk of growing subsequent primary tumors, which means that a patient is about 20 times at risk of developing a second cancer should they survive their first encounter. The relapse usually happens after five to 10 years.

In Chinese medicine, Danshen is an important medicinal herb. It is primarily used in the treatment for both chronic and neoplastic inflammatory diseases. Due to these applications, authors of the study were prompted to investigate the effects of red sage extracts on oral cancer cells in both in vivo and in vitro settings.


Researchers investigated the effects of Dashen herb by exposing human oral cancer SAS, SCC25, OEC-M1, and KB drug-resistant cell lines to its varying concentrations of extracts. They used an oral cancer xenograft mouse model for the in vivo test. They examine the action of pro-apoptotic chemicals and compared their antitumor effects to those of 5-fluorouracil, a common anti-cancer medication.

After their investigation, results revealed that Dashen or Red Sage extract can strongly inhibit the proliferation of oral cancer cells (SAS, SCC25, and OEC-M1) by inducing apoptosis through the caspase pathway. As shown by the in vivo test, Danshen extract was able to suppress the growth of SAS cancer cells and route the resistance of KB drug-resistant cancer cells.

It was then concluded by the authors of the study that Dashen extract can be used as a potential anti-cancer agent, especially as a treatment for oral cancer.

Preventing Oral Cancer

Listed below are some tips you can follow in order to lower your risk of developing oral cancer:

Eat Healthily

Eating foods rich in vitamins and antioxidants can protect your cells from damage and will lower your risk of developing oral and other types of cancer.

Avoid Tobacco

Whether as a cigarette or in chewable form, tobacco use exposes your mouth to chemicals that can cause cancer. Quit smoking if you are an active smoker. By doing this, you can lower your risk of developing the disease.


Avoid Excessive Sun Exposure

Too much exposure to sunlight can be cancerous to your lips. Stay under the shade as much as you can for you to lower your risk. Bring an umbrella or wear a wide-brimmed hat if you must go out.

Drink Moderately

The cells in your mouth can be irritated by excessive alcohol intake, thus making them much more prone to oral cancer than normal.

Visit A Health Professional

A regular mouth check-up is needed for you to ensure your mouth’s overall health. Regular checkups can help you detect if you have oral cancer since your specialist may notice abnormalities and act on them before they get worse. When it comes to any type of cancer, earlier is always better, after all.