A Chinese herbal medicine containing Dan Shen (Radix Salviae Miltiorrhizae) has been shown to be helpful in treating diabetic retinopathy (DR), a severe microvascular complication of diabetes that is a major cause of adult blindness. The Chinese study investigated the use of ‘Compound Danshen Dripping Pill’ (CDDP), which is commonly used in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. In a large-scale clinical trial, involving 233 patients with non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) were randomised to receive four concentrations (placebo, low-dose [270 mg], mid-dose [540 mg] and high dose [810 mg]) of oral herbal medication three times daily for 24 weeks. Objective changes in retinal disease severity were measured via fluorescence fundus angiography (FFA) and other fundoscopic examination parameters. In terms of FFA results, at 24 weeks the percentage of ‘Excellent’ and ‘Effective’ outcomes in the high-dose and mid-dose CDDP groups were seventy-four per cent and seventy-seven per cent respectively, significantly higher than the twenty-eight per cent measured in the placebo group. In terms of fundoscopic examination, the percentage of ‘Excellent’ and ‘Effective’ outcomes in the high-dose and mid-dose CDDP groups were forty-two and fifty-nine per cent respectively, also very significantly higher than the eleven per cent found in the placebo group.
The effectiveness and safety of a danshen-containing Chinese herbal medicine for diabetic retinopathy: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled multicenter clinical trial. J Ethnopharmacol. 2015 Apr 22;164:71-7.