A Cochrane Database systematic review from China suggests that the herbal formula Sheng Mai San (SMS – Generate the Pulse Powder) may exert a positive effect on heart failure, especially when used alongside usual medical treatment. SMS consists of three herbs: Ren Shen (Ginseng Radix), Mai Men Dong (Radix Ophiopogonis) and Wu Wei Zi (Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis). The authors included a total of 14 RCTs (858 patients) in their review. Of these, 11 trials compared SMS plus usual treatment with usual treatment alone, and three trials compared SMS with placebo. Meta-analysis showed that patients taking SMS plus usual treatment were more likely to improve in terms of the severity of their heart failure symptoms (based on the New York Heart Association [NYHA] functional classification) than those receiving usual treatment alone. Beneficial effects of SMS in treating heart failure were also observed in other outcomes, including exercise test, ejection fraction and cardiac output. The three RCTs that compared SMS with placebo reported improvement in NYHA functional classification and in stroke volume.
(Shengmai (a traditional Chinese herbal medicine) for heart failure. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Apr 14;4:CD005052). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24733159