Dan Shen with Toby Daly + Calm Spirit Tincture Recipe

By | May 30, 2023

I’m excited to have our first Chinese medicine practitioner, Toby Daly, on the show. That he chose to talk about dan shen—one of my favorite herbs to grow—just added to my delight! If you don’t already know dan shen (Salvia miltiorrhiza), I’m confident you’ll love it, too, by the end of this episode.

To give you a sneak peek, dan shen can help to:

► Cool and calm irritability
► Ease chronic pain
► Support the heart and pericardium
► and more

All this while having the additional distinction of being the lead player in a whole herb formula that’s just been approved in the U.S. to go to Stage Four clinical trials. (That’s big, folks!) And, as if that wasn’t enough, dan shen is absolutely gorgeous, with brilliant, large purple flowers that are beloved by pollinators.

Any which way you look at it, there’s an abundance to enjoy and appreciate about dan shen!

By the end of this episode, you’ll know:

► Why Chinese medicine (and, of course, clinical herbalism) always starts with the patient, not with the herbs
► How does dan shen compare and contrast to hawthorn?
► The role of humility and collaboration in herbalism
► How to make a tincture with dan shen that supports the heart and the liver, the two major emotional systems in the body from a Chinese medicine perspective (be sure to download your recipe card!)

Here is one of my favorite takeaways from our conversation:

“We can never say something is good or bad. We always have to say, ‘For who? What’s the constitution? What’s going on with them right now? When? What’s the season or the climatic factors that’s going on?’ We can never answer ‘Is this a good herb or bad herb?’”

For those who don’t already know Toby, he began studying Chinese medicine in 1997 with Sunim Doam, a Korean monk trained in the Saam tradition. He earned his master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine in 2002. He interned with the prominent acupuncturist Dr. Angela Wu and learned to apply what he learned into the pragmatic setting of a busy clinic.

In 2016, he completed a PhD in Classical Chinese Medicine under the guidance of 88th generation Daoist priest Jeffery Yuen.

He lectures internationally and in April 2023 he published his first book, An Introduction to Chinese Medicine: A Patient’s Guide to Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Nutrition & More.

I didn’t know Toby prior to this episode and I really enjoyed getting to know him. I think that like me, you’ll find him to be very sweet, endearing and super knowledgeable. He didn’t even bat an eye when I interrupted him to talk about Tori Amos, so big score in my book. I’m so happy to share our conversation with you today!


► Access your recipe card, the article Toby referenced from the Journal of Chinese Medicine, and the transcript for this episode here: https://www.herbalremediesadvice.org/benefits-of-red-sage.html
► Get Rosalee’s best herbal tips by joining her weekly newsletter: https://bit.ly/3EtBEqe
► Toby’s website: http://www.flourishmedicine.com/
► The Acupuncturist Goes Grocery Shopping (video): http://youtu.be/aN4JVTAlpcA
► Are you looking for high quality dried herbs? My recommendation is Mountain Rose Herbs. Cut and dried dan shen root is available. Click here to check them out: https://bit.ly/3ms3vQ2
► If you’d like to grow dan shen in your own garden, you can find it at Strictly Medicinal Seeds: https://bit.ly/3Mzjglg


I’m a huge fan of Mountain Rose Herbs and will often share referral links to buy herbs or herbal supplies at their online herbal apothecary.

By using the above affiliate link, you help support this channel. Thanks!

If you’re looking for local places to buy herbs, check out my listing of herb farms in the U.S. and Canada. https://www.herbalremediesadvice.org/Herb-Farms-Wildcrafters.html


01:12 – Introduction to Toby Daly
03:37 – How Toby found his life work
12:42 – Why Toby loves dan shen
16:47 – What does it mean to move the blood and why is that important?
17:58 – How dan shen got its name
19:29 – Dan shen’s affinity for the heart
21:03 – Calm Spirit tincture recipe
22:47 – Closing thoughts about dan shen
27:27 – Hawthorn vs. dan shen for the heart
30:16 – Toby’s book, An Introduction to Chinese Medicine
40:53 – What it’s like to be an acupuncturist at the grocery store
44:01 – Toby’s biggest herbal mistake
55:30 – Dan shen tidbit


Yes, I did knit my sweater! Pattern is: Felix Pullover by Amy Christoffers


The herbal and plant information in this video is for educational purposes only. The information contained is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other medical professional. If you have or suspect that you have a serious health problem, promptly contact your health care provider. Always consult with a health care practitioner before using any herbal remedy or food, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or have a medical condition.

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