Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge, also known as Danshen in Chinese, has been widely used to treat cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in China and other Asia countries. Here, we summarize literatures of the historical traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) interpretation of the action of Salvia miltiorrhiza, its use in current clinical trials, its main phytochemical constituents and its pharmacological findings by consulting Pubmed, China Knowledge Resource Integrated, China Science and Technology Journal, and the Web of Science Databases. Since 2000, 39 clinical trials have been identified that used S. miltiorrhiza in TCM prescriptions alone or with other herbs for the treatment of patients with CVD. More than 200 individual compounds have been isolated and characterized from S. miltiorrhiza, which exhibited various pharmacological activities targeting different pathways for the treatment of CVD in various animal and cell models. The isolated compounds may provide new perspectives in alternative treatment regimes and reveal novel chemical scaffolds for the development of anti-CVD drugs. Meanwhile, there are also some rising concerns of the potential side effects and drug-drug interactions of this plant. The insights gained from this study will help us to better understanding of the actions of this herb for management of cardiovascular disorders. As an herb of red root, S. miltiorrhiza will act as a potential red light to prevent the development of CVD.