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Bupleurum (chai hu)
What is bupleurum? What is it used
Bupleurum is an upright-growing plant native to China, Japan
and central Europe, but now widely dispersed throughout the
U.S. It has a variety of names, including thoroughwax and
hares ear (the latter name due to the shape of the plants
leaves, which resemble a hares ear). It contains yellowish-green
petals arranged in groups of five, and small yellow flowers.
The root is used medicinally.
The active ingredients in bupleurum root include saponins
and plant sterols, which have been shown to lower fevers and
reduce inflammation in animal studies. It is used for a variety
of conditions, including inflammatory conditions, angina,
nausea, vomiting, and fever. It also strengthens the stomach
and intestines and promotes blood circulation to the liver.
In traditional Chinese medicine, bupleurum is not usually
used alone, but rather as part of various herbal remedies.
In TCM terminology, it reduces fever and resolves the shao
yang level; spreads liver qi (good for vertigo, emotional
instability and menstrual problems), and raises yang qi in
How much bupleurum should I take?
Bupleurum is typically used as part of a larger, more complex
herbal formula. The amount to be taken depends in large part
on the condition being treated. For general use, many practitioners
recommend 1.5-6 grams of dried bupleurum root in a decoction,
or 3-12 ml of a 1:2 extract.
What forms of bupleurum are available?
Some Asian markets sell dried bupleurum root. It is also
available in capsule and tincture forms.
What can happen if I don't get enough
bupleurum? What can happen if I take too much? Are there any
side-effects I should be aware of?
When taken in the proper dosage, there are no known adverse
reactions associated with bupleurum. However, large doses
of bupleurum may cause dizziness or diarrhea, due to its high
saponin content. It should not be taken by patients with high
blood pressure, or by women who are pregnant or nursing. There
are no known drug interactions with bupleurum.
Other Resources :
More You Know About Minerals
More You Know About Nutrition
- Bone K. Bupleurum: a natural steroid effect.
Can J Herbalism Winter 1996;22-41.
- Duke J. Handbook of Phytochemical Constituents
of GRAS Herbs
and Other Economic Plants. Boca Raton, FL. CRC Press,
- Jin RL, Shi L, Kuang Y. Comparative studies
on the roots of wild and cultured bupleurum chinense.
DC Chung Yao Tung Pao April 1988;23:11-3.
- Ohtsu S, Irumi S, Iwanaga S, et al. Analysis
of mitogenic substances in bupleurum chinense by
ESR spectroscopy. Biol Pharm Bull Jan 1997;20:97-100.
- Zhang J. Comparison on saikosaponin levels
in the root of bupleurum chinense of various sizes.
Chung Yao Tung Pao April 1985;20:13-4.