Botanical: Bupleurum chinense
Family: Umbelliferae (carrot) - Apiaceae (parsley)
Other common names: Hare's Ear, Chai Hu, Sickle-leaved Hare's Ear, Thorow Wax, Chinese Thorowax Root
First mentioned in Chinese medical texts as early as A.D. 200, Bupleurum Root is considered a deep herbal liver cleanser that helps rid the body of toxins and may ease hepatitis, gallbladder, spleen and digestive ailments. It also invigorates the circulatory system and promotes healthy heart and lung function, respiration and blood vessel strength.
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Bupleurum Root is a perennial ornamental plant, native to the Far East ( i.e., China, Japan and Korea), that bears sickle-shaped leaves topped by clusters of tiny yellow flowers, and it thrives in well-drained soil in full sun, reaching a height of three feet. The roots of this bitter herb are harvested in the spring and autumn, sun-dried, and used in herbal medicine. The root has occupied an integral part of Oriental healing since ancient times and was mentioned in Chinese medical texts in A. D. 200, as a tonic for the liver and circulatory system. It was also said to treat moderate emotional instability that is sometimes associated with sluggish liver function and a wide variety of other ailments (frequently in conjunction with other herbs). Some of the constituents in Bupleurum Root are rutin (a bioflavonoid), saikosides (and other saponins), organic acids (oleic, linolenic, palmetic, stearic, et al), stigmasterol, bupleuromol, quercetin, calcium and potassium.
Bupleurum Root has been used for centuries to deeply cleanse the liver, as it continually rids the system of toxic impurities. It is also said to strengthen and nourish the liver and be helpful in cases of hepatitis, gallbladder and digestive ailments. It has also been used to relieve enlarged liver and spleen. Moreover, the herb is said to have an effect on the central nervous system and be helpful for moderate emotional instability that may be brought on by sluggish liver function and be good for managing neurological disorders with a gentle restorative effect on the body.
As an antipyretic or "herbal fever reducer," Bupleurum Root may help to lower fever and reduce body heat; and it has been used to treat malaria, blackwater fever, as well as colds and fever accompanied by congestion and other minor, intermittent, feverish illnesses.
Bupleurum Root is said to nourish and strengthen the circulatory system, with a tonic effect on the heart and lungs, working to stimulate circulation, improve respiration and strengthen blood vessels. As such, it may also prevent bleeding from tiny capillaries within the eyes that can lead to macular degeneration.
Further supporting its capillary-strengthening reputation, Bupleurum Root is thought to act as a serotonin blocker. Serotonin is a hormone-like chemical that makes the walls of capillaries more permeable, leading to soft tissue swelling, including swelling of nasal membranes that can cause a stuffy nose. This activity may be particularly helpful in alleviating the effects of allergies.
Bupleurum Root may provide relief for the discomforts brought about by premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menstrual disorders, particularly relating to stagnation of blood, and it has been used to relieve abdominal bloating and other stagnant conditions throughout the body.
Reputed to be an antiviral and antibacterial, Bupleurum Root is believed to deactivate measles virus, herpes simplex virus, amoebic infection and microbes.
Bupleurum Root is considered an herbal anti-inflammatory agent that may be useful for treating rheumatoid arthritis. The saikosides and other constituents in the herb are thought to stimulate the adrenal glands to produce glucocorticoids, which help to reduce inflammation. It is also thought to increase the efficacy of glucocorticoid drugs that treat arthritis, such as prednisone and others. In addition, Bupleurum Root is said to have pain-relieving effects.
Bupleurum Root is believed to augment immune system function and exert a gentle strengthening effect on the body. It is said to enhance the production of interferon, an immune system chemical that is used to enhance the body's resistance to harmful invading infection, and the herb also contains rutin, a bioflavonoid that may help to restrain infected cells from multiplying indefinitely.
Other uses credited to Bupleurum Root by herbalists have included the relief of uterine and rectal prolapse and easing hemorrhoids.
Pregnant and nursing women should not use Bupleurum Root Herbal Supplement, nor should it be used when undergoing interferon therapy for hepatitis. The herb should not be taken in conjunction with antibiotics, which often kills off bacteria necessary to activate Bupleurum, nor should it be taken with prescription, non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) without first consulting the prescribing physician. Overuse or extended use may cause gastroenteritis, intestinal colic or diarrhea due to the saponin content.