Medically reviewed on June 7, 2018
What is Bupleurum?
Bupleurum is a perennial herb that grows mainly in China, but also is cultivated in other areas. The plant grows to approximately 1 m in height and requires abundant sun to flourish. The leaves are long and sickle-shaped with parallel veining. Terminal clusters of small, yellow flowers appear in autumn. The long cone or column-shaped, single or branched root is 10 to 20 cm in length and 0.5 to 1.5 cm in diameter. It is light brown to brown, may be wrinkled, and is easily broken.
Bupleurum falcatum L., (synonym Bupleurum chinense DC. and Bupleurum scorzonerifolium Willd.). Family: Apiaceae (carrots). Synonym: Umbelliferae
Beichaihu, Bupleuri Radix, bupleurum root, Chai-hu, Chaihu (Chinese), hare's ear root, Radix Bupleuri, Saiko (Japanese), thorowax, thorow wax.
What is it used for?
Bupleurum is a traditional Chinese herb dating back to the first century BC and is one of the most commonly used herbs in traditional Chinese medicine. One of China's harmony herbs purported to affect organs and energy in the body, bupleurum has been used as a liver tonic, with spleen and stomach toning properties. The plant has also been used to promote perspiration and treat fever, flu, distending pain in the chest, and menstrual disorders.
Bupleurum is being investigated for its antipyretic, immunomodulatory, GI tract, and hepatoprotective effects, as well as its potential in the prevention and treatment of cancers. Clinical trials are generally lacking.
What is the recommended dosage?
No clinical trials exist.
Contraindications have not yet been identified.
Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.
None well documented.
Mild lassitude, sedation, and drowsiness. Large doses may increase flatulence and bowel movements. Allergy to injected bupleurum has been reported.
The toxicity profile appears to be low; however, information is limited.
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