Bupleurum

Also indexed as:Bupleurum chinense, Bupleurum falcatum, Hare’s Ear, Thorowax
Bupleurum: Main Image© Martin Wall
Common names:
Hare’s Ear, Thorowax
Botanical names:
Bupleurum chinense, Bupleurum falcatum

Parts Used & Where Grown

These Asian plants are part of the Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) family, and resemble dill or fennel. However, bupleurum has long thin leaves rather than the lacy appearance of fennel and dill leaves. The Chinese name for bupleurum, chai hu, means “kindling of the barbarians.” The origin of this name is unclear. The roots of the plant are used in herbal medicine.

  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

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This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for AmountWhy
Epilepsy

(Asian Ginseng, Cassia Bark, Chinese Scullcap, Ginger, Jujube, Licorice, Peony, Pinellia)
2.5 grams a day of sho-saiko-to or saiko-keishi-to in tea or capsules2 stars[2 stars]
The Chinese herb bupleurum is included in two herbal formulas, sho-saiko-to and saiko-keishi-to. Both have been shown to be helpful for epilepsy.
Hepatitis

(Asian Ginseng, Cassia Bark, Chinese Scullcap, Ginger, Jujube, Licorice, Peony, Pinellia)
Take 2.5 grams of sho-saiko-to three times per day2 stars[2 stars]
Trials have shown that the bupleurum-containing formula sho-saiko-to can help reduce symptoms and blood liver enzyme levels in people with chronic active viral hepatitis.
Liver Cirrhosis

(Asian Ginseng, Cassia Bark, Chinese Scullcap, Ginger, Jujube, Licorice, Peony, Pinellia)
2.5 grams of the Chinese herbal formula sho-saiko-to three times daily2 stars[2 stars]
The Chinese herb bupleurum is a component of the formula sho-saiko-to, which was shown in one preliminary trial to liver cancer risk in people with liver cirrhosis.
HIV and AIDS Support

(Asian Ginseng, Cassia Bark, Chinese Scullcap, Ginger, Jujube, Licorice, Peony, Pinellia)
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
The herbal formula sho-saiko-to has been shown to have beneficial immune effects on white blood cells in people infected with HIV.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome

(Dan Shen, Ginger, Schisandra, Wormwood)
Take a Chinese herbal formula containing wormwood under the guidance of a qualified practitioner1 star[1 star]
A standardized Chinese herbal combination containing extracts from plants including wormwood, ginger, bupleurum, schisandra, and dan shen reduced IBS symptoms in one study.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Bupleurum has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years to help relieve numerous conditions. Most particularly, infections with fever, liver problems, indigestion, hemorrhoids, and uterine prolapse.1

Bupleurum is a key ingredient in the formula known as sho-saiko-to. This is a Japanese kampo or traditional herbal medicine formula based on the traditional Chinese formula xiao-chai-hu-tang. In English, it has been called minor bupleurum formula. Bupleurum makes up 16% of the formula for sho-saiko-to (see below for the complete contents of the formula). Results reported for sho-saiko-to cannot be attributed solely to bupleurum because the other herbs in the formula also contribute.2

Sho-saiko-to (xao-chai-hu-tang or minor bupleurum formula) contains the following:

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.

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