Bei Chai Hu, Bupleuri, Bupleurum Chinese, Bupleurum chinense, Bupleurum exaltatum, Bupleurum falcatum, Bupleurum fruticosum, Bupleurum longifolium, Bupleurum multinerve, Bupleurum octoradiatum, Bupleurum rotundifolium, Bupleurum scorzonerifolium, Buplèvre, Buplèvre Chinois, Buplèvre à Feuilles Rondes, Buplèvre à Feuilles de Scorsonère, Buplèvre à Longues Feuilles, Buplèvre Ligneux, Chai Hu, Chi Hu, Chinese Bupleurum, Chinese Thoroughwax, Hare's Ear Root, Radix Bupleuri, Saiko, Shrubby Hare's-ear, Sickle-leaf Hare's-ear, Thoroughwax, Thorow wax.


Overview Information

Bupleurum is a plant. People use the root for medicine.

Bupleurum is used for respiratory infections, including the flu (influenza), swine flu, the common cold, bronchitis, and pneumonia; and symptoms of these infections, including fever and cough.

Some people use bupleurum for digestion problems including indigestion, diarrhea, and constipation.

Women sometimes use it for premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and painful periods (dysmenorrhea).

Bupleurum is also used for fatigue, headache, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), trouble sleeping (insomnia), depression, liver disorders, and loss of appetite (anorexia).

Other uses include treatment of cancer, malaria, chest pain (angina), epilepsy, pain, muscle cramps, joint pain (rheumatism), asthma, ulcers, hemorrhoids, and high cholesterol.

Bupleurum is included in many herbal combination products. For example, it is included in a Chinese herbal formula and in a Japanese herbal formula (Sho-saiko-to, TJ-9, Xiao-chai-hu-tang) which are used to treat a blood disorder called thrombocytopenic purpura and various chronic liver diseases such as hepatitis. These herbal combination products are also used to prevent the development of liver cancer.

Bupleurum is also used in combination with Panax ginseng and licorice to help stimulate adrenal gland function, particularly in patients with a history of long-term use of corticosteroid drugs.

How does it work?

Bupleurum might stimulate the cells of the immune system to work harder. It might also have other effects, but none of these are proven in humans.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Hepatitis. Early research shows that an herbal combination containing bupleurum (Sho-saiko-to) might help the body to fight off chronic hepatitis B infection.
  • Liver cancer. People with hepatitis B can develop liver scarring (cirrhosis), which can increase their risk of developing liver cancer. Also, some people with hepatitis B infection have antibodies against that infection, while others do not. Early research shows that an herbal combination containing bupleurum (Sho-saiko-to) can reduce the risk of liver cancer in people with hepatitis B and cirrhosis who do NOT have antibodies against the hepatitis B infection. It does not seem to reduce the risk in people who do have antibodies against the hepatitis B infection.
  • Asthma.
  • Chest pain (angina).
  • Constipation.
  • Cough.
  • Depression.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Fatigue.
  • Fevers.
  • Flu.
  • Headache.
  • Hemorrhoids.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Indigestion.
  • Joint pain (rheumatism).
  • Liver disorders.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Malaria.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Pain.
  • Painful periods (dysmenorrhea).
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
  • Ringing in the ears.
  • Stimulating the adrenal gland.
  • The common cold.
  • Stimulating the adrenal gland.
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia).
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of bupleurum for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

Bupleurum is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in medicine amounts for up to 5 years. In combination with other herbs, such as in the Japanese herbal formula called Sho-saiko-to, it has caused increased bowel movements, intestinal gas, and drowsiness. It has also been reported to cause serious lung and breathing problems, as well as liver problems.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking bupleurum if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

"Auto-immune diseases" such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Bupleurum might cause the immune system to become more active, and this could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it's best to avoid using bupleurum.

Bleeding disorders: Chemicals in bupleurum, called saikosaponins, might slow blood clotting. In theory, taking bupleurum might make bleeding disorders worse.

Diabetes: Chemicals in bupleurum, called saikosaponins, might slow blood clotting. Monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use bupleurum. The dose of your diabetes medication may need to be changed.

Surgery: Chemicals in bupleurum called saikosaponins might prolong bleeding. Stop taking saikosaponins at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.



Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

  • Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants) interacts with BUPLEURUM

    Bupleurum might increase the immune system. By increasing the immune system, bupleurum might decrease the effectiveness of medications that are used to decrease the immune system.

    Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.



The appropriate dose of bupleurum depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for bupleurum. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References


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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

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