Bupleurum chinense

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Bupleurum chinense
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Bupleurum
B. chinense
Binomial name
Bupleurum chinense

Bupleurum chinense (Chai Hu, Chinese: 柴胡; pinyin: chaí hú; Jyutping: caai4 wu4, Thorowax) is a plant of the family Apiaceae.

Distribution and appearance[edit]

Bupleurum chinense is native to East Asia. The leaves of the plant are long and thin and resemble fennel.

Use in traditional Chinese medicine[edit]

The root of B. chinense, known as Radix Bupleuri, is used in traditional Chinese medicine.[1] It is a primary ingredient in the preparation Xiao Chai Hu Tang, which was first recorded in the Treatise on Cold Induced Febrile Disease (Shang Han Lun) circa 280 AD. It is also an ingredient of Xiao Yao San, which was first seen in the Tai Ping Hui Min He Ji Ju Feng (Imperial Grace Formulary of the Tai Ping Era) 1078–85. This formula is used to soothe irritability.


Consumption of B. chinense may increase the risk of liver damage.[2] This formula should not be taken without a prescription from a licensed practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine and should not be taken for prolonged periods of time and could cause headache, dizziness and bleeding of the gums.[medical citation needed] Chai Hu might slightly reduce white blood count.[medical citation needed]

Chemical constituents[edit]

Buplerum chinense roots, also known as Radix Bupleuri, were contain polyacetylenes and saponins/triterpenoids.[3]


  1. ^ Chinese Herbal Medicine Formulas and Strategies; Bensky & Barolet, 1990 Eastland Press, Inc.
  2. ^ Lee, Chang-Hsing; Wang, Jung-Der; Chen, Pau-Chung (2011). "Risk of Liver Injury Associated with Chinese Herbal Products Containing Radix bupleuri in 639,779 Patients with Hepatitis B Virus Infection". PLOS ONE. 6 (1): e16064. Bibcode:2011PLoSO...616064L. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016064. PMC 3020221. PMID 21264326.
  3. ^ Abe, Hiroko; Sakaguchi, Machiko; Odashima, Shizuo; Arichi, Shigeru (1982). "Protective effect of saikosaponin-d isolated from Bupleurum falcatum L. On CCl4-induced liver injury in the rat". Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology. 320 (3): 266–271. doi:10.1007/BF00510139.