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Bupleurum falcatum

Latin Name: Bupleurum falcatum

Common name: Chinese thorowax, Chai Hu

Family: Apiaceae

Parts used: Root



  • Triterpenoid saponins (saikosaponins or saikosides)
  • Polysaccharides (bupleurans)
  • Flavonoids (rutin)
  • Coumarins
  • Polyacetylenes
  • Polyhydroxy sterols
  • Trihydroxy fatty acids



Medicinal actions:

  • Adaptogen
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Hepatoprotective 
  • Immuno-modulator & stimulant
  • Nervine Tonic & Nervous System Trophorestorative

Medicinal use:

  • Has been used in Chinese herbal formulary for centuries, and has been used for the treatment of depression and chronic inflammatory conditions of all kinds, especially those involving the liver and kidneys such as hepatitis, as well as autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus and multiple sclerosis.


  • Triterpenoid saponins: saikosaponins have been reported to possess various pharmacological activities, including anti-platelet, anti-hepatitis, anti-hepatoma, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and immune-modulating effects. Will also enhance the activity of corticosterone by inducing liver enzymes involved in the activation of corticosterone and by stimulating adrenocortical function, with effects leading to an overall anti-inflammatory action.
  • Oral doses transiently increase blood glucose, bile output and bile salt content (and thus lower cholesterol). It has been suggested that saikosaponnins and saikogenins lower cholesterol by increasing cholesterol excretion in the bile and may increase hepatic protein synthesis.
  • Polysaccharides (bupleuran) have been shown to induce the up-regulate macrophage activity, stimulate the secretion of IL-6 and partially contribute towards the enhancement of IgM secretion.


  • Decoction: 1 tbsp/cup, simmer 20 min, TID
  • Capsules: 2-6 g/day in divided doses (up to 120 mg saikosaponins/day)
  • Tincture: (1:2, 40%), 2-6 ml QD.


  • Can be sedating in some individuals and may cause stomach upset.


  • None known.


  • Theoretical interactions with NSAIDs, antibiotics and immunosuppressants.


  • Find a complete list of references for this monograph as well as images and a review of its evidence based applications in Dr. Marciano’s Herbal Textbook.


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