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Bupleurum falcatum

Latin Name: Bupleurum falcatum

Common name: Chinese thorowax

Family: Apiaceae

Parts used: Root

Constituents: Triterpenoid saponins (saikosaponins or saikosides), flavonoids (rutin), polysaccharides (bupleurans).

Medicinal actions: Adaptogen, alterative, anti-inflammatory, carminative, diaphoretic, febrifuge, hepatoprotective, immuno-modulator and stimulant.

Medicinal use: treatment of colds and flus, chronic infections, chronic inflammatory conditions of all kinds, especially those involving the liver and kidneys such as hepatitis, as well as auto-immune disease such as systemic lupus erythematosus and multiple sclerosis.

Pharmacology:

  • Triterpenoid saponins saikosaponin has been shown to inhibit platelet aggregation and thromboxane formation, and are also hepatoprotective. 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.
  • Saikosaponins undergo enterohepatic circulation and fecal excretion.

Pharmacy:

  • Decoction: 1 tbsp/cup, simmer 20 mins, TID
  • Dried root/capsules: 2-6 g/day in divided doses (up to120 mg saikosaponins/day)
  • Tincture: (1:5, 40%) 5-20 ml/day in divided doses

Toxicity: Can be sedating in some individuals and may causes increased bowel movements & flatulence.

Contraindications: None known.

Interactions: Potential interactions with NSAIDs & antibiotics (needs friendly bacteria to be effective).

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