Radix Bupleuri (Chai Hu) is also known by the common names Thorowax Root, Hare’s Ear Root, Bupleurum Root, Red Thorowax Root, and Asian Buplever Root. The herb is the dried root of Bupleurum chinense DC. or Bupleurum scorzonerifolium Willd., which are perennial umbelliferous plants. The whole plant is harvested in spring and autumn. Fibrous roots and aerial parts are removed. The root is then dried in the sun, and cut into short pieces. The root can also be stir-fried. In TCM, the herb is bitter and acrid in flavor, and slightly cold in medicinal properties; it belongs to the category of herbs that Release the Exterior. It is one of the most important of the Cold herbs.
Radix Bupleuri regulates heat, clears heat, harmonises the Exterior and the Interior, relaxes Liver tension, unblocks Liver stagnation, spreads Liver Qi and resolves emotional instability, raises Yang Qi – treat prolapse of internal organs caused by Yang or Qi deficiency, calms Wind, cools Fire, Disperses Wind-Heat and resolves Phlegm and congestion. It treats fever, pain and inflammation associated with influenza, and the common cold, malaria, alternating chills and fever, fullness (stifling sensation) and pain in chest and rib cage, dizziness, vertigo, epigastric and flank pain, emotional instability, irregular menstruation, vaginal discharge and excessive bleeding, abdominal bloating, nausea and digestive disturbances, convulsions, muscle tension, neck and shoulder pain, lumps, tumors, skin ailments, prolapse of internal organs (uterus, rectum), hemorrhoids, and amenorrhoea. It is also used in the treatment of all types of toxicosis, especially Liver/Gallbladder infections, allergies, chronic hepatitis, nephritic syndrome, and autoimmune diseases.
The herb has sedative and analgesic, pain relieving, antipyretic, anti inflammation, hepatoprotective, antihyperlipidemic, immunostimulant, anti-tumor, antibiotic and antiviral properties. It contains A, B, C, D types of saikosapoins, sterol, essential oils like bupleurumol and eugenol, fatty acids like oleic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid, and polysaccharide.