Herbs & Botanicals
What is bupleurum? What is it used for?
Bupleurum is an upright-growing plant native to China, Japan and central
Europe, but now widely dispersed throughout the U.S.
It has a variety
of names, including thoroughwax and hare's ear (the latter name due to
the shape of the plant's leaves, which resemble a hare's ear). It contains
yellowish-green petals arranged in groups of five, and small yellow flowers.
The root is used medicinally.
The active ingredients in bupleurum root include saponins and plant sterols,
which have been shown to lower fevers and reduce inflammation in animal
studies. It is used for a variety of conditions, including inflammatory
conditions, angina, nausea, vomiting, and fever. It also strengthens the
stomach and intestines and promotes blood circulation to the liver.
In traditional Chinese medicine, bupleurum is not usually used alone,
but rather as part of various herbal remedies. In TCM terminology, it
reduces fever and resolves the shao yang level; spreads liver qi (good
for vertigo, emotional instability and menstrual problems), and raises
yang qi in spleen/stomach deficiency.
How much bupleurum should I take?
Bupleurum is typically used as part of a larger, more complex herbal
formula. The amount to be taken depends in large part on the condition
being treated. For general use, many practitioners recommend 1.5-6 grams
of dried bupleurum root in a decoction, or 3-12 ml of a 1:2 extract.
What forms of bupleurum are available?
Some Asian markets sell dried bupleurum root. It is also available in
capsule and tincture forms.
What can happen if I don't get enough bupleurum?
What can happen if I take too much? Are there any side-effects I should
be aware of?
When taken in the proper dosage, there are no known adverse reactions
associated with bupleurum. However, large doses of bupleurum may cause
dizziness or diarrhea, due to its high saponin content. It should not
be taken by patients with high blood pressure, or by women who are pregnant
or nursing. There are no known drug interactions with bupleurum.
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