What Is Chai Hu (Radix Bupleuri)

Chai Hu is also known as Radix Bupleuri or Chinese Thorowax Root and is a traditional Chinese herbal medicine. It has a medicinal history of more than 2,000 years.

Bupleurum is a large genus of the Umbelliferae family and is an annual or perennial herb. There are approximately 190 species in this genus, most of which are distributed in the subtropical regions of the northern hemisphere.

20 species of Bupleurum can be made into Chinese herbal medicine, the most representative of which are Bupleurum chinense and Bupleurum scorzonerifolium. The Chai Hu mentioned in this article refers to the root of Bupleurum chinense and Bupleurum scorzonerifolium.

Bupleurum chinense is distributed in northern areas of China, and Bupleurum scorzonerifolium is distributed in Russia, Mongolia, North Korea, Japan, and northern areas of China. They grow in grasslands, hillsides, and shrublands at 160-2,250 meters above sea level.

In spring and autumn of each year, people gather the roots of Bupleurum, remove their impurities, dry them in the sun, cut them into thick slices, and make them into Chinese herbs.

Chai Hu contains sailoside a, b, c, and d, bupleurumol, a-spinasterol, quercetin, polysaccharides, and volatile oils. Chai Hu with thick and long root, thin skin, few branch roots, and good fragrance is best.

According to <Shennong Ben Cao Jing>, the medicinal property of Chai Hu is slightly cold, with a pungent and bitter taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the liver and gall bladder meridians.

In Chinese medicine, Chai Hu is often used to nourish the liver and treat fever caused by colds, irregular menstruation, uterine prolapse, prolapse of the anus, hepatitis, and cholecystitis.

About 300 kinds of traditional Chinese medicine formulas contain Chai Hu, such as Xiao Chai Hu Tang, Bu Zhong Yi Qi Wan, Xiao Yao Wan.

Health benefits of Chai Hu

  • Anti-inflammation, anti-convulsion, anti-radiation, and anti-tumor.
  • Promoting the secretion of bile and having the effect of choleretic.
  • Increasing the activity of T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes and enhancing immunity.
  • Exciting intestinal smooth muscles, alleviating indigestion and increasing appetite.
  • Inhibiting gastric acid secretion and trypsin, anti-ulcer.
  • Inhibiting the central nervous system, analgesic, sedative, and cough.
  • Reducing plasma cholesterol, blood pressure, and heart rate, preventing hyperlipidemia and hypertension.
  • Relieving hypochondriac pain, chest pain, dysmenorrhea, breast tenderness, treating menstrual disorders.
  • Relieving fever caused by external syndromes, functional edema, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, and menstrual asthma.
  • Relieving alternating chills and fever, chest tightness, bitter taste in the mouth, dry throat and dizziness caused by shaoyang disease.
  • Treating abdominal distension, abdominal pain, and depression caused by liver depression and qi stagnation.
  • Treating visceral ptosis caused by the sinking of middle qi, such as gastroptosis, anorectal prolapse, uterine ptosis, and chronic diarrhea.
  • Treating biliary tract infections, acute cholecystitis, chronic cholecystitis, pancreatitis, viral hepatitis, acute pyelonephritis.
  • Treating herpetic keratitis, flat warts, common warts, multiple erythema, mumps, and malaria.
  • Inhibiting hemolytic streptococcus, Vibrio cholera, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Leptospira, influenza virus, epidemic hemorrhagic fever virus.

Chai Hu is used with other Chinese herbs

Side effects of Chai Hu

Excessive use of it may cause vomiting, oliguria, edema, capillary rupture, a lot of sweating, or collapse.

A small percentage of people taking it may cause allergic reactions, such as fever, headache aggravation, irritability, systemic rashes, and itching.

Precautions of Chai Hu

  • Bupleurum longiradiatum is poisonous and should not be used as Chai Hu.
  • The dosage of Chai Hu should be controlled at 3-9g.
  • It can be made into decoctions or Medicinal liquor, and should not be decocted for a long time.
  • It should not be together used with Zao Jia Zi (Semen Gleditsiae Sinensis) or Li Lu (Veratrum nigrum).
  • It should not be used to relieve irritability, night sweats, dry mouth, and sore throat caused by yin deficiency.
  • It should not be used to treat dizziness and headache caused by hyperactivity of liver yang.
  • People with internal stirring of liver wind or vomiting should not take it.