Thorowax, Chai Hu, 柴胡, Bupleurum chinense

Disclaimer    For educational purposes only.  Do not use as medical advice

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Health Issues
For: Irregular periods • Cold and flu • Fever • Chills • Liver Disease

Attributes:  Antibiotic • Antipyretic • Anti-inflammatory • Antibaterial • Antiviral • Analgesic • Hepatoprotective • Immunemodulatory • Chemoprotective • Anti-tumor • Cholagogic • Sedative • Immunostimulate

Products (online examples)

Dried Herb



Dried Herb




Dried Herb

Research (sample)


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Fun Facts
Other Names: Radix Bupleuri • Thorowax Root • Bupleurum Scorzonerifolium • Bupleurum falcatumm • Bupleurum falcatum • Hare's ear root • Saiko • Siho • Thorow-wax • Har'rt • Apallapu bupleire • Hare're • Przewiercien okraglolistny
Plant Family: Apiaceae
Bupleurum is an herb commonly used in Japanese and Chinese medicine for common cold, alternating fever and chills, chronic liver disease, digestive disorders, and malaria.   Saikosaponins is the primary constituent influencing purported benefits.

Bupleurum chinensis (Bei Chai Hu)  - Popularly used for jaundice.  Good for liver diseases and gastric ulcers.

Bupleurum Scorzoneraefolium (Nan Chai Hu)

Bupleurum falcatum

Bupleurum chinense is NOT in the USDA database. 

USA: Bupleurum chinense is not found in the wild.  

USDA Zones: 3-7



Properties, Actions, Indications, etc.              Category: Release Exterior Wind Heat 
English: Thorowax      Pinyin:  Chai Hu      Pharmaceutical: Radix Bupleuri  
Organs: Gallbladder • Liver • Pericardium • Triple Burner  Temperature: Cool
Taste: Bitter • Pungent  Toxicity:   
Patterns: Deficiency heat • Eye and ear disease  
Actions:  Reduce fevers • Reduce chills • Clear heat • Tonify liver qi • Tonify stomach qi • Tonify gallbladder qi • Harmonize lesser yang stage disorder
Indications: Fever • Chills • Sore throat • Wind heat • Cold/Flu
Contraindications: Do not use as intramuscular injections since some may be allergic • Damaged true yin • Hyperactive liver yang • Cytochrome P450, 2C9, 2E1, 2D6, and 3A4 • Greater than 19g may lead to liver injury
Typical Dosage: 3g to 9g          Guidelines
Parts Used: Roots          Substitutes:   
Other: Pungent and dispersing  
Combine With Purpose
Formulas with Chai Hu
Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang • Chai Ge Jie Ji Tang •  Chai Hu Jia Long Gu Mu Li Tang • Da Chai Hu Tang • Long Dan Xie Gan Tang • Pu Ji Xiao Du Yin • Ren Shen Bai Du San • Si Ni San • Wan Dai Tang • Xiao Chai Hu TangXiao Yao San • Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang
Herbal Variations of Chai Hu

  • This herb may interact with drugs related to cytochrome P450 2C9 and can induce CYP2E1, CYP2D6 and CYP3A4 enzymes. (ref)
Potential Drug Interactions

Herbal medicine may interact negatively with pharma drugs and other herbs.  Examples below:


Pharma Drugs:Drugs related to cytochrome P450 • Cold/Flu medication • Antibiotics • Interferon • Diabetes medication


Information in this post came from many sources, including class notes, practitioners, websites, webinars, books, magazines, and editor's personal experience.  While the original source often came from historical Chinese texts,  variations may result from the numerous English translations.   Always consult a doctor prior to using these drugs.  The information here is strictly for educational purposes. 

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