Bupleurum  (Chai Hu)

Latin:  Bupleurum chinense

Family:   Apiaceae

Parts Used:  Roots

Taste/Energetics:  Bitter, Spicy, Cooling

Properties:  Anxiolytic, hepatic tonic, stomachic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, carminative

Actions:    Known as a “harmony herb” in Chinese medicine, the root of this herb is a common ingredient in one of the most common Chinese formulas for helping people who feel wound up, frustrated, tense, depressed and angry (“Free and Easy Wanderer”.)  In Chinese medicinal philosophy, bupleurum helps strengthen the liver and allows for a free flow of blood and energy to circulate in the body and not get bound up and stagnant.  In Chinese philosophy, the liver is associated with the emotion of anger and bupleurum helps disperse heat from the liver and associated toxic anger.   I think of bupleurum as working for those who appear hot, flushed with heat signs in the skin and emotionally feel  stuck in situations and patterns that have made them feel tight and obstructed.  They feel bottled up due to their habits and/or life circumstances.

Dosage:  1-2 tbsp decocted in pint of water for 30 minutes.  Chinese style this is an herb that should be part of a formula and not a stand alone herb.  In tincture form 1-2 ml to 3 x/day.

Contraindications:  Avoid in pregnancy

Further Reading:  

Anti-Inflammatory Effect and Chemical Composition of Bupleurum chinense and Bupleurum kaoi    Liu, Tsai, Guo, et al