Bupleurum, also called Chinese Thoroughwax, is one of the more important herbs used in Oriental medicine. It has a reputation for its ability to relieve liver tension and digestive disturbances, and because it is detoxifying and antimicrobial. Bupleurum has the ability, when combined with other herbs to clear stagnation virtually anywhere in the body. It can be used to relieve spasms, muscle tension, lumps, bleeding due to heat and menstrual irregularity. The essential oil in Bupleurum is responsible for its ability to relieve surface heat.
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. Bupleurum is the primary herb in dozens of classical formulations which serve a wide variety of harmonizing activities, and all of which regulate body energy, allowing it to flow freely and in a balanced manner, and for relieving blockages in the body and then discharging the toxin safely out of the system. Bupleurum formulas are extremely useful at the early stages of tonic use in helping to establish radiant health. They serve the purposes of relieving blocks, imbalances and tension while eliminating toxins. As time goes by, these formulas become less and less necessary until they are only used occasionally, if at all.
The amount of Bupleurum to be taken depends in large part on the condition being treated. For general use, many practitioners recommend 1.5-6gm of dried root in a decoction, or 3-12ml of a 1:2 extract.
Although safe in normal doses, large amounts of bupleurum may cause dizziness or diarrhea. It should not be taken by patients with high blood pressure or by women who are pregnant or nursing.