Chinese Thoroughwax (Bupleurum falcatum)

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.


Chinese Thoroughwax (Bupleurum falcatum) can help with the following






Chronic / Hidden Infection

Bupleurum can be considered when fevers of unexplained origin are occurring.


Lab Values  

Low Platelet Count

A series of 10 cases comprised 5 males and 5 females were treated with Minor Decoction of Bupleurum for a low platelet count. The duration of the condition was 4-72 days, averaging 30 days. All cases manifested purpura in the skin and mucosa, with nose bleed in 7 cases, gingival hemorrhage in 4 cases and uterine bleeding in 2 cases.

The classical Minor Decoction of Bupleurum consists of Radix Bupleuri, Radix Ginseng, Radix Codonopsis Pilosulae, Rhizoma Pinelliae, Radix Scutellariae, Radix Glycyrrhizae, Rhizoma Zingiberis Recens, and Fructus Ziziphi Jujubae. The authors modified the prescription by eliminating Rhizoma Pinelliae and Rhizoma Zingiberis Recens and adding Herba Equiseti Hiemalis 15gm, Herba Verbenae 15gm, and Radix Rehmanniae 15gr. For patients with severe hemorrhage, the mixture was administered once daily by intravenous drip. The mixture consisted on 5% glucose solution, 250-300 ml, dicynone 2.0 gm, adrenobazone 20 mg, vitamin K 8-12 mg, vitamin C 500 mg, and p-aminomehyl benzoic acid .3 gm. For cases with dripping uterine bleeding, pituitrin 5-10 IU was added. The intravenous medication was terminated when hemorrhage was alleviated. For anemia due to blood loss, ferreous agents were administered.

The duration of treatment was 14-44 days, averaging 28 days. Skin and mucosa hemorrhages stopped in all cases and the blood platelet count rose averaging 121. The therapeutic results were deemed markedly effective in 6 cases and fairly effective in one; the remaining 3 cases dropped out of follow-up.

Organ Health  

Liver Detoxification / Support Requirement

Bupleurum has a unique reputation for deeply cleansing an overburdened liver.



Contains steroid-like substances that reduce liver inflammation.



May do some good
Likely to help



Herbs may be used as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, teas should be made with one teaspoon herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots. Tinctures may be used singly or in combination as noted. The high doses of single herbs suggested may be best taken as dried extracts (in capsules), although tinctures (60 drops four times per day) and teas (4 to 6 cups per day) may also be used.


Tending to destroy microbes, hinder their multiplication or growth.

Essential Oil

Volatile terpene derivative responsible for the odor or taste of a plant.


Any of various mostly toxic glucosides that occur in plants (as soapwort or soapbark) and are characterized by the property of producing a soapy lather.


A large subgroup of steroids.


Angina pectoris. Severe, restricting chest pain with sensations of suffocation caused by temporary reduction of oxygen to the heart muscle through narrowed diseased coronary arteries.


Symptoms resulting from an inclination to vomit.


A hollow, muscular, J-shaped pouch located in the upper part of the abdomen to the left of the midline. The upper end (fundus) is large and dome-shaped; the area just below the fundus is called the body of the stomach. The fundus and the body are often referred to as the cardiac portion of the stomach. The lower (pyloric) portion curves downward and to the right and includes the antrum and the pylorus. The function of the stomach is to begin digestion by physically breaking down food received from the esophagus. The tissues of the stomach wall are composed of three types of muscle fibers: circular, longitudinal and oblique. These fibers create structural elasticity and contractibility, both of which are needed for digestion. The stomach mucosa contains cells which secrete hydrochloric acid and this in turn activates the other gastric enzymes pepsin and rennin. To protect itself from being destroyed by its own enzymes, the stomach’s mucous lining must constantly regenerate itself.


(gm): A metric unit of weight, there being approximately 28 grams in one ounce.


Liquid prepared by boiling plant material in water for a period of time.


Excessive discharge of contents of bowel.

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