What Is Bupleurum Falcatum?

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  • Written By: L. Baran
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2019
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Bupleurum falcatum is a type of plant native to western parts of Asia. It is more commonly known as Chinese Thoroughwax, Chai Hu or Sickle-Leaf Hare's Ear, and comes from the apiaceae plant family. This plant has been used in oriental medicine for centuries for a number of different reasons, including the treatment of depression, feminine health issues, digestive problems, infections, and liver conditions.

When taken medicinally, both a plant extract or a dried bupleurum substance can be used, with the active ingredients being found in the root. The plant is thought to act in the body in five specific ways. It protects the liver as it performs vital daily functions, acts as an anti-inflammatory, increases perspiration, reduces coughing, and acts as a bittering agent to influence digestion. There are a number of different elements in the common bupleurum falcatum plant. These include many types of saikosaponin compounds, polysaccharides and bupleurans.

The most common use for bupleurum falcatum is in the treatment of liver conditions and the alleviation of symptoms associated with liver problems. Chinese medicine, in existence for over 2,000 years, has supported the use of the plant for the restoration of liver function, the reduction of liver swelling, and the removal of harmful liver chemicals. While some claims exist for the benefits of the herb in the treatment of hepatitis, these claims have not been scientifically supported.


The anti-inflammatory properties of bupleurum falcatum are the basis for its use to address issues in many different areas of the body. In addition to reducing liver inflammation, the herb has been used by parents to treat mild to moderate brain dysfunction resulting from traumatic brain injury. Furthermore, bupleurum is utilized in combination with other Chinese herbs to reduce fever and act as a mood stabilizer. A growing number of women are turning to this remedy to address unsightly cellulite. It is believed that the herbal extract aids in the removal of skin toxins and microscopic pore blockages.

While numerous herbs have been used in oriental medicine for thousands of years, the safety and efficacy of such herbs remain questionable and many medical professionals caution against their use. Much of the evidence supporting herbs is anecdotal, and few published studies can provide clear data. Any use of bupleurum falcatum for medical purposes should be discussed with a physician or other qualified professional, and patients should be regularly monitored for side effects and potential conflicts with other medications.


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