Bupleurum chinense Franch.
Bupleurum falcatum chiliosciadium H.Wolff
Bupleurum falcatum ensifolium H.Wolff
Bupleurum octoradiatum Bunge
Bupleurum pekinense Franch. ex Hemsl.
Bupleurum scorzonerifolium ensifolium H.Wolff
Bupleurum togasii Kitag.
Bupleurum vanheurckii Müll.Arg.
Common Name: Bei Chai Hu
Bupleurum chinense is a herbaceous, perennial plant producing one to several much-branched stems from a stout, woody rootstock; it can grow 50 - 85cm tall[
This species is one of two primary species the roots of which are used for the major traditional Chinese medicine 'chai hu'[
]. The plant is commonly harvested from the wild for this purpose and is also often cultivated. The plant also has edible uses.
E. Asia - northern, eastern and central China
Grassy areas on hills and mountain slopes in Korea[
]. Grasslands, stream banks, sunny slopes and roadsides; at elevations from 100 - 2,700 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
An easily cultivated plant[
], it succeeds in a sunny position in most fertile well-drained soils[
This species is closely related to Bupleurum falcatum, and is included in that species by some botanists.
Leaves and young shoots - cooked[
].The new growth in spring and autumn is used[
, 179]. It is a good source of rutin[
Root - cooked. A famine food, used when all else fails[
Bei chai hu root has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for at least 2,000 years[
]. It is a bitter herb that is used to harmonize the body, balancing the different organs and energies within the body[
]. It strengthens the digestive tract, acts as a tonic for the liver and circulatory system, lowers fevers and has anti-viral effects[
The root is alterative, analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiperiodic, antipyretic, antiviral, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, haemolytic, hepatic, pectoral, sedative[
, 174. 176,
]. It is taken internally in the treatment of malaria, blackwater fever, uterine and rectal prolapse, haemorrhoids, sluggish liver, menstrual disorders, abdominal bloating etc[
]. The roots are harvested in the autumn and can be used fresh or dried[
The root contains saikosides[
]. These saponin-like substances have been shown to protect the liver from toxicity whilst also strengthening its function, even in people with immune system disorders[
]. These saikosides also stimulate the body's production of corticosteroids and increase their anti-inflammatory affect[
The plant is often used in preparations with other herbs to treat the side effects of steroids[
The old plant is used as a fuel[
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in 2 - 8 weeks at 15°c[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer or following spring.
Division in spring. Very easy, larger clumps can be planted direct into their permanent positions. It is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are well rooted before planting them out in the summer.