Bupleurum (boo-plur-rum) plays a major role in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), where it is referred to as chai hu. Its medical magic resides in the root. Easy to grow from seed, bupleurum brightens up any garden or flower pot with its clusters of dainty greenish-yellow blooms. Florists will frequently add these flowers to wedding bouquets.
What does it do?
Perhaps on the critical level of being a master liver detoxifier, bupleurum is to the East what milk thistle is to the West. Capable of dredging up old emotions like repressed anger and sadness, this plant shares the function of easing mild forms of depression in much the same manner as St. John’s wort. Indeed, bupleurum makes a fine choice among herbs to address conditions like PMS. This plant is also employed to bring balance to the bodily systems that move our physical selves through life, effecting a harmonious, synergistic interrelationship. Combined with peony, bupleurum is used for various menstrual disorders. It is also partnered up with bitter orange peel to restore poor appetites. Currently, research is being conducted to explore bupleurum’s anti-cancer potential.
About the herb
Because this one-foot tall perennial grows naturally in East Asia, it was set upon centuries ago by Chinese herbalists who considered it to be one of their most potent green medicines. Bupleurum hails from a large family, its genus being comprised of no less than 185 species. The small clusters of greenish-yellow flowers that grace the plant during blooming season are followed by its small, cylindrical fruit, readily identifiable by its five ribs.
Bupleurum is useful for common complaints like colds, flu, headache and fever. It can be taken as a tea, in tinctures or in encapsulated powdered form. A word of caution. Some herbs are not meant to be consumed on a daily basis. As with bupleurum, they excel in providing health benefits, but their use should be short lived (several weeks), with short breaks between applications. Avoid during pregnancy.