Introduction of Chai Hu:Radix Bupleuri or Chinese Thorowax Root.
✵The article gives records of the herb Chinese Thorowax Root, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source 2 plant species, ①.Bupleurum chinense DC., ②.Bupleurum scorzonerifolium Willd., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of these two plants, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of these two plants, the features of the herb Chinese Thorowax Root, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.
Radix Bupleuri(Chinese Thorowax Root).
Pin Yin Name: Chái Hú.
English Name: Chinese Thorowax Root.
Latin Name: Radix Bupleuri.
Property and flavor: light cold, bitter, pungent.
Brief introduction: The herb Radix Bupleuri is the dried root of Bupleurum chinense DC., or Bupleurum scorzonerifolium Willd., used (1).to reduce fever for relieving alternate spells of chills and fever, (2).to relieve liver Qi stagnation for alleviating hypochondriac and thoracic pains, and (3).to lift spleen Qi for correction of visceroptosis.
Botanical source: The herb Radix Bupleuri(Chinese Thorowax Root) is the dry root of the (1). Bupleurum chinense DC., or (2). Bupleurum scorzonerifolium Willd., they are plants of the Bupleurum genus, the Apiaceae family (Umbelliferae, parsley family) of the Apiales order. These 2 commonly used species are introduced:
(1).Bupleurum chinense DC.
Botanical description: Bupleurum chinense DC. is commonly known as “North Bupleurum”, or "Mountain Bupleurum". The plant is a perennial herb, it grows up to 40~85 cm high. The taproot is thick and big, hard and firm. The stem grows solitarily, or several stems grow in a cluster, the upper part is multiple-branched, and slightly “zigzag” bend. Leaves are alternate; basal leaves are oblanceolate or narrowly elliptical, 4~7 cm long, 6~8 mm wide, the apex is acuminate, the base shrink to a petiole; the cauline leaf is oblong-lanceolate, 4~12 cm long, 6~18 mm wide, sometimes reach to 3 cm wide, the apex is acuminate or sharp-pointed, with a short-awn pointed end, the base shrink to a sheath, holding stem, 7~9 veins, the upper surface is bright green (emerald green), the undersurface is light green, often with hoarfrost (white frost). Compound umbel is ramose (multiple branched), terminal or lateral, thin pedicel, usually protruding out horizontally, forming a loose coniform-shape; Involucral bracts 2~3, or absent, narrowly lanceolate, 1~5 mm long, 0.5~1.2 mm wide, rarely 1~5 veins; umbrella spoke 3~8, slender, unequal length, 1~3 cm long; Involucel (involucret) bracts 5~7, lanceolate, 3~3.5 mm long, 0.6~1 mm wide, the apex is sharp, 3 veins, bulging toward blade back; umbellule is composed of 5~10 flowers, pedicel (flower stalk) is about 1.2 mm long, 1.2~1.8 mm in diameter; flower petals are bright yellow, the upper part is introflexed, the middle rib is raised, ligule is semicircular, the apex is 2-lobed; stylopodium is deep yellow, wider than ovary. Cremocarp is broad-oval, brown, both sides are slightly flat, 2.5~3 mm long, the edge is narrow wing-shape, light brown, there are 3 tubings (oil duct) in each edge grooves, rarely 4, commissure 4. Its flowering period is from July to September, the fruiting period is from September to November.
Growth characteristics: The plant grows in sunny dry barren hills, roadsides, bushes at the forest edge, or grass fields. It is widely distributed in the north, northwest, east and middle areas of China. The plant prefers warm and moist climate, it is tolerant of cold, and drought, and avoid water logging. It is better to choose dry mountain slopes, deep soil layers, loose and fertile, humus-rich sand loam for cultivation. Should not be planted in clay or low-lying land.
Characters of herbs: The herb root is conical or cylindrical, sometimes slightly curved, 6~15 cm long, and 0.3~1.2 cm in diameter, usually branched. The root head is enlarged, and several stem bases or short fibrous leaf bases remain at the top. The surface is taupe (grayish brown) or chocolate-brown, with vertical wrinkles, rootlet marks and lenticels. It is hard and tough, not easy to break, the fracture surface is fibrous, the cortex of the cross-section is light brown, and the wood part is yellow-white. The herb smells slightly fragrant, and tastes slightly bitter and pungent. The herb of better grade is thick and long, without stem seedlings, and has fewer fibrous roots.
The root is dug out in spring or autumn, shaken and clean off the soil and mud, and dried in sun.
Pharmacological actions: ①.obvious sedative, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, cooling, antitussive effect, also cholagogic, anti liver injury, anti-fatty liver effect; ②.enhance humoral immunity and immune function and has antibacterial, antiviral, and antimalarial effects; ③.reduced blood pressure, slow heart rate, and showed significant hemolysis in rats.
Medicinal efficacy: Dispelling wind and dissipate heat, dispersing stagnated liver Qi for relieving Qi stagnation, elevating Yang Qi, clear gallbladder and prevent malaria, it is mainly indicated for the treatment of cold and fever, alternation of cold and heat, malaria, swelling and pain in the chest and hypochondria, irregular menstruation, uterine prolapse, and rectocele.
Administration of Radix Bupleuri (Chái Hú):
Administration Guide of Radix Bupleuri (Chái Hú)
①.Internally:3~9 grams; ②.water decoction, 0.8~1.5 qian (about 2.4~4.5 grams), or prepared to pill, powder; ③.water decoction, 3~10 grams, prepare to finely ground herb powder and prepared to pill, powder.Externally:proper amount, wash with water decoction or prepare to finely ground herb powder and apply.
Precautions: the dried rhizome of Bupleurum longiradiatum Turcz is poisonous, knods grows densely on it, should not be misused as Radix Bupleuri.
(2).Bupeurum scorzonerifolium Willd.
Botanical description: Bupeurum scorzonerifolium Willd. is commonly known as "Soft Seedling Bupleurum", "Narrow Leaf Bupleurum", "Red Bupleurum", or "Small Bupleurum", or "South Bupleurum", its root is commonly known as "Red Thorowax Root", the plant is a perennial herb, grows up to 30~65 cm high. The taproot is developed, and conical, and the outer bark is reddish-brown, loose and slightly crisp. Stems are single or several branches, numerous brownish red or black brown petiole residual fibers. Leaves are thin linear shape, 6 to 16 cm long, 2 to 7 mm wide, apex is long and acuminate, the base turns slightly narrow, holding the stem, thick, slightly hard and stiff, usually is folded or rolled inward, 3~7 veins, edge of the leaf is white, sclerotin; leaves of the upper part are small, same shape. Involucral bracts 1~4, aciculiform (needle-like), extremely thin and small, 1~3 veins, often fall off early; involucel bracts 5, linear-lanceolate, thin and sharp; Umbellule is composed of flowers 9~11, fewer to 6 or more to 15 flowers, pedicel (flower stalk) length is 1~1.5 mm. Cremocarp is brunette (dark brown), the ribs are light brown, thick and obtuse, and slightly convex, there are 5~6 tubings(oil duct) in each edge groove, and the commissure is 4~6. Its flowering period is from July to September, the fruiting period is from September to November.
Growth characteristics: The plant grows in dry grassland, sunny mountain slopes, bushes, and forest edges. It is mainly distributed in the north, and northwest, the lower reaches area of the Yellow River, the lower reaches area of the Yangtze River, the west reaches areas of the Zhujing River, etc.
Characters of herbs: The roots are conico acuminate, with few branches, 5~14 cm long, 0.3~0.8 cm wide; the surface is reddish brown or dark brown, with vertical lines, and there are many transverse wart-like protrusions near the root head, some are nearly ring lines, the apex is densely covered with fibrous leaf base. The herb is hard and crisp, easy to break, the fracture surface is slightly flat, and light brown, cambium ring color is slightly deep. The herb has a slight fragrance and smells of rotten oil. The herb of better grade is thick and long, without stem seedlings, and has fewer fibrous roots.
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1.Introduction of Chai Hu:Radix Bupleuri or Chinese Thorowax Root.