Introduction of Chai Hu:Radix Bupleuri or Chinese Thorowax Root.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵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).

dried root segments of Chinese Thorowax Root herb 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.

 several shrubs with green leaves and roots of 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 many-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 leaves are 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, amplexicaular (stem-clasping), 7~9 veins, the upper surface is emerald green (bright green), the undersurface is light green, often glaucous.

 Compound umbels are ramose (many-branched), terminal or lateral, thin pedicel, usually protruding out horizontally, forming a loose coniform-shape; 2~3 involucral bracts, or absent, narrowly lanceolate, 1~5 mm long, 0.5~1.2 mm wide, rarely 1~5 veins; 3~8 umbrella spoke, slender, unequal length, 1~3 cm long; 5~7 bracteoles (bractlets), lanceolate, 3~3.5 mm long, 0.6~1 mm wide, the apex is sharp, 3 veins, bulging toward backsurface of leaf blade; umbellule is composed of 5~10 flowers, pedicels (flower stalks) are 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.

 Cremocarps are broad-oval, brown, both sides are slightly flat, 2.5~3 mm long, the edge is narrow-pterygoid (narrow aliform), light brown, there are 3 tubings (oil duct) in each edge grooves, rarely 4, 4 tubings (oil duct) on commissure. Its flowering period is from July to September, the fruiting period is from September to November.

 a flowering plant of Bupleurum chinense DC,with small yellow flowers Growth characteristics: The plant grows in sunny dry barren hills, on roadsides, in bushes at the forest edge, or in grass fields. It is widely distributed in the northern, northwest, eastern and middle areas of China. The plant prefers a 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 sandy 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 tan (chocolate-brown), has 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 xylem (wood part) is yellow-white. The herb smells slightly fragrant, and tastes slightly bitter and pungent. The herb of a better grade is thick and long, without stem seedlings, and has fewer fibrous roots.

 The root is dug out in spring or autumn, shake 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): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Radix Bupleuri (Chái Hú)
TCM Books: 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.

 flowering plant of Bupeurum scorzonerifolium Willd,with many small yellow flowers Botanical description: Bupeurum scorzonerifolium Willd is commonly known as Soft Seedling Bupleurum, Narrow Leaf Bupleurum, Red Bupleurum, 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 root bark is reddish-brown, loose and slightly crisp. Stems are solitary or few branched, has numerous brownish red or black brown petiole residual fibers. Leaves are thin filate (linear), 6 to 16 cm long, 2 to 7 mm wide, apex is long and acuminate, the base turns slightly narrow, amplexicaular (stem-clasping), thick, slightly hard and stiff, usually is folded or involute (rolled inward), 3~7 veins, edge of the leaf is white, cartilaginous; leaves of the upper part are small, same shape. 1~4 involucral bracts, aciculiform (needle-like), extremely thin and small, 1~3 veins, often fall off early; 5 involucel bracts, linear-lanceolate, thin and sharp;

 Umbellule is composed of 9~11 flowers, fewer to 6 or more to 15 flowers, the length of pedicel (flower stalk) 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 ducts) in each edge groove, and 4~6 tubings (oil ducts) on the commissure. Its flowering period is from July to September, the fruiting period is from September to November.

 Growth characteristics: The plant grows in dry grassland, bushes, on sunny mountain slopes, and forest edges. It is mainly distributed in the northern, and northwest areas, the lower reaches of the Yellow River, the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the west reaches of the Zhujing River, etc.

 Characters of herbs: The roots are coniform acuminate, have few branches, 5~14 cm long, 0.3~0.8 cm wide; the surface is reddish brown or dark brown, has vertical lines, and there are many transverse small verrucous 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 a 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.

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