Chai Hu - Thorowax Root, Bupleurum

TCM Materia Medica

Chai Hu TCM Herb Classifications and Usages

The TCM herb "chai hu" which in english is Chai Hu herb"thorowax root, bupleurum", is categorized within the "herbs that release the exterior wind heat" functional grouping. It is thought to enter the gall bladder, liver, pericardium and triple heater channels and exhibits acrid, bitter (ku) and cool taste/temperature properties.

Dosages and preparations will vary according to each individual and the overall approach of a formula, but generally this herb has the following dosage and/or preparation guidelines:

  • Dosage: 3-12g

Of many possible clinical applications, it may be considered to influence the following issues/symptoms:

  • Clears shao yang disorders and reduces fever - alternating chills and fever, bitter taste in the mouth, irritability, vomiting, stifling sensation in the chest.
  • Relieves liver qi stagnation (often used with Bai Shao) - vertigo, menstrual disorders, chest and flank pain, the most common herb to treat stress, irritability, depression, etc.; also for liver and spleen disharmony - bloating, nausea, indigestion, flank pain.
  • Raises yang qi in spleen and stomach deficiency patterns (often used with Sheng Ma) - prolapsed organ, diarrhea, hemorrhoids.

Chai Hu has some precautions to be considered (see our precautions list).

  • Due to its rising and dispersing nature avoid in yin deficiency or liver yang rising.
  • May cause nausea or vomiting - use a smaller dose if necessary.

Our clinical staff have made the following notes, regarding chai hu:

  • Compare with Ge Gen and Sheng Ma.
  • Research indicates antibiotic, antiviral, and tranquilizing effects.

A single herb is not often thought of as an empirical way to influence a TCM diagnostic pattern. Chai Hu, however, is a strong candidate to be considered when needing to influence liver qi stagnation.

Chai Hu may potentially be used, in coordination with a well tailored formula (in most cases), to influence the following conditions: depression, fever, indigestion, irritability, nausea, vertigo and/or vomiting

While it may not always be included depending on the manufacturer or herbalist making the formula, chai hu is generally included in the following 24 formulas:

ViewBu Zhong Yi Qi Wan (Tonify the Middle and Augment the Qi Formula)

Coldness of the limbs, borborygmus with loose stools or diarrhea due to spleen yang deficiency. Spontaneous or easy sweating, general fatigue, changes in appetite due to spleen qi deficiency. Pale …

ViewChai Hu Gui Zhi Gan Jiang Wan (Bupleurum, Cinnamon Twig and Ginger Decoction)

Shaoyang disorder with water accumulation - A modification of xiao chai hu tang with gui zhi and gan jiang to work with mixed pattern cases of "heat above, cold below".  Generally for patients with e…

ViewChai Hu Gui Zhi Tang Wan (Bupleurum and Cinnamon Twig Decoction)

A combination of gui zhi tang and xiao chai hu tang - together they work with both taiyang and shaoyang syndromes - common colds and flu, fever, chills, joint pain, nausea, abdominal/epigastric diste…

ViewChai Hu Jia Long Gu Mu Li Wan (Bupleurum, Dragon Bone, and Oyster Shell Formula)

Palpitations, anxiety, restlessness, agitation/irritibility, and insomnia from heat due to liver yang or fire. Mental disorders such as including biopolar and schizophrenia resulting from distrubed …

ViewChai Hu Shu Gan Wan (Bupleurum Powder to Spread the Liver)

Liver qi stagnation signs - hypochondriac tension, abdominal pain, IBS symptoms Alternating chills and fever.

ViewEr Long Zuo Ci Wan (Deafness Left Supporting Pills)

Ringing in the ears/tinnitus. Unblocks the ears - useful for diminished hearing or temporary hearing loss. Red/dry eyes with blurry vision.

ViewGan Bing Zhi Ben Wan (Liver Disease Recovery Pills)

Irritibility or easily prone to outburts or anger. Liver disease such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, fatty liver. Jaundice - yellowing of the skin, brittle nails, pale complexion.

ViewGeng Nian An Wan (Peaceful Menopause)

Menopause symtpoms including hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, restlessness and anxiety as a result of yin deficiency.   Can be used for other yin deficient symtpoms such as tinnitus, dry skin…

ViewJia Wei Gui Pi Wan (Augmented Restore The Spleen Decoction)

A combination of jia wei xiao yao wan and gui pi wan - similar effects but with more spleen qi and blood tonification. A range of stress related issues - essentially mixes of stagnation with underly…

ViewJia Wei Xiao Yao Wan (Free and Easy Wanderer Pills)

Derived from the base formula, xiao yao wan, an important formula for liver qi stagnation with herbs added to clear heat. Liver qi stagnation - menstrual issues, painful cycles, irregular cycles, br…

ViewJing Fang Bai Du Wan (Schizonepeta and Siler Powder to Overcome Pathogenic Influences)

Early stages of disease arising from wind cold damp - common cold, flu, bronchitis, mumps. Early stages of skin diseases - boils, carbuncles, eczema, dermatitis with the right underlying factors. M…

ViewLi Dan Wan (Benefit The Gallbladder Pills)

A range of gallbladder, liver and related digestive/obstructive issues - clears damp heat from the liver and gall bladder in TCM terms.  Symptoms may include gallstones and/or a range of digestive is…

ViewLi Niao Pai Shi Wan (Water Stone Removal Pill)

 Useful for a range of calcifications/stones - kidney stones, bladder stones, ureter stones and when the underlying pathology is appropriate gallstones.  Generally involves collections of damp heat i…

ViewLong Dan Xie Gan Wan (Gentiana Purge Liver Formula)

Hypochondriac pain, bitter taste in the mouth, irritability, easily angered, headache, dizziness, red, and possibly sore, eyes resulting from liver fire rising. Urinary symptoms such as painful, hot…

ViewMing Mu Di Huang Wan (Rehmannia Pills to Brighten the Eyes)

Blurry vision, floaters, possibly with dryness of the eyes as a result of the liver yin failing to nourish the eyes and kidney yin failing to brighten the vision.

ViewPing Gan Liu Qi Yin Wan (Dang Gui And Pinellia Combination)

Liver qi stagnation with blood deficiency heat - signs of heat, red eyes, possibly anxiety and/or irritability, etc. along with digestive issues such as gastritis, cirrhosis, cholecystitis, hernia.…

ViewPu Ji Xiao Du Wan (Universal Benefit Decoction To Eliminate Toxin)

Acute febrile disorder (wind-heat & damp-phlegm) of the head - strong fever and chills, burning pain of head and face, red and/or swollen eyes, sore throat, aversion to cold, dryness, thirst.  …

ViewRen Shen Bai Du Wan (Ginseng Detoxification Pills)

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ViewSi Ni San Wan (Frigid Extremities Powder Pills)

Important formula for liver qi stagnation - manifesting as moodiness, depression, cold in the extremities (particularly hands and/or feet), possibly along with other stress signs - mild headaches, te…

ViewXiao Chai Hu Tang Wan (Minor Bupleurum Decoction)

Shao Yang Syndrome (or "lesser yang stage") - alternating fever and chills, hypochondriac pain, irritability, bitter taste in mouth, poor appetite, nausea.  Often used for illnesses (chronic or short…

ViewXiao Yao Wan (Free and Easy Wanderer)

Depression, anxiety, loss of motivation - resulting from liver qi stagnation. Fatigue, bloating, changes in appetite from the combination of spleen qi deficiency with liver qi stagnation. PMS, brea…

ViewXue Fu Zhu Yu Wan (Blood Stasis Relief Pills)

Qi and Blood stagnation - pain, cardiovascular issues, physical organ issues. Coronary artery disease, angina and other cardiovascular issues. Hepatitis and other liver function issues. Migraines,…

ViewYi Gan Wan (Restrain The Liver Powder)

Anxiety, palpitations, easily frightened, alternating fevers/chills; heat from deficiency in the liver.Originally designed for Children who had issues such as anger, fright, fevers, insomnia, digesti…

ViewYi Zi Wan (Decoction B)

Hemorrhoids and/or constipation from an accumulation of damp-heat and toxins in the lower jiao - possibly bleeding hemorrhoids, pain, rectal prolapse, anal itching. With the right underlying factors…

As noted above, chai hu is within the herbs that release the exterior wind heat functional group. All the herbs in this category are listed below.

(truncated intro "... many are acrid and warm severe fever with mild chills and sore throat. some are good for venting rashes or wind-heat eye problems. )".

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