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:

  • Bu Zhong Yi Qi Wan (Tonify the Middle and Augment the Qi Formula) - Coldness of the limbs, borborygmus with loose stools or dia…
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  • Chai Hu Gui Zhi Gan Jiang Wan (Bupleurum, Cinnamon Twig and Ginger Decoction) - Shaoyang disorder with water accumulation - A modification …
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  • Chai Hu Gui Zhi Tang Wan (Bupleurum and Cinnamon Twig Decoction) - A combination of gui zhi tang and xiao chai hu tang - toget…
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  • Chai Hu Jia Long Gu Mu Li Wan (Bupleurum, Dragon Bone, and Oyster Shell Formula) - Palpitations, anxiety, restlessness, agitation/irritibility…
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  • Chai Hu Shu Gan Wan (Bupleurum Powder to Spread the Liver) - Liver qi stagnation signs - hypochondriac tension, abdomina…
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  • Er Long Zuo Ci Wan (Deafness Left Supporting Pills) - Ringing in the ears/tinnitus. Unblocks the ears - useful f…
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  • Gan Bing Zhi Ben Wan (Liver Disease Recovery Pills) - Irritibility or easily prone to outburts or anger. Liver d…
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  • Geng Nian An Wan (Peaceful Menopause) - Menopause symtpoms including hot flashes, night sweats, moo…
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  • Jia Wei Gui Pi Wan (Augmented Restore The Spleen Decoction) - A combination of jia wei xiao yao wan and gui pi wan - simi…
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  • Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan (Free and Easy Wanderer Pills) - Derived from the base formula, xiao yao wan, an important f…
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  • Jing Fang Bai Du Wan (Schizonepeta and Siler Powder to Overcome Pathogenic Influences) - Early stages of disease arising from wind cold damp - commo…
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  • Li Dan Wan (Benefit The Gallbladder Pills) - A range of gallbladder, liver and related digestive/obstruc…
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  • Li Niao Pai Shi Wan (Water Stone Removal Pill) -  Useful for a range of calcifications/stones - kidney stone…
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  • Long Dan Xie Gan Wan (Gentiana Purge Liver Formula) - Hypochondriac pain, bitter taste in the mouth, irritability…
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  • Ming Mu Di Huang Wan (Rehmannia Pills to Brighten the Eyes) - Blurry vision, floaters, possibly with dryness of the eyes …
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  • Ping Gan Liu Qi Yin Wan (Dang Gui And Pinellia Combination) - Liver qi stagnation with blood deficiency heat - signs of…
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  • Pu Ji Xiao Du Wan (Universal Benefit Decoction To Eliminate Toxin) - Acute febrile disorder (wind-heat & damp-phlegm) of t…
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  • Ren Shen Bai Du Wan (Ginseng Detoxification Pills) - Coming Soon...
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  • Si Ni San Wan (Frigid Extremities Powder Pills) - Important formula for liver qi stagnation - manifesting as …
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  • Xiao Chai Hu Tang Wan (Minor Bupleurum Decoction) - Shao Yang Syndrome (or "lesser yang stage") - alternating f…
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  • Xiao Yao Wan (Free and Easy Wanderer) - Depression, anxiety, loss of motivation - resulting from li…
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  • Xue Fu Zhu Yu Wan (Blood Stasis Relief Pills) - Qi and Blood stagnation - pain, cardiovascular issues, phys…
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  • Yi Gan Wan (Restrain The Liver Powder) - Anxiety, palpitations, easily frightened, alternating fever…
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  • Yi Zi Wan (Decoction B) - Hemorrhoids and/or constipation from an accumulation of dam…
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    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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