Chai Hu (Thorowax Root, Bupleurum) - Chinese Herbal Medicine

Chinese Name: Chai Hu
English Name: Thorowax Root, Bupleurum

Clinical Usage and Indications

  • 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.

Functional Groups (Click for Summary/Study Notes)

Dosage and Preparation Notes

  • Dosage: 3-12g

Channels/Meridians Influenced

Associated Temperature and Taste

Cautions and Contraindications

  • 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.

Staff Clinician Notes

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

Herbal Formulas Which Include This Herb

Below you will find Traditional Chinese Medicine herbal formulas which contain this particular herb (in alphabetical order). You may click on the name of the formula for more details or click on any of the products from our store to read usage information or purchase a particular formula.

  • Bu Zhong Yi Qi Wan

    Formula Functions...  

    For Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency - spontaneous sweating, aversion to cold, desire for warm beverages, shortness of breath, intermittent fever, weak speech/low voice, weak limbs, loose/watery stools.

    The Pulse will be deficient and rootless in the spleen position or simply deficient overall and the Tongue will be pale with a thin white coat.


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  • Chai Hu Jia Long Gu Mu Li Wan

    Formula Functions...  

    Used for heat that is lodged in the chest affecting all yang stages, also for phlegm in the liver/gall bladder.  Generally used for a range of psychological conditions, aiding with drug withdrawal and related issues.  Symptoms include chest oppression, anxiety, irratiblity, palpitations, excessive/delirious speech, heavy sensation of body, constipation, urinary issues.

    The Pulse will be wiry and rapid and the Tongue will be red with a slippery tongue coating.


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  • Chai Hu Shu Gan Wan

    Formula Functions...  

    Coming Soon...


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  • Er Long Zuo Ci Wan

    Formula Functions...  

    Coming Soon...


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  • Gan Bing Zhi Ben Wan

    Formula Functions...  

    Coming Soon...


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  • Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan

    Formula Functions...  

    Coming Soon...


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  • Long Dan Xie Gan Wan

    Formula Functions...  

    Hypochondriac pain, bitter taste in the mouth, irritability, easily angered, headache, dizziness, red, and possibly sore, eyes, diminished hearing and/or swollen sensation in ears/head.  May have urinary symptoms such as painful, hot urination perhaps with swollen genitalia.  Women may have leukorrhea with a strong odor.

    The Pulse will be wiry, rapid and forceful and the Tongue will be red with a yellow tongue coating.


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  • Ren Shen Bai Du Wan

    Formula Functions...  

    Coming Soon...


  • Wu Ling San Wan

    Formula Functions...  

    Coming Soon...


  • Xiao Chai Hu Tang Wan

    Formula Functions...  

    Coming Soon...


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  • Xiao Yao Wan

    Formula Functions...  

    Depression, anxiety, Headache, vertigo, hypochondriac pain, fatigue, poor appetite, bitter taste in the mouth.  In women - PMS, breast distention, irregular menstruation, fertility issues.

    The Pulse will be wiry and deficient and the Tongue will be pale-red/purplish.


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    • Xiao Yao Pian
    • Ease Tonic (concentrated capsules of xiao yao wan, easier to take over longer periods of time)
    • Jia Wei Xiao Yao Pian (modified version with the addition of heat clearing herbs, better for issues listed above along with skin issues such as eczema or dermatitis and/or stronger headaches, flushed face, etc.)

  • Xue Fu Zhu Yu Wan

    Formula Functions...  

    Coming Soon...