Bupleurum (generic name)

treats Fever, Hepatitis, Brain damage, Thrombocytopenic purpura, and Hepatocellular carcinoma
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Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

Apiaceae (family), bei chai hu, beichaihu, bupleuran 2IIc, Bupleurum chinese D.C., Bupleurum exaltatum, Bupleurum falcatum, Bupleurum falcatum L. var. scorzonerifolium, Bupleurum fruticosum L., Bupleurum ginghausenii, Bupleurum longifolium, Bupleurum multinerve, Bupleurum octoradiatum, bupleuri radix (Latin), bupleuri radix saponins, bupleurum root, Bupleurum rotundifolium L., Bupleurum scorzonerifolium Willd, Bupleurum stewartianum, chai hu, chaifu, chaihu (Chinese), chai hu chaiku-saiko, Chinese thoroughwax root, echinocystic acid 3-O-sulfate, hare's ear root (English), He Jie Decoction, hydroxysaikosaponins, isochaihulactone, juk-siho, kara-saiko, Minor Bupleurum Decoction, mishima-saiko, nanchaihu, northern Chinese thorowax root, phenylpropanoids, radix bupleur, saiko (Japanese), saikospanonins, segl-hareore (Danish), shi ho, sho-saiko-to, shoku-saiko, shrubby hare's-ear, sickle-leaf hare's-ear, siho (Korean), thorowax, thoroughwax, TJ-9, triterpene saponins, Umbelliferae (family), wa-saiko, xiao chai hu tang, yamasaiko.

Background

Bupleurum (Bupleurum falcatum, Bupleurum fruticescens) has been widely used for over 2,000 years in Asia and is used today in Japan and China for hepatitis, cirrhosis, and other conditions associated with inflammation. Other traditional uses that are not supported by human scientific studies include the treatment of deafness, dizziness, diabetes, wounds, and vomiting. Bupleurum's root is an important ingredient in xiao-chai-hu-tan/sho-saiko-to, also known as Minor Bupleurum Decoction, a combination of nine herbs, including ginseng, ginger, and licorice, which is used in traditional Chinese and Japanese herbal medicine for hepatitis and cirrhosis.

Clinical studies have suggested that this combination may be effective in the treatment of hepatitis B and in the prevention of hepatocellular carcinoma. The mixture has also shown some promise as a liver-protecting agent and as an adjuvant in the treatment of HIV infection. The effect of bupleurum is inseparable from the effects of the other ingredients in xiao-chai-hu-tan/sho-saiko-to, and thus it is difficult to make any firm conclusions based on studies of this combination product. However, because there is some promising early clinical evidence of efficacy for these formulae in the treatment and prevention of hepatitis-associated liver disease, a number of the studies of the combination preparations are included in this review.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Brain damage (minimal, in children): An herbal combination formula containing bupleurum has been used as a treatment for children with minimal brain dysfunction. Early study is inconclusive, and additional study is needed to make a firm recommendation.
Grade: C

Fever: Chinese studies have suggested that bupleurum may be helpful for reducing fever. However, additional study is needed to draw a firm conclusion about safety and effectiveness. In traditional Chinese medicine, bupleurum is often used in combination with other herbs.
Grade: C

Hepatitis: Traditional use from China, as well preliminary human study, seems to suggest that bupleurum and/or herbal combination formulas containing bupleurum may be helpful in the treatment of chronic hepatitis. Further research is warranted to draw a firm recommendation.
Grade: C

Hepatocellular carcinoma (prevention): Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) arises predominantly in patients with cirrhosis, both hepatitis-associated and non-hepatitis associated. Sho-saiko-to, the Japanese version of the classical bupleurum-based formula, has been examined for a possible role in preventing the development of HCC in patients with cirrhosis. Early study suggests that this formula may help prevent progression to HCC in patients with cirrhosis, although more study is needed for a strong recommendation.
Grade: C

Thrombocytopenic purpura: Primary thrombocytopenic purpura may respond in some cases to treatment with bupleurum-containing herbal formulas. However, currently there is insufficient available evidence for or against the use of bupleurum for this indication.
Grade: C

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