The Food Reality Blog

Trust in the Power of Nature

TCM – Chai hu. Common name, Bupleurum: Edible flower and medicinal herb

Bupleurum is a short lived perennial, so for our purposes it is an annual. It has uber chic dusty green leaves on branched stems. These leaves are ‘perfoliate’ (learn this word and impress people that don’t get out much.) This means that the stems appear to grow thorough the leaf…somewhat freaky…but cool.


Growing Bupleurum – Gardening Basics

bupleurum seedling

Thoroughly weed the bed in which you are going to sow your Bupleurum seeds.

*Ensure this bed is in full sun for best results.

*Sow in May for a summer crop…and again in September for a spring crop the next year.

*Sow seeds on the surface but firm them into the ground. You are best to pre water the bed to stop the little munchkins from being washed away from the flood of water from your can, afterwards.

*You CAN start them off in pots…but direct sown plants seem to be more gutsy.

*Keep the seed bed damp during germination which will be two weeks at best…a month or more at worst.

*Try your best to keep the weeds down during the germination…they will be stealing nutrients and water from your babies.

*I space my plants to about a foot apart… but that’s really up to you.


Important Growing Information:

DAYS TO GERMINATION:14-21 days at 60°F (16°C).

SOWING:Direct seed (recommended): Where plants are to bloom in early spring, sow as soon as soil can be worked. Cover seeds with 1/4″ of soil. Thin when the first true leaves appear.


SOIL REQUIREMENTS:Average, well-drained soil.




Flower Arrangements

Green Gold

A classic filler for bouquets.

Erect plants produce 2 1/2″ yellow-lime green flowers atop long, wiry stems. Excellent for mixed bouquets and makes a unique dried flower. Also known as thoroughwax and hare’s ear. Ht. 24-36″.


Medicinal Uses & Benefits of BupleurumImage result for medicinal use of bupleurum

Medicinal Uses: * Allergies * Amenorrhea * Eyes/Vision * Liver * Nausea

Properties: * Anti-inflammatory * Antitussive * AntiViral * Hepatic * Immunostimulant * Tonic
Parts Used: root
Constituents: calcium,copper,linoleic-acid, magnesium,oleic-acid,potassium, saikosaponin-d,stigmasterol, zinc

How to Use: Bupleurum

Bupleurum is an important Chinese tonic herb for the liver and circulatory system that is not widely used by Western herbalists. As with most traditional Chinese herbs, bupleurum is rarely used alone, but is often combined with ginseng, ginger, and combined with peony to treat menstrual problems, with bitter orange peel for irregularity or loss of appetite, with scutellaria for chills and fever.

Preparation Methods & Dosage :Traditionally used in teas, sometimes encapsulated and as an extract. Bupleurum is available in the form of saikosaponin extract at Chinese pharmacies, as chai hu from practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and in combination with other herbs in many important Chinese herbal formulas. Some over-the-counter formulas available at retail stores combine bupleurum with dong quai or scutellaria.1

Bupleurum Side Effects: Bupleurum should not be used during pregnancy or if you are undergoing interferon therapy for hepatitis, or taking antibiotics. Take the tea with food.


This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner.

via Bupleurum Chinese Root Benefits.

Additional Resources

Cheung CS and Belluomini J, Traditional and new interpretation of prescriptions: the harmonizing group, Journal of the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1984; (1): 3-15.

Saruwatari J, Nakagawa K, Shindo J, Nachi S, Echizen H, Ishizaki T. The in-vivo effects of sho-saiko-to, a traditional Chinese herbal medicine, on two cytochrome P450 enzymes (1A2 and 3A) and xanthine oxidase in man. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2003 Nov;55(11):1553-9. PubMed PMID: 14713367.

Zhang H, Huang J. [Preliminary study of traditional Chinese medicine treatment of minimal brain dysfunction: analysis of 100 cases]. Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 1990 May;10(5):278-9, 260. Chinese. PubMed PMID: 2397543.

Herbal Preparations and Research:

C Katt Krespach, NTP

C Katt Krespach, NTP

C Katt Krespach, NTP is a nutritional therapist and long time activist with a passion for healing arts and social entrepreneurship, …working in both areas for over a quarter of a century. Her site has a worldwide following. is her newest project and coaches brick-and-morter business owners into global social entrepreneurship. She is an author, public speaker, and entrepreneur. You can get Katt’s free edible flowers e-book here and also watch a short documentary on how she overcame neuropathy, significant weight gain, and more with easy, natural and healing mindsets. Follow Katt on Facebook, Wordpress, Twitter, and Instagram.

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