Scientific name: Bupleurm falacatum, B. chinense, B chinensis, B. scorzonerifolium, B. longiradiatum (toxic)

Common names: Chai Hu, Hare’s Ear Root

Ayurvedic names:

Chinese names: Chai Hu, Chinese thorowax root, Hare’s Ears, Sickle Leaves Hare’s Ear, 

Bangladesh names: Bupleurum sinensis

Arabic names:     تشي – هو (chai hu)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Umbelliferae (carrot)

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Root

Collection: It is commonly carried out during autum and spring

Annual/Perennial: Herbs perenial, rarely annual, glabrous. Its root stock is usually short and woody. It is an herb and usually grown in a native part of East Asia. 

Height: 45-85cm

Actions: anti-inflammatory, anti-tussive, diaphoretic, hepatoprotective

Known Constituents: Triterpenoid saponins (saikosaponin a,b1,b2,b3,b4,c,d,e and f) sapogenins, pectin like polysaccarides (bupleurans)

Constituents Explained:


The leaves are appromiately 3-9cm long, and .6-1.3cm wide.  It has yellow flowwers. The root is 6-15cm long, and .3-.8cm in diameter.

Traditional Use:

Commonly used in China and Japan, it is used to regulate mennstration and a prolasped womb.  When not used for these specific female complaints it is used for a broad range of functions.  Some uses include a protectant for the liver and kidneys.7

It has been used as an anti inflammtory in some ways similar to the way steroid medication is employed.

It has also been used for colds, flus, fevers7 and to support the immune system.  Used as an anti-inflammatory.7

Clinical Studies:

Saikosaponins, the main active constituents of Bupleurum spp., have been shown to possess immunomodulatory, hepatoprotective, anti-tumor and anti-viral activities. Saikosaponins a, c and d were evaluated for cytotoxicity and anti-hepatitis B virus ( HBV) activities.

Results showed that, with the exception of saikosaponins a and d, HBV-transfected human hepatoma cells cultured with saikosaponin c showed a significantly lower level of HBeAg in culture medium. 

Saikosaponin c also possessed activity in inhibiting HBV DNA replication; this inhibitory effect was not due to the cytotoxicity of saikosaponin c or its effect on hepatoma cell proliferation. Although saikosaponin d exhibited cytotoxicity on hepatoma cells, it failed to inhibit HBV multiplication.

The cytotoxicity of saikosaponin d against HepG2 human hepatocellular carcinoma cells was due to the induction of apoptosis through the activation of caspases 3 and 7, which subsequently resulted in poly-ADP-ribose-polymerase (PARP) cleavage. DNA fragmentation was clearly noted at more than 6 h after HepG2 cells exposure to saikosaponin d. 

The present study concludes that saikosaponin c exhibits anti-HBV activity and saikosaponin d possesses potent cytotoxicity against human hepatocellular carcinoma cells.


Chiang LC, Ng LT, Liu LT, Shieh DE, Lin CC. “Cytotoxicity And Anti-Hepatitis B Virus Activities Of Saikosaponins From Bupleurum Species.” 2003 August