Bupleurum Benefits | Digestive Health & Liver Function

Bupleurum Health Benefits

Bupleurum (Bupleurum falcatum) is a plant in the Apiaceae family, also known as the carrot or parsley family. It is native to Europe and Asia and is known for its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting effects. The roots and leaves of the bupleurum plant are commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine to improve liver function and digestive health.

Bupleurum Pharmacology

Botanical Name

Bupleurum falcatum 

Other Common Names

Bei Chai Hu, Bupleuri, Sickle-leaf & Thorow wax.

Part Used

Root & Leaves

Main Therapeutic Compounds

Saponins, lignans and flavonoids such as quercetin, kaempferol, and apigenin.

Herbal Actions





Bupleurum Herbal Benefits

Gastrointestinal Health | Liver Function | Immune support | Adrenal Health

Gastrointestinal Health

Bupleurum is traditionally used in Chinese medicine to treat gastrointestinal problems such as indigestion, bloating, and diarrhea. It is believed to have several effects on gastrointestinal health, including, Reducing inflammation, improving digestion and Reducing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The saponins and flavonoids in bupleurum are thought to have anti-inflammatory effects, which may help to reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. Bupleurum has also been shown to stimulate bile production, which can help improve digestion and prevent constipation.

One study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research examined the effects of a supplement containing bupleurum, ginger, and other herbs on the symptoms of IBS in 60 people. The study found that the supplement effectively reduced abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea symptoms.

Liver Function & Health

Bupleurum is traditionally used by herbalists and Chinese medicine to support liver health, and some research suggests that it may have liver-protective effects.A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial published in the journal Phytotherapy Research in 2011 examined the effects of a supplement containing bupleurum on liver function in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The study involved 30 people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) who were randomly assigned to receive either a supplement containing bupleurum or a placebo for 12 weeks. The researchers concluded that the supplement containing bupleurum effectively reduced liver enzymes' levels, which are chemicals released into the bloodstream when the liver is damaged or inflamed. The study also found that bupleurum may reduce levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which are risk factors for heart disease.

Adrenal Health & Stress

There is limited research on the effects of bupleurum on adrenal health. The adrenal glands are small, triangular-shaped glands on top of the kidneys that produce hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones are essential in several bodily functions, including the body's response to stress, metabolism, and blood pressure regulation.Some traditional Chinese medicine practitioners believe that bupleurum may help to support adrenal health by reducing stress and improving the body's ability to cope with stress.

Immune Support

Bupleurum is believed to have immune-boosting effects and may help to support the immune system. Research published in the Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology journal examined bupleurum's effects on the immune system. The study found that bupleurum effectively reduced inflammation and improved immune function by increasing the production of immune cells.

Bupleurum Typical Use

Dried Herb & Powder

2-6g in powder, capsule or tablet form. To make Bupleurum tea, 6-12 grams can be steeped in hot water. 

Tincture & Liquid Extract

Typical adult use of Bupleurum tincture or liquid extract is approximately 3-8mls daily in divided doses or as directed by your practitioner.

Herbal Combinations

Bupleurum combines well with Dandelion RootSchisandraSt Marys Thistle & Globe Artichoke.

Cautions & Safety

Bupleurum is not recommended during pregnancy & breastfeeding and is best avoided when taking certain medications.

It is thought that bupleurum may aggravate autoimmune disorders by stimulating the immune system.

 If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical medications, please consult your primary healthcare practitioner prior to use. 


Goodman GA, Rall TW, Nies AS, Taylor P. The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 9th ed.

Newall CA, Anderson LA, Philpson JD. Herbal Medicine: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals. London, UK: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996.

Fujiwara K and Ogihara Y. Pharmacological effects of oral saikosaponin a may differ depending on conditions of the gastrointestinal tract. Life Sci 7-28-1986;39(4):297-301. 

Hiai S, Yokoyama H, Nagasawa T, and et al. Stimulation of the pituitary-adrenocortical axis by saikosaponin of Bupleuri radix. Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin (Tokyo) 1981;29(2):495-499. 

Pistelli L, Noccioli C, Giachi I, et al. Lupane-triterpenes from Bupleurum flavum. Nat Prod Res. 2005;19(8):783-8.

Ishizaki T, Sasaki F, Ameshima S, et al. Pneumonitis during interferon and/or herbal drug therapy in patients with chronic active hepatitis. Eur Respir J 1996;9:2691-6.

Zhang Q, Zhang J, Wu Y, et al. Efficacy and safety of Bupleurum chinense DC on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytotherapy Research. 2011;25(9):1414-1419.

Luo Z, Zhong W, Gao J, et al. Bupleurum chinese DC and its active compound saikosaponin a enhance immune function. Phytotherapy Research. 2010;24(7):1051-1057.

Yamada H. Structure and pharmacological activity of pectic polysaccharides from the roots of Bupleurum falcatum L. Nippon Yakurigaku Zasshi 1995;106:229-37.


This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal primary healthcare practitioner. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Naturopath Herbals nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their doctors or qualified health professionals before beginning any herbal product, nutritional supplement or lifestyle program.