Chai Hu

Bupleuri Radix, Bupleurum


Decoction 3-10g, or pill or powder.


LD50 (mice/crude saikosaponin): 4.70g/kg (gastrolavage), 1.90g/kg (hypodermic injection), 70.0mg/kg (IV injection), 112mg/kg (abdominal injection). (1)

Chemical Composition

Hexanoic acid; Pentanoic acid; Heptanoic Acid; 2-heptenoic acid; Octanoic acid; 2-Octenoic acid; Nonanoic acid; 2-nonenoic acid; Phenol; Cresol; Ethylphenol; O-methoxyphenol; (-heptalactone; (-octalactone; (-decalactone; Eugenol; (-undecalactone; Thymol; Messoia lactone; Vanillin acetate; 2-methyl cyclopentanone; Pulegone; Carvacrone; Carveol; Myrtenol; (-terpineol; Linalool; Geraniol; n-tridecane; Nootkatone; (E)-geranyl acetone; Limonene; Myrcene; (-cubebene; (-cadinene; Humulene; Caryophyllene; Longifolene; Hexadecanoic acid; Saikosponin a,1; Saikosponin d, 2; Saikosponin c, 3; Saikosponin f, 4; Saikosponin b3, 5; Saikosponin b2, 6; Saikosponin b1; saik osaponin m, IV; Saikosponin n, IX; Saikosponin, t, 7; Galactose; Glucose; Arabinose; Xylose; Ribose; Rhmanose; Lignoceric acid; Hexahydrofamesyl acerone. (2) , (3) , (4) , (5) , (6) , (7) , (8) , (9) , (10) , (11)

Inorganic Chemicals

Mo, Se, Fe, Zn


Contraindications: hyperactive liver-yang and movement of endogenous liver-wind. Reported adverse effects of Chai Hu include: allergic papula, (12) allergic shock, fainting, rapid decrease in body temperature and heartbeat, and spastic laryngemphraxis. (13) , (14) , (15) , (16) , (17) , (18)


Antipyretic effects

Experiments on rabbits show that Chai Hu has an antipyretic effect on the fever induced by 2, 4-dinitrophenol, yeast, or illness. (19)

Anti-inflammatory effects

Chai Hu processed by various methods unvaryingly has an inhibitory effect on dimethyl benzene-induced auricular concha inflammation in mice. This effect of Chai Hu is more pronounced in the wine-processed version than in the unprocessed and vinegar-processed versions. (20)

Effects on cell growth

Saikosaponin d (SSd) can adjust upward the mRNA expression of HL-60 cell glucocorticoid hormone receptors, and induce cell death. (21) Chai Hu can block the effect of withdrawing phenobarbital sodium on hepatic cells in mice. (22)

Anti-viral effect

Chai Hu can significantly inhibit chick embryo flu virus, arrest lung tissue's exudative lesion, decrease pneumonia virus-induced death rate in mice, and counteract dixamethasone's inhibitory effect on macrophagocytes' phagocytosis. (23) Chai Hu injection has a significant inhibitory effect on respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Chai Hu injection's TD0, IC50, MTC, and therapeutic index (TI) values against RSV are 1000 (g/ml, 500 (g/ml, 250 (g/ml, and 4, respectively. (24)

Effects on the liver

Chai Hu has an ameliorative effect on damages to isolated mouse liver caused by hypoxia/oxygen resumption. A comparison between the Chai Hu-treated group and the hypoxia group shows that: 1) the Chai Hu-treated group had relatively mild hepatic tissue damages; 2) the Chai Hu-treated group had significantly less dehydrogenase leakage; 3) the difference in GSH and xanthine dehydrogenase (XOD) levels between the two groups was significant; and 4) the Chai Hu-treated group had a delayed MDA production. (25) Furthermore, experiments show that vinegar-processed Chai Hu can significantly lower the SGPT level in carbon tetrachloride-poisoned mice, (26) and that saikosaponin can protect hepatic cells. (27)

Counteracting nephritis

Experiments show that saikosaponin-d (SSd) can decrease urine protein, lower blood lipids, and ameliorate pathological glomerular changes in anti-basement membrane nephritis. It can also enhance the activity of serum adrenocortical hormone (ACTH), corticosterone, nephritic tissue glucocorticoid hormone receptor, and radical oxygen scavenger, and red blood cell immune functions. (28)

Other effects

1) Chai Hu polysaccharides have an anti-radiation effect.


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  2. Yang Yong Jian, et al. Journal of Chinese Materia Medica. 1993;24(6):289-291.
  3. Guo Ji Xian, et al. Journal of Shanghai Medical University. 1990;17(4):278-282.
  4. Jia Qi, et al. Journal of Pharmacy. 1989;24(12):961.
  5. Liang Hong, et al. Journal of Pharmacology. 1998;33(1):37-41.
  6. Tian Zhen Qun, et al. Journal of Shenyang College of Pharmacy. 1993;10(2):82-84, 93.
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  10. Song Chang Xian. Journal of Plant Physiology. 1987;(4):33.
  11. Yang Xue Jian, et al. Hebei Journal of TCM. 1989;11(4):43.
  12. Li Liu Qian, et al. Zhejiang Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 1984;19(9):471.
  13. Cai Yun. Sichuan Journal of TCM. 1985;3(7)21.
  14. Chen Guo Ding, et al. Zhejiang Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 1992;27(9):412.
  15. Feng Xian Min. Guangxi Journal of Medicine. 1986;8(1):45.
  16. Chen You Hong. Sichuan Journal of TCM. 1988;6(12):29.
  17. Li Gang Yi, et al. Guangxi Journal of Medicine. 1989;12(1):30.
  18. Chen Guo Ding, et al. China Journal of Integrated Medicine. 1992;12(9):inside cover.
  19. Zhang Qing Ye, et al. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine Material. 1997;20(3):147-149.
  20. Liu Wei, et al. Henan Journal of TCM Pharmacy. 1998;13(4):10-12.
  21. Sun Ji Hu, et al. China Journal of Hematology. 1999;20(1):354-356.
  22. Chen Dong Hong, et al. Journal of Fourth Military Medical College. 1998;19(3):279-280.
  23. Wang Sheng Chun, et al. Journal of Shizhen Medicine. 1998;9(5):418-419.
  24. Liao Chuan Sheng, et al. Shenzhen Journal of Integrated Medicine. 1999;9(2):20-21.
  25. Tang Bing, et al. Journal of Chinese Materia Medica. 1998;29(12):814-817.
  26. Chen Qing Lian, et al. Journal of Chinese Patented Medicine. 1994;16(3):22-23.
  27. Chen Shuang, et al. China Journal of TCM Theories. 1999;5(5):21-25.
  28. Liang Yun, et al. Journal of Second Military Medical College. 1999;20(7):416-419.