Also known as Bei Chai Hu. An important medicinal herb to help cleanse the liver and stimulate the immune system. Thorowax root is as the name suggests grown for its roots, but the plant is a tough perennial hardy to zone 6. The initial leaves look more like grass or corn plants but soon grow longer and resemble fennel or dill with similar looking small yellow flowers. The foliage is far more bitter than the familiar herbs however which helps keep the wildlife from eating it, but does not prevent many pollinators from visiting especially since it flowers far later than most of those in the carrot family (like fennel and dill) and will often flower right up until frost giving pollinators a final opportunity at nectar before winter arrives. Very easy to grow and maintain returning every year if not dug up for its medicinal roots.
NOTE. Do not confuse this plant with Hares Ear (Bupleurum rotundifolium), an annual plant with larger green flowers that look very similar to Euphorbia's and have spear shaped leaves that wrap around the stem. This annual plant is often used by florists for its attractive flowers but is not used medicinally.
Growing Chinese thorowax root (Bupleurum chinense) from Seed.
Very easy to grow from seed. Best sow indoors in late winter for early start, and because the initial leaves look like grass it can be easily mistaken for a weed if sown outside so if direct sowing care must be taken not to remove your new plants as they appear.
Germination can take longer than many other plants and depends on growing conditions. In a warm well lit environment they can germinate in 12-16 days but if colder they can take up to 8 weeks to appear. Transplant to individual pots as the seedlings become large enough to handle and grow on well before transplanting outside well after frost has passed. See our General Growing Instructions for more details on seed starting.
The roots contain substances called saikosides that many studies have shown help to protect the liver from toxicity and strengthen its function which leads to an increased anti inflammatory effect that can become very strong. Therefore it is used most prominently for liver disorders and improve immune health. It can help to cleanse the liver and improve its function of helping it to detoxify the body. This helps disorders such as cirrhosis, hepatitis, uterine and rectal prolapse, haemorrhoids, sluggish liver, menstrual disorders and abdominal bloating. Since these compounds also stimulate the body's production of corticosteroids its been shown effective in treatment of mild depression caused by PMS, menopause and other hormonal related depressions. It can also help to regulate adrenal function for those with adrenal insufficiency bringing the body back into order and helping to restore health.
The heighten anti inflammatory effects make is useful in helping the body fight of virus and bacterial effects so are useful in treatment of HIV, malaria and corona virus although more studies are needed on the latter as only one is so far reported.
Other studies have shown positive results in the treatment of epileptic episodes and Ovarian Cancer with the possibility that other forms of cancer may also be combated by this herb.
Since Bupleurum can increase immune system activity, it might decrease the effectiveness of immunosuppressant drugs. Do not begin taking this herb alone or in combination before discussing it with your doctor.
Care should always be taken during pregnancy or if you are undergoing interferon therapy for hepatitis, or taking antibiotics.