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Item # Packet size Nett Weight Number Seeds(approx) Price Qty
Small 0.19 g 100 Seeds $4.00
Medium 0.38 g 200 Seeds $7.00
Large 0.95 g 500 Seeds $12.00

Please note: all seeds are sold by weight and seed count is approximate.

To keep seed prices low much of our seed is semi cleaned. More Info


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.

Description of Chinese thorowax root (Bupleurum chinense).
Tough perennial plant hardy to zone 6 possibly 5 with heavy mulching. This delicate looking plant strongly resembles fennel or dill at first glance. However the leaves of this plant are long and thin and not branched as the others are. The initial leaves that appear are more grass like than feathery but as they grow they become narrower and the plant branches out forming a more airy structure that more resembles fennel. Growing to about 36 inches (91.4 cm) in height it can spread 24 inches (61 cm) in width and tends to sprawl rather than stand up straight. The flowers appear much later than in its look alikes often as late as August n zone 7 then continuing to flower right up until a hard frost knocks it down. Flowers appear in delicate open umbels of yellowish green flowers. Each flower is tiny but clustered in the open umbels they produce interesting if widely space flower heads that attract pollinators. Seeds are formed and begin to ripen late in the autumn and continue until frost. Plants will flower from seed in the first year. Plants form thicker roots which allows them to overwinter and it is the roots that are used Medicinally. The foliage is far more bitter than its look alikes and is less likely to be bothered by wildlife.

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.

Location and Care of Chinese thorowax root (Bupleurum chinense).
Needs a sunny location in good fertile well drained soil for best results. Adding organic material to your soil before planting is suggested. Its not fussy about soil type but it must be well drained. Some regular watering is required. A soaker hose along the row or snaked between plants is suggested to keep the soil just moist. Amount will depend on soil and rainfall in your area.

Harvesting Chinese thorowax root (Bupleurum chinense).
Roots are harvested in autumn through winter if ground is not frozen and can be dried for later use.

Culinary Uses of Chinese thorowax root (Bupleurum chinense).
While the leaves and young shoots can be cooked and eaten they tend to be more bitter and perhaps ignored unless there is no other food.

Medical uses of Chinese thorowax root (Bupleurum chinense).
Where this plant shines is in its medicinal uses. It has been used in Traditional Chinese medicine for over 2000 years as well as Japanese Kampo medicine and is used to harmonize the body bringing it back into balance and is present is several of their important formulas especially Xiao Chai Hu Tang also known as Sho-saiko-to.
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.

In all cases Bupleurum chinense was used in combination with other herbs in a formula, which is traditional with both Chinese and Western medicine. taking the herb alone without its synergistic herbs may not produce the same effect and may have unexpected results.

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.

Other names.
Bei Chai Hu, Bupleurum, chai hu, chai hu chaiku-saiko, chaifu, chaihu, chinese thoroughwax, chinese thoroughwax root, hare's ear root, northern chinese thorowax root, radix bupleuri, saiko, shi ho, shoku-saiko, sho-saiko-to, shrubby hare's ear, sickle-leaf hare's ear, siho, thorowax, Thorowax root, wa-saiko, xiao chai hu tang, yamasaiko.