In the last 60 seconds, your liver just filtered over a liter of blood.
We hardly think about the difficult work our livers do every day, and yet they continuously push to keep our bodies rid of toxins, balance our nutrients, and regulate our hormones.
As such, we as humans should do everything in our power to try to keep our livers safe and prevent liver disease. There are many ways to naturally support your liver function, such as limiting alcohol and processed food intake, exercising, and drinking plenty of water.
Now, nobody's perfect. At times we’ve all faced excessive stress, eaten some not-so-healthy meals, or stayed up drinking until dawn - these things are a part of the modern human experience, and that’s okay.
However, if you feel you’ve perhaps pushed the scale a bit past moderation, or if for any reason you think your liver could use a boost, you may be interested to learn about Bupleurum, an incredible plant whose roots are known for their liver-loving benefits.
We’ve broken down the key need-to-know facts about Bupleurum, its rich history in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and how Bupleurum Root can support both liver and overall health.
What is Bupleurum Root (Chai Hu)?
Bupleurum, also known as Chai Hu, is a genus of herbs native to Eastern Asia.
The roots of Bupleurum plants have been used for over 2,000 years in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Bupleurum root is often used in powerful medicinal blends, such as Xiao Chai Hu Tang (Sho-saiko-to) and Xiao Yao San.
Bupleurum root contains powerful compounds and flavonoids that are proven to boost immunity and support overall health. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Bupleurum has long been used as a primary ingredient to treat liver problems and fevers, and provide mood support.
What Are the Benefits of Bupleurum Root?
The uses of Bupleurum Root in Traditional Chinese Medicine are far ranging: bupleurum is often advised for those suffering from colds or fever, infection, hemorrhoids, liver disease, stomach and digestive issues, or suffering from depression or mood disorders.
How can one root tout such wide-ranging benefits? The key healing compounds found in Bupleurum are saikosaponins, phytosterols, and saikogenins.
Scientific research shows that Bupleurum may help:
- - Improve sleep quality
- - Protect the liver
- - Reduce fever
- - Support immunity
- - Prevent cancer growth
- - Improve energy levels
- - … and much more.
For example, the compounds found in Bupleurum Root have been scientifically proven to help boost immunity. Studies have found bupleurum is anti-viral and anti-inflammatory, with the capacity to help regulate the immune system. Bupleurum supports cytokines (which help to regulate the immune system), and additionally can increase lymphatic system activity.
Bupleurum has also been shown to have an autophagic effect in the body. Autophagy in the body is a complex cellular process by which cells are broken down in order to destroy impaired or abnormal proteins that may exist within the cell’s fluids.
This process helps the cells in our bodies to survive, and autophagy plays a critical role in maintaining healthy cell and hormone levels, defending our bodies against pathogens, and protecting our bodies against toxins.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Bupleurum root is best known for its ability to detoxify and support the liver. By supporting the body’s natural detoxification processes, Bupleurum root is believed to help spread liver Qi, or energy, by breaking up liver Qi stagnation.
Before we discuss the medicinal effects of Bupleurum Root on the liver, let’s first explore Liver Qi, a sacred energy source and focal point in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
What is Liver Qi Stagnation?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the liver is responsible for regulating the flow of Qi, or energy, throughout the body. This balanced energy flow is critical for our vitality and stability both physically and emotionally. Emotional turbulence, such as anger and irritability, are signs that liver Qi may be stagnating in an individual.
Liver Qi stagnation is believed to be caused by excessive external stressors, such as frustration , depression, anger , and resentment. It can also be caused by overindulgence in unhealthy foods, heavy alcohol intake, or environmental stressors.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, certain medicinal herbs and other treatments (such as acupuncture) can help to circulate Liver Qi, aiding overall vitality and well-being in individuals.
For thousands of years, Bupleurum Root has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to regulate , break up, and resolve liver Qi stagnation. The use of bupleurum for liver health is more than just an ancient belief: the healing powers of the Bupleurum Root for the liver have come to be explored and supported in modern eastern medicine, as well.
Can Bupleurum Root Help Your Liver?
Simply put, yes. Studies of Bupleurum Root have shown promise in its ability to help reduce liver injury, reduce the risk of liver cancer, support our liver’s detoxification processes, and prevent and treat cirrhosis.
The liver is responsible for cleansing and detoxifying our bodies, ensuring that our systems remain well-balanced and helping to keep us in good overall health. As mentioned, the liver is responsible for filtering more than a liter of blood every single minute, neutralizing and disposing of toxins in the body, storing vitamins and minerals for the body, and is responsible for protein synthesis.
In short, the liver has a tough job - and modern-day stressors aren’t doing this organ any favors.
When the liver is bogged down or overwhelmed, we can experience sluggishness and our bodies can react with adverse symptoms like inflammation, excess fluid retention, or nausea.
How Bupleurum Root Supports the Liver
Multiple scientific studies have proven that Bupleurum Root can aid the liver and support overall health. Here are just a few samples of studies that reinforce the use of Bupleurum for liver health:
Bupleurum Root may be hepatoprotective. Meaning, it helps protect the liver. A 2017 review of bupleurum remedies indicated that bupleurum can help protect against liver injury, predominantly through its regulation of enzymes, collagen levels, and oxidative stress. Studies show that bupleurum may also inhibit cyclooxygenase (COX), which is common in animal models of liver cancer - in doing so, it may help to prevent liver fibrosis.
The saikosaponins in Bupleurum may inhibit hepatitis viruses, which are viruses that cause inflammation of the liver. Sakosaponins may inhibit the entry of hepatitis viruses into our cells when they are still in the early stages of their viral life cycle, helping to prevent inflammation.
Bupleurum root additionally contains narcissin, which is a flavonoid that acts as an antioxidant within liver cells.
In short, the antioxidative, antiviral, and antiinflammatory effects of Bupleurum Root pose excellent benefits for the liver.
Bupleurum root can easily be incorporated into your daily routine to help support your liver, balance your emotions, and take advantage of the natural benefits bupleurum root has to offer. It can be taken on its own, or in combination with other components that compliment its benefits.
How to Take Bupleurum Root Supplements
Most anyone can benefit from introducing bupleurum root into their natural wellness tool-kit. Bupleurum root can be found dried, in ground powder form, and can be made into liquid tinctures. Often, Bupleurum root is combined with White Peony root and other herbal ingredients for a complementary effect.
Bupleurum Root supplements are widely regarded as safe for consumption, but it is important to be familiar with the below precautions:.
- Because Bupleurum describes an entire family of plants, it’s notable that some species of bupleurum are toxic - this is why it is so important to purchase Bupleurum Root from a trusted source.
- It is also possible to take too much Bupleurum Root; excessive exposure to saikosaponins could damage the liver, yet this is in very high dosages. Like anything, balance is key (as is adhering to recommended dosage).
- Bupleurum is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women, or people taking blood thinners or diabetes medications.
- Bupleurum is contra-indicated for people taking interferon treatment for liver disease.
Those who are able to safely take Bupleurum Root supplements can enjoy the benefits of this powerful root’s liver-supporting, fever-preventing, antiviral and anti-inflammatory herbal medicine.
Support Your Liver, Naturally
Your liver has a tough job, and it’s likely time to say ‘thank-you’ by providing it with some much needed support.
While one superfood herb (like Bupleurum Root) is great, we know the benefits of these medicinal herbs together create a powerful formula that you can actually feel good about taking. By combining the purest, time-tested herbs into modern plant-based supplements, we are able to create science-based formulas that are rooted in thousands of years of medicinal history and wisdom.
Our Come Clean detox support formula uses a natural superblend of powerful herbs like Bupleurum Root, Dandelion, Chrysanthemum, and Chinese Peony Root to help support the body’s natural detoxification process, improve mood, brighten skin, and boost energy.
So, if you’ve been burning the midnight oil, are trying to kickstart a new health routine, or just know you’ve been beating up your poor liver these days, try incorporating Bupleurum Root (perhaps with some other amazing natural herbs) into your routine - your liver will thank you.