Bupleurum chinense or Bupleurumfalcatum is also commonly called Shrubby Hare’s Ear. It belongs to a broad family of Apiaceae (Umbelliferae), and its looks resembles that of dill.
This is a slowly-growing perennial herb that may reach 5 feet if mature. Bupleurum is a very branchy plant that bears numerous linear or lanceolate opposite leaves, which commonly have seven parallel veins. From June to September the herb is in bloom being practically covered with multiple small yellowish flowers gathered in compound umbel-like panicles. They have both male and female organs. Although they are, in fact, self-fertile, they are usually pollinated by insects. The flowers are then followed by elliptical capsules containing seeds.
Bupleurum is native to China, but it also grows abundantly in other parts of East Asia and Japan. The plant can flourish practically on all types of soils; however, it needs good drainage and full sun.
The roots of Bupleurum are dried and chopped to prepare herbal remedies. It should however be noted that most often this medicinal plant is used in various formulas and in combination with many different herbs. Rarely this plant is used alone for medicinal purposes.
Naturally, the traditional way of using Bupleurum is tea made of its root. These days, however, not only dried roots can be found on the market, but the encapsulated powder of the root and even its extracts are occasionally available for purchase.
Shrubby Hare’s Ear contains such constituents as bupleurumol, triterpenoid saponins (the main and most valuable of which are saikosides), flavonoids (the active one being rutin).
Saikosides in the plant are known to possess liver-protective properties guarding its proper functioning and aiding in eliminating toxins. Even people with the weakened immune system may benefit from the use of Bupleurum by restoring the health of their livers.
Moreover, saikosides increase the action of steroids in the body boosting anti-inflammatory defense of the organism.
Rutin is another compound that deserves attentions, since it was discovered to strengthen the smallest blood vessels – capillaries. Besides, it is essential for the body absorption of vitamin C, which is proven to have immune supporting properties.
The most important use of rutin is in the fight against allergies. This component is said to slow down the process of histamine release in the body, which results in the decreasing of the allergic symptoms severity.
In general, the ingredients in Bupleurum make this plant a good anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral agent. As a result, rather a number of health disorders than a single one or two may be effectively improved with the use of this plant’s remedies.
Many centuries ago people treated Bupleurum as one of the “harmony” herbs, which were capable of balancing functioning of all the parts of the body. Herbal remedies including Hare’s Ear were said to support the liver and spleen, eliminating the “disharmony” between them. Such symptoms as nausea, indigestion, and abdominal cramps were believed to be the signs of such imbalance. Nowadays these problems are still treated with this herb.
Bupleurum is also considered to be an excellent means to improve blood circulation. Fever can be reduced with the help of Hare’s Ear as well.
Modern research reports of a possibility to use Bupleurum for the treatment of bone cancer, haemorrhoids, hepatitis, irritable bowel syndrome and menstrual irregularity.