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chai hu 柴胡

by: Joe Hing Kwok Chu

Click here to see picture of chai hu herb.  按此看柴胡飲片圖

Pharmaceutical name:

藥 名 ﹕

Radix Bupleuri

Biological name:

拉 丁 學 名 ﹕

Bupleurum chinense DC. (北柴胡)

Bupleurum falcatum L. (銀柴胡)

Bupleurum scorzonerifolium Wild.(紅柴胡,南柴胡,細柴胡,軟柴胡)

Pron. in Japanese:

日 語 發 音 ﹕


Pron. in Korean:

韓 語 發 音 ﹕


Pron. in Cantonese: 粵 音 ﹕

caai4 wu4

Common Name:

英 文 ﹕

thorowax root, hare's ear root

Other names:


chun chai hu (literally spring chai hu)春柴胡, chai hu 柴胡, di xun 地熏, zi hu 茈胡, shan cai 山菜, ru cao 茹草, chai cao  柴草, ruan chai hu 軟柴胡, ying chai hu硬柴胡, ya hu芽胡, ya chai hu 芽柴胡, chun hu 春胡, nan hu 南胡, chai hu 才胡, di xun 地薰, yun gao 芸蒿

  1. Bupleurum chinense: bei chai hu (literally northern chai hu), ying chai hu (literally hard chai hu)

  2. Bupleurum scorzonerifolium: nan chai hu (literally southern chai hu), xi chai hu (literally thin chai hu), ruan chai hu (literally soft chai hu)


  1. 北柴胡( 硬柴胡 [Bupleurum chinense]) ,

  2.  南柴胡( 細柴胡,軟柴胡[Bupleurum scorzonerifolium]



分 佈 ﹕

  1. Bupleurum chinense DC. (north chai hu) is mainly produced in Liaoning, Gansu, Hebei, Henan.

  2. Bupleurum scorzonerifolium Wild.(south chai hu or xi chai hu or ruan chai hu) is mainly produced in Hubei, Jiangsu, Sichuan.


  1. 北柴胡(硬柴胡)主產 遼 寧 、甘 肅 、 河北、河南。

  2. 南柴胡(細柴胡,軟柴胡)主產 湖北、江 蘇 、四川。

Properties (characteristics)﹕

性 味 ﹕

bitter, slightly cold.

苦 ﹐ 略 寒 。

Channels (meridians) entered:

歸 經 ﹕

liver, gall bladder, pericardium, triple fire

Actions & Indications:

主 治 ﹕

to disperse heat and fever, improve yang. For cold and influenza, alternating chill and fever, malaria, liver qi stagnation, qi stagnation, fullness in chest and rib cage, irregular menses, prolapse of uterus, and prolapse of rectum.

疏散 退熱,升陽舒肝。用于感冒發熱, 寒熱往來, 瘧疾, 肝鬱  氣滯, 胸脅脹痛, 脱肛, 子宫脱垂, 月經不不調。

Medical Function:


Medical Function:

  1. calming effect on CNS

  2. pain relieving,

  3. antipyretic, reducing heat

  4. anti inflammation

  5. effect on immune system

  6. effect on digestive system

  7. effect on heart and blood vessels

  8. effect on excretion of urine﹕small amount improves urination and large amount does not have the effect

  9. anti tumor

  10. anti bacteria, virus, and amoeba

  11. effect on metabolism

  12. anti HBV

  13. improves liver function


  1. 鎮靜,

  2. 解熱

  3. 鎮痛

  4. 抗炎

  5. 促進免疫功能

  6. 消化系統作用

  7. 心血管作用

  8. 抗癌作用

  9. 利尿作用﹕小量有利尿作用﹔大劑量無此作用

  10. 抗菌及抗流感病毒

  11. 新陳代謝作用

  12. 改善肝功能

Chemical ingredients:

化 學 成 份 ﹕

1. Vaporizing oils: 2-methyl cyclopentaone, limonene, myrcene, (+)-carvone, trans-tarved carveol, pulegone, myrtenol, α-terpineol, linalool, geraniol, n-tridecane, (E) - geranylacetone, α-cubebene, humulene, trans-caryophyllene, longifolene, nootkatone, hexadecanoic acid, hexahydrofarnesylacetone, pentanic acid, caproic acid, heptylic acid, 2-heptenic acid, caprylic acid, 2-octenic acid, pelargonic acid, 2-nonenic acid, phenol, O-methoxy phenol, gamma-heptalactone, gamma-decalactone, eugenol, gamma-undecalactone, methyl phenol, ethyl phenol, thymol, messoia lactone, vanillin acetate.

β-terpinene, limonene, β-fenchene, pulegone, isoborneol, β-terpineol, α-copaene, humulene, a-farnesene, aromadendrene, cis-caryophyllene, trans-caryophyllene, β-elemene, gamma-muurolene, patchoulane, nootkatone, ledol.

2. Saponins: Saikosaponin, saikogenin, longispinogenin.

3. Organic acids: Oleic acid, linolenic acid, palmitic acid, steaeric acid, lignoceric acid.

4. Ethanol  group: α-spinasterol, delta7-stimasteneol, delta22-stigmaastenol, stigmasterol, adonitol, bupleuromol.

5. Others: Angelicin, calcium, potassium, aluminum, oxalic acid.


用 量 ﹕

3 to 12 g

3~12 克 。

Samples of formulae:

處方舉 例﹕

xiao chai hu tang 小柴胡湯,

chai hu gui zhi gan jiang tang 柴胡桂枝乾薑湯

Formula for Eye Viral Infection 眼睛病毒感染

See list of  other chai hu formulae 其他柴胡方劑

Modern Application:


Modern Application:

  1.  to reduce fever

  2.  cough

  3.  viral infection of the liver

  4.  to lower ALT and AST : [6]

  5.  for high lipids of blood

  6.  globus hystericus


  1. 解熱

  2. 止咳嗽

  3. 肝臟病毒感染

  4. 降肝臟 ALT 與  AST

  5. 高血脂

  6. 梅核氣

More to upload



It is mildly toxic. Not for use in cases of yin deficiency cough or headache due to ascending liver fire.

Overdose causes headaches, dizziness, vomiting, tremors, gastroenteritis, and pathogenic erections.

There were report of cases of mortality of  broncho-interstitial pneumonia suspected were being caused by the combined use of chai hu formulae and interferon.

Large dosages and/or long term usage can be toxic to kidneys.

有將 柴胡製劑與干擾素併用,引發間質性肺炎而死亡的案例。

大劑 量或長期服用可能對 腎臟有毒

  1. Fried chai hu: put chai hu pieces in frying pan and fry to slightly charred. Aged wine or wheat bran can also be added for the stir-frying. After stir frying, the characteristics of the herb will be not be so cold and can enhance the yang characteristics of the body when taken. Jiu chai hu (wine treated chai hu) can enhance blood circulation, and enhance yang function.

  2. Cu chao chai hu (vinegar stir fried chai hu): Mix chai hu slicess with vinegar (chai hu 100 kg to 10 kg), let sit for a short time, and set the pot and the mixture on the stove and gently stir-fry until slightly charred. Spread out to dry. After this process, cu chai hu is known for entering the liver channel and also in arresting pain.

  3. Soft shell turtle blood chai hu: Evenly mix chai hu slices with soft shell turtle blood and rice wine (100 Kg of turtle blood and 150 Kg of rice wine). Stir. Pan fry till dry. Take out and spread out to air cool. After this process, the function of the herb is enhanced in its antipyretic effect in nourishing yin and removing heat, ridding of malaria, removing lumps, especially effective for liver stagnation with yin deficient, particularly appropriate gu zhen lao re condition.

  4. Ruan chai hu (soft chai hu): after harvesting the above ground stems and leaves, removing the old stalks, dry, tie into bundle, it is sold as ruan chai hu (soft Bupleurum) also call miao chai hu (sprout Bupleurum).


  1. 炒柴胡: 以柴胡片於鍋中清炒至微焦為度,亦可加陳酒或麩皮拌炒,炒後可避其涼性,而增升舉清陽之效。 酒柴胡增強活血,升陽通經作用。

  2. 醋炒柴胡: 取柴胡片,用米醋拌勻(柴胡100公斤用米醋10公斤),稍悶,置鍋內用文火炒至略見焦斑時,取出攤開晾干收貯。經製後獨入肝經 ,增強舒肝和血、止痛之功。

  3. 鱉血柴胡: 取柴胡片用鱉血和黃酒拌勻(每公斤柴胡,用鱉血100克與黃酒150克和勻稀釋後拌柴胡),入鍋內用文火炒干。取出攤晾收貯,炮 制後增強其滋陽退熱作用,能養陰制瘧,消痞塊,對肝郁而陰虧者尤宜應用,適用於骨蒸勞熱等症。

  4. 軟柴胡:收割地上莖葉,去掉老莖稈,晒乾,捆扎成把,即為軟柴胡(苗柴胡)

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Last update: Jan 13, 2016; 12:06 a.m. LAH