Cháihù – Bupleurum chinensis

Chaihu roots


  • 柴胡, translates to “firewood of the barbarians”
  • Hare’s ear, thorowax root

Botanical Information

  • Bupleurum chinensis
  • We use the root, cleaned and dried – typically no further processing is done
  • Member of the Apiaceae family, that includes well known plants such as dill, parsley and fennel

Chinese herb theory information

  • Herb that releases the exterior (meaning one of its functions is to treat external invasions such as colds and flus), classically has a broader categorization
  • Associated with the Gallbladder, Liver, Pericardium and Triple Burner organ systems
  • Depending on source, considered either Bitter or Pungent in flavor. Note, “flavor” is more than just the taste one gets in the mouth from the herb.
  • Neutral to cool in nature / temperature
  • Non-toxic and typically very well tolerated
  • Is getting more expensive to acquire as Chinese herbs become more popular, as it is a very commonly used herb with significant biomedical research evidence supporting its use.
Botanical drawing of Chaihu

Uses & Notes

Cháihù is one of the most commonly used herbs in Chinese herbalism. It is a humble plant, commonly found growing on roadsides and in less fertile soil, and its name roughly translates to “barbarians kindling” referring to its woody nature and its original growing regions chiefly to the North of China.

It is incredibly versatile and can be used in conditions ranging from the common cold to difficult periods to digestive stuckness to body pain. At Watershed Wellness, we use it frequently in treating headaches, including migraines, and it is a major component of formulas that help to treat long COVID and similar illnesses.

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