By James Madeiros
Luckily, you don’t have to be able to say it to reap the benefits of this common Chinese plant, the root of which has been in use since 280 AD.
The primary constituents in bupleurum that make it awesome are called saikosaponins, and they have anti-inflammatory properties as well as demonstrate the ability to inhibit the growth of liver cancer cells. This makes it well-suited in the treatment of problems associated with alcohol abuse, including liver cirrhosis.
Bupleurum, also sometimes called hare’s ear root or thorowax root, is particularly effective when combined with seven other herbs (pinellia tuber, scutellaria root, ginseng, jujube, licorice and ginger) to make a mixture called Sho-saiko-to that promotes the growth of chemicals in the body known as cytokines. These are thought to improve blood circulation to the liver and strengthen intestinal organs – all good things for someone who likes to tip a few back every once in a while.
Unlike other herbs with more questionable pedigree, ongoing studies show promise for the efficacy of saikosaponins, particularly in treating liver problems that can be brought on by alcohol consumption, like hepatitis and cirrhosis. The jury is still out and it’s likely no one will ever offer any guarantees on its performance, but studies have established that it’s highly unlikely it will hurt you to try it if your liver is taking a beating.
That’s good news for thirsty liver lovers everywhere.
Of course, I should remind everyone that our blog entries are for your information only and are not intended as medical advice. Because everyone is different, you should work with your medical professional to determine what’s best for you. If you’re going to drink, do it legally and responsibly; don’t be stupid =).