What is Bupleurum & What are its Benefits and Side Effects?

What is Bupleurum?

Bupleurum is an herbal supplement that is obtained from the roots of the bupleurum plant. It is known for its liver-cleansing benefits. The roots of this plant are dried and ground into powder. It is also known to support immune health, boost mood and fight against inflammation. (1)

Studies show the antiviral and anti-tumor effects of bupleurum with a note stating an excessive intake would damage the liver. (2)

Benefits of Bupleurum

There are various animal and test-tube studies that show several health benefits of bupleurum.

1. Helps to Manage Diabetes

Bupleurum is known to be effective in preventing neuropathy, a common complication in people suffering from type 2 diabetes. Neuropathy is a condition in which prolonged type 2 diabetes leads to damage of small blood vessels of the eye and extremities. The nerve damage causes loss of sensation that may be harmful in case of injury.

A study done on rats for 6 weeks found bupleurum effective in reducing blood sugar and lowering inflammation and improving gut microbiota. (3)

In another study, mice with diabetes were given bupleurum for 2 days. It was found they had reduced blood sugar and increased insulin level. (4)

These studies are mostly done on animals and human studies are needed to find the effectiveness of this herb in humans.

2. Benefits of Bupleurum in Strengthening the Immune Health

A proactive immune system is important for preventing illness.

Studies suggest that bupleurum is effective in strengthening immune health. In one study, rats were given either bupleurum or anti-inflammatory medication. It was found that bupleurum inhibited the production of inflammatory compounds known as cytokine. (5)

In another study, the roots of bupleurum rotundifolium was seen having anti-inflammatory effects. (6)

A human study was done in which the effectiveness of herbal preparation of bupleurum and Tamiflu was compared. Bupleurum decoction was found to be 93.3% more effective in treating influenza (H1N1). (7)

3. Prevent Liver Disease

Bupleurum is known for its effectiveness in treating liver problems.

A study was done to examine the claim that bupleurum soothes the liver and cures liver injury. It involved numerous herbal preparations including bupleurum. It was found that bupleurum was effective in protecting liver damage by regulating calcium levels within cells. (8)

Side Effects of Bupleurum

A review found a compound present in the bupleurum may lead to inflammation and lesions in the liver if high doses of this herb are consumed in a short time. (8)

A rat study had a similar claim to prove. It showed liver damage can occur within 1-2 weeks at a dose of 22.7-56.8 grams per pound of body weight. (9)

A study was done on people with hepatitis B. It was found that on giving 19 grams of bupleurum daily, the risk of hospitalization due to liver damage increased. (10)

Those with liver cirrhosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver, and jaundice should consult a healthcare professional before taking this herb.

As bupleurum activates the immune system those with autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or other conditions should avoid using this herb as it would increase their symptoms.

Saikosaponins are the chemicals present in the bupleurum that might worsen bleeding disorders (11). Therefore those with diabetes should be careful while taking bupleurum. Also, those planning to go ahead with surgery should avoid it.

How to Take Bupleurum?

Bupleurum is available in capsules, drops, and dried roots.

Dosage of bupleurum depends on the age, health, and several other conditions of a person. It is a natural product but, do not forget these products are not safe always or for everyone.

Its high doses should be avoided due to the side effects related. Also, a healthcare professional should be consulted before starting it.

Bupleurum is a natural remedy for many conditions. But, most of the research proving these benefits are done on animals. More human studies are needed to look over the effectiveness of this natural remedy. Still, if you are planning to give it a try consult your doctor.

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