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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017, Article ID 7597596, 22 pages
Review Article

Radix Bupleuri: A Review of Traditional Uses, Botany, Phytochemistry, Pharmacology, and Toxicology

1Gansu University of Chinese Medicine, Lanzhou 730000, China
2School of Chinese Materia Medica, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100102, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Jian Ni; ten.362@mctjn

Received 14 February 2017; Accepted 20 April 2017; Published 16 May 2017

Academic Editor: Gail B. Mahady

Copyright © 2017 Fude Yang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Radix Bupleuri (Chaihu) has been used as a traditional medicine for more than 2000 years in China, Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries. Phytochemical studies demonstrated that this plant contains essential oils, triterpenoid saponins, polyacetylenes, flavonoids, lignans, fatty acids, and sterols. Crude extracts and pure compounds isolated from Radix Bupleuri exhibited various biological activities, such as anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antipyretic, antimicrobial, antiviral, hepatoprotective, neuroprotective, and immunomodulatory effects. However, Radix Bupleuri could also lead to hepatotoxicity, particularly in high doses and with long-term use. Pharmacokinetic studies have demonstrated that the major bioactive compounds (saikosaponins a, b2, c, and d) were absorbed rapidly in rats after oral administration of the extract of Radix Bupleuri. This review aims to comprehensively summarize the traditional uses, botany, phytochemistry, pharmacology, toxicology, and pharmacokinetics of Radix Bupleuri reported to date with an emphasis on its biological properties and mechanisms of action.