Bupleurum is the name given to a genus of plants native to Eurasia, which has more than 460 species. Although only a little more than 200 have been described and accepted. In general, they are characterized by being perennial plants and their root is appreciated for having potential health benefits. Traditional Chinese medicine has used bupleurum root for centuries.
One of its main benefits is associated with liver health. Likewise, there is scientific evidence suggesting that it could help reduce inflammation, improve diabetes control and boost the immune system.
Health Benefits of Bupleurum Root
Bupleurum root has also been used in Korea and Japan to fight flu, cold and fever. Let’s take a closer look at other ways it could benefit your health.
1. Controls Diabetes
The neuropathy is a complication that usually affects people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are caused damage to the small nerves, especially in the extremities.
These damages lead to loss of sensation, so in the event of an injury, it can go unnoticed and get worse. In general, neuropathy is linked to a lower quality of life.
Now, a study in rodents found that bupleurum is capable of lowering blood sugar levels, as well as reducing inflammation and strengthening the intestinal microbiota. Similarly, a study in mice with diabetes showed that those who consumed bupleurum for 2 days had a decrease in blood glucose levels and an increase in insulin.
This is relevant because insulin is crucial to keep glucose levels stable. Therefore, it would avoid complications such as neuropathy. Of course, it should be taken into account that there is still no research in humans.
2. Promotes a Healthy Immune System
A strong immune system means fewer illnesses. Fortunately, there is research to suggest that bupleurum can boost the body’s natural defenses.
According to a study in rodents, the bupleurum was able to inhibit the production of cytokines, small proteins associated with inflammation. Similarly, a test-tube study found that the root has anti-inflammatory properties.
On the other hand, an investigation in humans showed that the herbal decoction of bupleurum is 93.3% effective against influenza A (H1N1). And without causing any kind of side effects. However, more studies are needed to support these effects.
3. Reduces the Risk of Developing Liver Diseases
This is one of the best known bupleurum root benefits. In fact, in China it has been used for centuries for these purposes.
A study published in BioMed Research International, which examined different herbal preparations, found that this genus of plants is capable of protecting the liver from damage caused by altered calcium levels in cells. However, more research is still required to support these effects.
Contraindications and Side Effects of Bupleurum Root
Despite limited scientific evidence, it is known that bupleurum root could have serious side effects. In general, if consumed in high doses it can be considered toxic, even causing liver damage.
The same research published in BioMed Research International found that if consumed in very high doses, the saikosaponins present in bupleurum can cause inflammation and damage to the liver in a short time.
Similarly, a study in rodents showed that if consumed between 50 and 125 grams per kilogram of body weight, bupleurum can cause liver damage within 1 to 2 weeks. Finally, a study in patients with hepatitis B found that those who took 19 grams of bupleurum daily experienced an increased chance of hospitalization for liver damage.
In this sense, people with liver diseases should consult with a specialist before taking bupleurum in any of its presentations. This recommendation also applies to pregnant and lactating women, given the lack of studies in these groups.
How to consume it?
Although you can find dried roots with which to make preparations, the most common forms of bupleurum are capsules and drops. Yes indeed; A recommended dose has not been established and, as we have seen, excessive consumption should be avoided.
Now, the doses of the capsules vary according to the manufacturer, between 100 to 1000 milligrams. Likewise, it is not advisable to eat more than what is recommended on the label.
In large quantities, bupleurum root could be toxic
Although it is true that this root has been used in China, Japan and Korea for a long time and in the treatment of a wide variety of conditions, one must be very careful with its intake. In high doses, bupleurum is capable of causing liver damage in a very short time.