Herb: Thorow-Wax

Latin name: Bupleurum falcatum

Family: Umbelliferae

Medicinal use of Thorow-Wax:

A paste of the plant is applied to boils. The juice of the roots, mixed with the juice of Centella asiatica, is used in the treatment of liver diseases. This species is closely related to B. chinense and quite possibly has the same uses. It is certainly worthy of some research. The uses of B. chinense are as follows:- Bei chai hu root has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for at least 2,000 years. It is a bitter herb that is used to harmonize the body, balancing the different organs and energies within the body. It strengthens the digestive tract, acts as a tonic for the liver and circulatory system, lowers fevers and has anti-viral effects. The root is alterative, analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiperiodic, antipyretic, antiviral, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, haemolytic, hepatic, pectoral, sedative. It is taken internally in the treatment of malaria, blackwater fever, uterine and rectal prolapse, haemorrhoids, sluggish liver, menstrual disorders, abdominal bloating etc. The roots are harvested in the autumn and can be used fresh or dried. The root contains saikosides. These saponin-like substances have been shown to protect the liver from toxicity whilst also strengthening its function, even in people with immune system disorders. These saikosides also stimulate the body's production of corticosteroids and increase their anti-inflammatory affect. The plant is often used in preparations with other herbs to treat the side effects of steroids.

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

July to

Habitat of the herb:

Waste places and hedgebanks.

Edible parts of Thorow-Wax:

Leaves and young shoots - cooked.The new growth in spring and autumn is used. It is a good source of rutin.

Other uses of the herb:

The old plant is used as a fuel.

Propagation of Thorow-Wax:

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in 2 - 8 weeks at 15C. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer or following spring. Division in spring. Very easy, larger clumps can be planted direct into their permanent positions. It is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are well rooted before planting them out in the summer.

Cultivation of the herb:

Waste places and hedgebanks.

Known hazards of Bupleurum falcatum:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.