Also known as Agathosma betulina, Bookoo, Buku, Diosma, Bucko, Bucco; Round Buchu (A.betulina), long Buchu (A.crenulata), Barosma betulina
Introduction Buchu is a small, green, woody plant found in western South Africa. In several reports of the late nineteenth century, buchu was described as "about the size of a hedgehog." The leaves have an incredibly pungent aroma that is similar to peppermint that increases as the leaves are dried. It has been used in Europe since the 16th century for urinary and prostate problems. Buchu oil is widely used in the perfume industry, as well as a component in artificial fruit flavors, alcoholic beverages, frozen dairy deserts, candy, condiments and relishes.
Constituents Diosphenol (the antimicrobial component), mucilages (the soothing component), diosmin, pugelone.
Parts Used Dried leaf and small flowers.
Typical Preparations Teas and tinctures. Often combined with couchgrass, corn silk, cranberry, cleavers, dandelion, goldenrod, parsley, and/or uva ursi. Seldom found in capsule form.
Summary The original usage of buchu by the natives of South Africa is somewhat unclear, as the word buchu is a general term in South Africa for aromatic plant. Some have theorized that it may have been applied topically as an insect repellant. Buchu was popular in the 1800's as a hangover cure. English patent medicines used it in herbal combinations for treating coughs and colds. There is some conflicting information as to whether buchu leaf should be used for inflammation and infection of the kidneys and urinary tract. However many traditional herbal practitioners still recommend it to this day due to historical testimony. It has also been used for hundreds of years for bladder irritations, as a disinfectant of the urinary tract, and as a diuretic. Buchu is also often used to treat prostate infections. The primary action of the herb is antimicrobial.
Precautions One of the constituents of Buchu, pulegone, is also a constituent of pennyroyal, and therefore extreme caution should be taken if pregnant or nursing. Its long term use is not recommended and you should consult with your practitioner first if you suffer from kidney or liver disorders before using this product.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
This information courtesy of MOUNTAIN ROSE HERBS, with full, written permission for reuse. For further traditional information concerning Buchu, please visit this excellent resource from Botanical.com. Used with full, written permission.