Buchu is a low shrub native to the Cape region of South Africa. The dried leaves are harvested during the flowering season. The oil can be obtained by steam distillation of the leaves. The two primary species of buchu used commercially are Agathosma betulina (syn. Barosma betulina) and Agathosma crenulata (syn. Barosma crenultata).
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Urinary Tract Infection
Refer to label instructions
Buchu leaf preparations have been historically used as a urinary tract disinfectant and diuretic.
Buchu leaf preparations have a history of use in traditional herbal medicine as a urinary tract disinfectant and diuretic.4 However, the German Commission E monograph on buchu concludes that insufficient evidence supports the modern use of buchu for the treatment of UTIs or inflammation.5
Buchu leaf preparations have a long history of use in traditional herbal medicine as a urinary tract disinfectant and diuretic.1 Buchu was used by herbalists to treat urinary tract infections and inflammation, as well as inflammation of the prostate. In Europe, it was also used to treat gout.2 The original use of buchu by the native peoples of southern Africa is unclear because buchu is a general term for aromatic plants.3 It appears to have been applied topically, possibly as an insect repellant, and also used internally for stomach problems, rheumatism and bladder problems.
The leaves of buchu contain 1.0–3.5% volatile oils as well as flavonoids.6 The urinary tract antiseptic actions of buchu are thought to be due to the volatile oils. The primary volatile oil component thought to have antibacterial action is the monoterpene disophenol. However, one test tube study using buchu oil found no significant antibacterial effect.7
The German Commission E Monograph concludes there is insufficient evidence to support the modern use of buchu for the treatment of urinary tract infections or inflammation.8 However, some traditional herbal practitioners continue to recommend the herb for these conditions. Traditional recommendations for the herb include the use of 1–2 grams of the dried leaf taken three times daily in capsules or in a tea.9 Tinctures can be used at 2–4 ml three times per day.
Certain medicines interact with this supplement.
Buchu may cause gastrointestinal irritation and should only be taken with meals. Also, it should not be used by pregnant or breast-feeding women.
1. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 104–5.
2. Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C, et al. (eds). PDR for Herbal Medicines. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics, 1998, 686–7.
3. Simpson D. Buchu--South Africa’s amazing herbal remedy. Scott Med J 1998;43:189–91 [review]
4. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1996, 104–5.
5. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin: American Botanical Council and Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 317.
6. Wichtl M. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1994, 102–3.
7. Didry N, Pinkas M. A propos du Buchu. Plantes Méd et Phyothér 1982;16:249–52.
8. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin: American Botanical Council and Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 317.
9. Bradley PR (ed). British Herbal Compendium, vol 1. Bournemouth, England: British Herbal Medicine Association, 1992, 43–5.
10. Brinker F. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Institute, 1997, 102–3.
Last Review: 05-01-2013
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