Uses

Botanical names:
Agathosma betulina, Agathosma crenultata, Barosma betulina

Parts Used & Where Grown

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).

What Are Star Ratings?

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
1 Star
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. 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.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

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.

How It Works

Botanical names:
Agathosma betulina, Agathosma crenultata, Barosma betulina

How It Works

The leaves of buchu contain 1.0-3.5% volatile oils as well as flavonoids.4 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.5

How to Use It

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.6 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.7 Tinctures can be used at 2-4 ml three times per day.

Interactions

Botanical names:
Agathosma betulina, Agathosma crenultata, Barosma betulina

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

Certain medicines interact with this supplement.

Types of interactions: Beneficial Adverse Check

Replenish Depleted Nutrients

  • none

Reduce Side Effects

  • none

Support Medicine

  • none

Reduces Effectiveness

  • none

Potential Negative Interaction

Explanation Required

  • none

The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers' package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Botanical names:
Agathosma betulina, Agathosma crenultata, Barosma betulina

Side Effects

Buchu may cause gastrointestinal irritation and should only be taken with meals. Also, it should not be used by pregnant or breast-feeding women.

References

1. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics. New York: John Wiley and 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. Wichtl M. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1994, 102-3.

5. Didry N, Pinkas M. A propos du Buchu. Plantes Méd et Phyothér 1982;16:249-52.

6. 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.

7. Bradley PR (ed). British Herbal Compendium, vol 1. Bournemouth, England: British Herbal Medicine Association, 1992, 43-5.