The buchu herb (agathosma betulina) has a range of therapeutic benefits including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.
What are its health benefits?
Indigenous to the mountains of the south-western Cape of South Africa, buchu was first used by the early Khoisan people for its healing abilities.
Buchu leaves contain flavonoids and volatile oils. The antiseptic benefits of buchu to treat disorders of the urinary tract are attributed to the volatile oils enclosed by the plant. The basic component of the volatile oil also possesses antibacterial activities.
Buchu may assist in the management of the following conditions:
- Kidney and bladder problems
- Cholera (an infection of the small intestine)
- Muscle aches
- Urinary tract infections (UTI)
It may also have mild pain-relieving properties.
Buchu is also a common ingredient in medicines used to assist in the symptomatic relief of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Recommended dietary allowance (RDA)
There is no proven scientifically proven dose for buchu, so consult with your Clicks pharmacist about the recommended dosage.
Typical guideline dosages include:
- 1 to 2g dried buchu leaf in capsules three times daily
- A tincture of 1 to 4ml daily for three times a day, or 10 to 20 drops of tincture in water three times a day after meals
- For buchu tea, infuse 1 to 2 teaspoons of buchu leaves for 5 to 10 minutes in a cup of hot water, two or three times a day
Possible side effects
The following side effects are rare:
- Stomach irritation
- Kidney irritation
- Liver damage
- Risk of bleeding
Using buchu during pregnancy is not advisable as it may induce abortion or stimulate uterine contractions. It is also not recommended for use during breastfeeding.
Buchu is a diuretic and so may deplete potassium in the body. When using buchu, you should supplement your diet with potassium-rich foods.
Ensure you discuss dietary supplementation with your Clicks pharmacist to avoid the potential for side effects and adverse interactions with medications.