The leaf of the South African shrub, buchu, has been used for centuries to increase
urine production and protect the urinary tract system. It was only in the 17 th
Century, when the Dutch arrived in Namibia that Europeans learned this herb could
be used for urinary tract infections and kidney stones. Later European settlers also
claimed it helped with cholera and arthritis. By 1847, Hembold’s Compound Extract
of Buchu was one of the more popular medicines in America, claiming to heal all
sorts of diseases.
Today buchu is a common ingredient in herbal supplements and teas.
Supplements that include buchu and cranberry blends are often used for kidney
infections, UTIs and PMS. Buchu has been included in several weight-loss products,
but to date, there have been no studies proving any weight loss benefits of this herb.
Because buchu is a natural diuretic, which can deplete the body’s potassium levels,
people taking buchu should eat foods high in potassium like bananas, spinach and
Buchu can be taken in pill form, or even as a tea or tincture. The volatile oil
form of buchu can be dangerous to pregnant women and should be avoided by those
with liver or kidney disorders. Although the FDA considers buchu generally safe for
everyone, pregnant and nursing women should consult a physician before adding it
to their natural health regimin. Buchu should never be combined with blood
thinners like Coumadin. As with any natural supplement, consult a health care
provider before combining buchu with any prescription medication.