Buchu - The African Diuretic

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.

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