What is Buchu

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

The word buchu may not be familiar to you, but this herb has a number of traditional and modern applications for your health.

What is Buchu?

This native African flowering shrub is recognizable by its oily-looking leaves and small, star-shaped flowers of pink or white. This plant grows wild only in South Africa, where it has been used as an insecticide and in traditional medicine for centuries, while the tea made from its leaves is strongly aromatic, with notes of rosemary and peppermint.


Let us take a look at its many amazing health benefits.

  • It is a diuretic, making it popular for treating urinary tract infections (UTI) and kidney infections. [1]
  • It can also be taken orally to treat sexually transmitted diseases, flush prostate infections and reduce gout.
A branch of buchu flowers

Buchu is a flowering plant found in South West Africa. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

  • Two of the key flavonoids found in buchu leaves are diosmin and hesperidin. They are effective in treating hemorrhoids. [2]
  • Hesperidin has also been found to be effective in treating hypertension.
  • In traditional African medicine, this herb is used to treat impotence and low sperm count.
  • It is even a popular treatment for premenstrual syndrome, as it can relieve bloating, particularly the types of bloating caused by high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.
  • It is rich in antioxidants.
  • The high concentration of bioflavonoids may prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. [3]
  • Because this plant acts as a stimulant, as well as a diuretic and anti-inflammatory, it is particularly touted for alleviating hangovers.
  • A natural antiseptic cream or lotion containing buchu is commonly used for healing eczema and psoriasis.
  • It is believed that the active ingredients in the herb can actually switch off monocytes that cause tissue damage from diseases stimulated by inflammation, like arthritis and rheumatism, and protect muscles from exercise-related damage.


Let us take a look at its uses.

  • Buchu is drunk as a tea made from the leaves, but it is also used as an extract and tincture.
  • Buchu can be made into a very popular medicinal brandy, which is both delicious and effective.

Word of Caution: Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid taking this herb, as it may cause dangerous menstrual bleeding. Buchu may also interact with certain medicines to cause bleeding. If taken in excess, buchu may irritate the stomach and kidneys, or cause liver damage, in serious cases.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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