Buchu, what is Buchu, treatment of urinary tract infection, treatment for rheumatism, treatment for gout

Agathosma betulina Rutaceae Also called Round buchu.

A native of the mountainous if South Africa, the round buchu is a small, bushy shrub. Its ,bright greeny yellow oval leaves are covered ill little depressions that hold the plant's aromatic essential oil. White or pink flowers and shaped fruits appear when the leaves drop in autumn.

Parts used

  • Leaves
  • The leaves are harvested in summer.
  • They can be used alone or with other diuretic plants.


The essential oil from round buchu leaves is rich in pulegone and diosphenol, colloquially known as 'buchu camphor'. These give it its strong, distinctive aroma, reminiscent of blackcurrant, but also similar to a combination of rosemary and peppermint. The oil also contains flavonoids and mucilage.

Medicinal uses

Round buchu is mainly used to treat bladder problems and urinary tract infections such as cystitis, urethritis and prostatitis. The leaf also contains mucilage, which soothes inflamed mucous membranes, making it good for soothing the inflamed airways of chronic bronchitis. It is also used to treat rheumatism and gout.

The leaf oil is well known for its diuretic and antiseptic qualities, which are attributed to the volatile oil, diosphenol.

Buchu can help to ease digestive problems: UK research in London demonstrated its antispasmodic properties in laboratory animal studies in 2001. In traditional medicine, the leaf is used as a carminative, to expel wind from the gut. It also relieves the bloating associated with premenstrual syndrome. It is usually combined with other plants such as barberry, yarrow or marsh mallow.


  • Do not use buchu if you have a history of serious kidney disease. Pulegone, a constituent of the essential oil, is toxic in large doses. Avoid buchu if pregnant pulegone is a uterine stimulant
  • Do not use buchu if you are taking blood-thinning agents such as Warfarin.
  • Diuretics cause potassium loss, but this can be offset by eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.


For internal use:

TO TREAT cystitis

INFUSION Place 1 sachet (2g) into a cup of boiling water. Drink 1 cup up to three times a day before meals.

CAPSULES (350g) Take 1 capsule with a large glass of water twice daily at meal times.

TINCTURE Take 40 drops in a glass of water three times a day before meals.



Propagate buchu from seeds or cuttings. Plant established shrubs in a well-drained, sunny position ideally in an acid soil. Water on very hot days and during dry spells.


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