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Buchu (Agathosma betulina)

Generic Name: Buchu

Category

Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

Agathosma betulina, Agathosma crenulata, Agathosma serratifolia, Barosma betulina, barosma camphor, Barosma crenulata, Barosma serratifolia, barosmae folium, boegoe (Afrikaans), boochoo, bookoo, bucco, buchu brandy, buchu camphor, bucku, diosma, diosmin, hesperidin, ibuchu (Xhosa), long buchu, oil of buchu, oval buchu, ovate buchu, round buchu, round-leaf buchu, Rutaceae (family), short buchu, shortbroad buchu, true buchu.

Note: This monograph does not include Indian buchu (Myrtus communi), which is an unrelated plant.

Background

Buchu (Agathosma betulina) leaves and oil of buchu were used by the indigenous people of the Cape area of South Africa for hundreds of years. Although its original use is unclear, it appears to have been applied topically on the skin, possibly as an insect repellant, and also used internally for stomach problems, rheumatism, and bladder problems. Buchu's original genus was Barosma, which was changed to Agathosma.

Buchu contains both diosmin and hesperidin, which indicates it may have anti-inflammatory, hypolipidemic (blood cholesterol lowering), and vasoprotective actions.

Most of the plants are still grown in South Africa where the government exercises strict control over the gathering of the leaves to prevent destruction of wild plants.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Tradition

WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Abortifacient (induces abortion), AIDS, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic (anti-bacterial), antispasmodic, appetite stimulant, astringent, bloody urine, bruises, carminative (reduces gas), cholera, colds, colon inflammation, congestive heart failure, cough, cystitis (bladder infection), diabetes, diaphoretic (promotes sweating), digestive, diuretic, edema, flavoring agent, fragrance, gout (foot inflammation), gum inflammation, hangovers, hypertension (high blood pressure), improving urine flow, incontinence, influenza, insect repellent, kidney function, kidney infection, kidney stones, muscle aches, nephritis (kidney inflammation), premenstrual syndrome, prostate disorders, respiratory disorders, rheumatism, sinus problems, sprains and strains, stimulant, stomachache, tonic, urethritis (inflamed uretha), urinary tract tonic, urolithiasis (kidney stones), uterine stimulant, vaginal irritation, sexually transmitted diseases.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

There is no proven safe or effective dose for buchu. Historically, dried buchu leaf 1-2 grams has been taken in capsules three times a day. As a fluid extract, 0.125-0.25 fluid ounces has been used. Also, 1-2 teaspoons of buchu leaves, infused for 5-10 minutes in a cup of boiling water (leaves should not be boiled), and ingested two or three times a day, has been used. A tincture of 1-4 milliliters daily for three times a day, or 10-20 drops of tincture in water three times a day after meals, has been used.

Children (younger than 18 years)

There is no proven safe or effective dose for buchu in children, and use is not recommended.

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