Agathosma betulina syn Barosma betulina

aka Bookoo, Bucco, Buccoblatter (Ger), Buku, Diosma betulina, Ibuchu, Round-leaved Buchu, Short-leaved Buchu, Thumb

Buchu is a 5 foot shrub with finely toothed opposite or alternate leaves, 3.5cm long. The leaves have visible oil glands that release a strong aroma reminiscent of blackcurrant. White flowers with purple anthers appear in spring, usually with 5 petals.

Buchu is an African word for ‘dusting powder’. Long before settlement by the Europeans, Buchu was used as a medicinal by the Hottentots of South Africa.

Buchu as an Herb for Medicinal Uses

buchuEven today, buchu has retained a reputation as a mild stimulant, strong diuretic, antiseptic, and cleansing herb that increases perspiration. The antiseptic and strong diuretic properties are evident due to the active ingredient in the herb: diosphenol or “barosma camphor.”

Buchu is used internally for the relief of urinary tract infections, especially in conjunction with prostate problems. Furthermore, it is also used in the symptomatic relief of rheumatism. Has also been used for bed wetting. It is often combined with uva ursi when used to treat prostate complaints.

It is also used for bloating while menstruating, reducing high blood pressure, and congestive heart failure. Buchu is also used to decrease water retention – but please read the safety warnings below.

Buchu decreases inflammation of the colon, gums, and mucous membranes and is specifically used to treat bladder infections.

Steeped in vinegar it is used as a lotion for bruises and sprains.

Traditional Doses (For Professional Use Only)

Note: All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!

Infusion usually taken cool (e.g. to increase flow of urine), except where the benefits of a diaphoretic are needed.

Leaves should never be boiled. This destroys the healing properties and is true of almost all leaves and flowers used as herbs.

  • Powder: 15 to 30 grains
  • Infusion: 1 teaspoon dried leaf in 1 cup water just off the boil and steeped for 15 minutes; 1/2 cup taken 3 times daily. 1 cupful can also be allowed to cool and one mouthful taken at a time throughout the day.
  • Tincture: 1/2 to 1 teaspoon 3 or 4 times daily.
  • Extract: 10 to 30 drops in water.

Culinary Uses of Buchu

Has been used in Africa in combination with Artemisia Afra to add flavor to brandy and wine and to enhance the black currant type aroma of the liqueur cassia. Also used to flavor tea. In Tunisia, Buchu brandy is served as a cocktail.

Buchu extract is used by food manufacturers in candy, ice cream, baked goods, and condiments.


When using buchu as a diuretic it must be noted that it can deplete the body’s store of potassium.

When taking buchu, you should increase your consumption of foods rich in potassium, such as bananas, various dark green vegetables, whole grains and fish.

Topical application of the essential oil extracted from the buchu plant should not be used in aromatherapy.

Read More about: Herbs