Common uses

Buchu is used in the perfume, cosmetic, tea and aromatherapy industries. In the food industry, it is used as a natural flavouring (black current flavouring in foodstuffs). It is also said to be a useful urinary antiseptic, providing relief particularly for burning during urination, and has diuretic properties. Buchu is one of the best remedies for urinary diseases (especially chronic vesical catamh) and haematuria. It is useful for stoppage of urine and any infection of the genito-urinary system, inflammation of the bladder, dropsy, cystitis, dysuria and urethritis. The leaves contain an oil that increases urine production.  It is also used to treat prostatitis, high blood pressure, congenital heart failure, stomach aches, cholera, nausea, vomiting and indigestion. Buchu is also useful for the treatment of Premenstrual Syndrome and relieves the bloating associated with PMS. 

Buchu is noticeably helpful when drunk as a tea, for urinary tract infections, mild digestive disturbances or to lose weight. The tea is also said to be an effective treatment for gout, arthritis and rheumatism when taken twice daily.

Buchu is also one of the ancient treatments for infections of the prostate gland, and is also used as a remedy for high blood pressure and congenital heart failure. Fishermen rub Buchu twigs between their hands to remove the smell of fish and campers rub their bedding with the twigs to keep ants and mosquitoes away. Some of the Buchu species are said to contain an agent which blocks out ultraviolet light and therefore may be a useful sunscreen.

Buchu provides a potent flavourant, which has the same function as salt, but without the side effects. It is thus a flavour enhancer, binder and fixative. As such, it is in high demand, as it is used to enhance the flavour of berry-based cool drinks. 


Liquid extract: Buchu brandy is a green-coloured liquid with a peppermint taste. It is made by steeping fresh buchu in a bottle of brandy or white vinegar. Sometimes three or four cloves are added, and the mixture is shaken for a week and then stored. It is recommended that a tablespoon be taken twice a day for coughs and colds. Buchu brandy or vinegar can be applied topically as a liniment and it can be used for burns and as an antiseptic for the cleaning of wounds. It has been suggested that a teaspoon of buchu brandy at night helps you sleep.

Tincture: Take 2-4ml tincture three times a day.

Dried herb / tea: Buchu tea is made by pouring a cup of boiling water over a teaspoon of fresh buchu leaves, leaving the mixture to infuse for ten minutes and then straining. Do not boil Buchu leaves. Dried leaves, flowers and stems can also be used for making Buchu tea. A cup of boiling water (150ml) is added to the herbs (6g) and the mixture allowed to brew for 20 minutes – honey may be added if desired. One cupful of tea, taken three times a day is said to ease cramps, colic, indigestion, chills and anxiety. 

Essential Oil: Essential oils are fragrant products extracted from plant materials by steam distillation. They are volatile at room temperature.

Capsules: Capsules are available as over-the-counter preparations for use as a diuretic and can be used safely to lose weight.

Other: To ease backaches and rheumatic pains, relax in a hot bath to which a bunch of buchu leaves has been added, while for a painful joint or back, leaves warmed in water can be used as a poultice or embrocation.

Possible side effects

Buchu is relatively safe with few side effects. However, it contains the volatile oil pulegone, which is toxic to the liver. The oil may also cause gastrointestinal and renal irritation. Excessive doses should be avoided in view of these possible side effects. Buchu should not be taken during pregnancy and while breast-feeding. If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor before taking supplements. Diuretics deplete body stores of potassium – an important nutrient. When taking Buchu, increase your consumption of potassium by consuming foods high in potassium such as bananas, fresh vegetables, etc. It is suggested that the use of buchu should be avoided in kidney infections.

FDA considers this herb as safe if taken as directed.  No harmful effects have been reported.