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  • Barosma betulina L.
  • Rutaceae

Common Names

herbsOval buchu
herbsRound buchu
herbsShort buchu
herbsShort-leaved buchu

Parts Usually Used


Description of Plant(s) and Culture

A small shrub, 2-3 feet high, its opposite, glossy, pale-green leaves are obovate or ovate in outline and have strongly curved tips and serrate margins. The five-petaled flowers are whitish to pink; the fruit is an ovate capsule.

Two other forms and sources of buchu from South Africa; short buchu (Barosma crenulata) and long buchu (Barosma serratifolia). Same properties as B. betulina.

Where Found

Grows principally in South Africa.

Medicinal Properties

Aromatic, antiseptic, febrifuge, tonic, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, stimulant

Biochemical Information

Barosma, camphor, diasmin, I-enthone, hesperidin, mucilage, volatile and essential oils, and resin

Legends, Myths and Stories

Buchu is a plant native to South Africa. The strong, fragrant leaves are used as perfume, almost 400 years ago, by the Hottentots to rub upon their greasy bodies. They also prepare a Buchu brandy by distilling the leaves with wine, and which they employ in all affections of the stomach, bowels, and bladder. A strong decoction of the leaves is used as a wash for wounds. The leaves contain diosphenol, a substance with mild antiseptic properties.

Used by the Hottentots long before any white men came to South Africa.


For inflammation of mucous membranes, fever, sinuses, prostate, colon, vagina, and gums. Aids in controlling diabetes, ulcers, hypoglycemia, respiratory disorders, dropsy, blood tonic, bladder and kidney problems, digestive disorders, fluid retention, gas, bloating, prostate-related problems, and pancreatic diseases. Externally, a decoction used as a wash for wounds, sores, and ulcers.

A strong tea of the dried leaves is helpful for painful urination and for inflammation, gravel, and catarrh of the bladder. It can also be taken for leukorrhea. In South Africa, an infusion of buchu leaves in brandy is drunk as a stomachic and stimulant tonic.

Given warm, it produces perspiration., helps to reduce swelling of the prostate gland and soothes irritation of the lining membrane of the urethra.

Formulas or Dosages

Infusion: steep 1 tbsp. leaves in 1 cup water for 30 minutes. Take 3-4 tbsp., 3-4 times a day. Do not boil buchu leaves.

Tincture: take 10-20 drops in water, 3 times a day.

How Sold

Capsules: take 1 capsule; up to 3 times per day.

Extract: mix 10 to 30 drops in juice or water.


Do not use Buchu for kidney infections or kidney problems, since Buchu can be irritating to the kidneys. Kidney infections need prompt medical attention. If there is pain during urination, or blood in the urine, call the doctor immediately.

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