Once thought to be the elixir of youth, people of its native South Africa have referred to buchu as a miracle herb for thousands of years. Historically, the dried leaves of the flowering plant were used by the Khoisan people for everything from arthritis to inflammation to urinary infections. In recent years, these health benefits have become a focus of medical research, and buchu’s popularity is growing.
What Is Buchu?
Buchu is commonly sold as dry leaves to be made into a tea, as an oil extracted from leaves, cream or gel, and in capsule form in health supplement stores. It has strong antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, while its diuretic effect is useful in the treatment of several ailments.
Many groups subscribe to the powerful healing qualities of buchu, but until recently, its use as a medicine or supplement was impeded by a lack of scientific evidence around its effectiveness.
Eases Arthritic and Rheumatic Pain
The anti-inflammatory properties of buchu provide relief from arthritic and rheumatic pain and reduce swelling around the joints. This is partly due to buchu inhibiting the oxidative burst that contributes to inflammation.
The diuretic effect of buchu, which removes toxins from the system, has been proven to be effective in reducing uric acid levels in the body. Uric acid is a known contributor to both arthritic and rheumatic pain.
Relieves Menstrual Cramps
Despite being a relatively common problem among women, there are few natural products available that treat menstrual cramping effectively, and many women are left having to rely on prescription analgesics. The antibacterial, antifungal, and antispasmodic properties of buchu can provide relief when experiencing menstrual cramps: buchu tea and buchu essential oil are the most common deliveries.
One of the reasons for its growing popularity among women is the absence of the side effects commonly associated with prescription pain medications.
Used as a Detox
The diuretic effects associated with buchu have led it to become a popular and effective natural detox method. By increasing the frequency and volume of urination, buchu helps to flush toxins, such as uric acid, excess salt, and other substances that can harm the body if allowed to accumulate. It also keeps the urinary tract and kidneys free of toxins and acts as a prophylactic to infection by working as a natural disinfectant.
It is important to remember, however, that when healthy, the body is well designed to detoxify itself and does not need the help of outside substances.
Buchu helps in the digestive process by stimulating the secretion of gastric juices in the stomach and bile into the digestive tract, helping to break down food so it can be absorbed by the body. In addition, the antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of buchu help combat indigestion. These properties make buchu a potential natural weight management product.
Treats Urinary Tract Infections
Buchu is a natural antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, and these qualities can help in the treatment of urinary tract and prostate infections. Buchu also has an antibacterial effect that is effective against several of the pathogens commonly associated with urinary tract infections. The diuretic effect of buchu can also help remove these problematic compounds.
Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a known risk factor for cardiac disease and strokes. Research shows buchu can act as an antihypertensive, lowering blood pressure. This is because it contains the flavonoid hesperidin, which helps maintain healthy blood vessels and lower cholesterol levels. Hesperidin acts as a natural calcium channel blocker — the same mechanism of action used by some antihypertensive drugs.
Buchu has properties that can ease flatulence by removing gases from the stomach and intestines.
This reduces bloating and the symptoms associated with it, such as abdominal rumbling, pain, and discomfort. Buchu also helps to alleviate the feeling of heaviness in the abdomen and chest that are commonly associated with gas and bloating.
Helps Boost Immunity
Buchu is a good source of vitamin C, whose antioxidant properties are repeatedly shown to boost the immune system. Flavonoids in the plant are protective against colds and flu, as well as other diseases, and help the immune system fight infection. Consuming buchu and other high-antioxidant foods regularly gives the immune system a boost.
People taking lithium should be cautious when considering products containing buchu. The diuretic qualities can deplete lithium from the body, which means levels could fall below the therapeutic requirement. Talk to a doctor before taking a product containing buchu if you have any health concerns.
There is some uncertainty regarding the use of buchu during pregnancy, with a possible link to miscarriage, as it can stimulate the uterus and cause contractions.