No, buchu is not a new yoga pose, but rather an ancient homegrown herb that’s been used for centuries as a natural anti-inflammatory and pain reliever by the San and Khoisan people. Traditionally, the San and Khoi used the powdered leaf with sheep fat for cosmetic purposes and for its antibiotic properties. The leaves were also chewed to help relieve stomach aches and pains.
When the early Dutch settlers arrived in the Cape, they adopted these practices and would steep buchu leaves in brandy to make boegoe brandewyn/buchu brandy, renowned for its alleviation of stomach problems. Buchu vinegar was even used for washing and cleaning wounds.
Buchu As Medicine In 2018
Today we have the scientific research to confirm what the Khoi and San knew centuries ago: Buchu is, in fact, a miracle plant. Not only does it have anti-inflammatory, anti-infective, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, it also contains antioxidants and bioflavonoids, plus vitamins A, B and E. Meaning buchu is great for a range of illnesses. Dr Tammi O’Flynn, a phytotherapist, adds: “Buchu strongly disinfects the urinary tract and acts as a mild diuretic.”
Studies by Prof Patrick Bouic found that Buchu is also beneficial in treating the following health issues: reduction of chronic pain; reduction of inflammation, both acute and chronic; assisting with management of arthritis, rheumatism and other joint problems; use in cases of cystitis (urinary tract infections), prostatitis (recurrent bacterial infections of the prostate in men), pyelonephritis (kidney infections), etc; use by gout sufferers; control of hypertension and water retention; and prevention of swelling and bruising following trauma of soft tissue.
So, How Much Can You Take?
Dr O’Flynn suggests taking three to six grams of the dried leaf in a tea and two to 4.5ml of the liquid extract. Note: If you suffer with renal insufficiency, avoid!
If you’d rather not fuss with DIY tinctures and teas, check out Buchulife – they have a variety of buchu products, including sparkling water, UTI relief capsules and first-aid gel. Cape Moondance makes 100-percent natural buchu tea bags, and Skimmelberg sells the plant in dried leaf, powder and oil form.
Although Buchu is safe, it’s important to use the correct plant. It usually grows up to two metres, the leaves are oval or round with conspicuous oil glads on the undersurface, it has small white or pale purple flowers, and smells similar to blackcurrant. But we don’t recommend you do your own foraging – check with a medical expert before taking anything you’ve picked yourself.
A Final Word Of Warning…
“While buchu is a safe herb, it’s always better to take herbs under the supervision and care of a qualified phytotherapist (medical herbalist). A phytotherapist is medically trained to both diagnose and treat a broad range of conditions and to optimise your health and wellbeing,” cautions Dr O’Flynn.
“They treat holistically, aiming to find the underlying causes of disease in each person. Every patient is viewed as an individual, with a personalised, holistic herbal prescription, individual nutritional and supplement advice given to each patient.”