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Buchu

Buchu

Botanical Description & Habitat

Barosma betulina

Family
Rutaceae

Common Names

BookooBucco
BuckuOval buchu
Short buchu



Habitat
Widely cultivated in South Africa, where it also grows wild in mountainous regions.

Description
Buchu is a small shrub growing 2-3 feet in height. The plant bears green, egg-shaped leaves with strongly curved tips and serrated margins. The leaves are stiff, slightly leathery, and dotted with oil glands. White-to-pink petal flowers grow in the leaf axils; the fruit is an egg-shaped capsule.

Medicinal Parts
Leaves - dried

Historical Properties & Uses

While buchu is familiar to relatively few Americans and Europeans, it is practically a household item in South Africa. It was introduced to the rest of the world by the Hottentots (Buchu or BooKoo is a Hottentot word). The South Africans prize the herb as a mild diuretic for application in the treatment of kidney, urinary tract and prostate.

Buchu, through the action of its volatile oil, appears to stimulate urination, increasing both fluid and solids, and is excreted virtually unchanged by the kidneys, rendering the urine slightly antiseptic. As an urinary antiseptic, buchu is currently found in proprietary preparations in the United States, Europe and South Africa. Buchu's oil is aromatic which would account for some of the secondary uses of the herb as a carminative, stimulant, diaphoretic.

This herb has not achieved approval status by the German Commission E. Either there was insufficient evidence in favor, or a contraindication.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.


Method of Action

Buchu is thought by pharmacognocists to act directly on the kidneys and urinary apparatus in general, increasing the fluids and solids of the urine.

Proprietary drugs are available in South Africa and the United States using Buchu leaves as a urinary antiseptic.

Other proprietary over-the-counter laxatives, stomachics and carminatives contain buchu.

The oil of the leaf appears to be the active principle and has been shown to be slightly antiseptic and diuretic.

Drug Interactions & Precautions

Known Interactions
Since the diuretic action of Buchu increases the renal excretion of sodium and chloride, this herb may potentiate the hyperglycemic and hyperuricemic effects of glucose elevating agents. This diuretic may also potentiate the action of antihypertensive, ganglionic or peripheral adrenergic blocking drugs, tubocurarine and, to a lesser degree, norepinephrine.

Possible Interactions
The diuretic action of buchu may reduce renal clearance of lithium.

Safety Factors & Toxicity

Buchu has no known toxicity.

This herb has not achieved approval status by the German Commission E. Either there was insufficient evidence in favor, or a contraindication.

The essential oil can cause irritation.

It is reputed to be an abortifacient and can increase menstrual flow.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

The Lawrence Review of Natural Products. Feb,1998.

Preparation & Administration

Three times a day

Dried leaf
1-2 grams as a tea

Fluid extract
1:1 in 90% alcohol, 0.3-1.2 ml

Tincture
1:5 in 60% alcohol, 2-4 ml

Note: This Herbal Preparation information is a summary of data from books and articles by various authors. It is not intended to replace the advice or attention of health care professionals.

References

Am Hospital Formulary Service. Am Soc of Hosp Pharm. Wash, D.C.

Bressler, R., M.D. Bogdonoff & G.J. Subak-Sharpe. 1981. The Physicians Drug Manual. Doubleday & Co, Inc. Garden City, NY. 1213 pp.

Claus, E.P., Tyler, V.E. & Brady, L.R. Pharmacognosy, 6Th Edition. Lea & Febiger, Philadelphia, 1970, 518 Pages.

Culbreath, David M. R. A manual of Materia Medica and Pharmocology. Eclectic Medical Publications, Portland, Or, l983.

De Martinis, et.al. 1980. Milk thistle (silybum marianum) derivatives in the therapy of chronic hepatopathies. Clin. Ter., 94(3). pp. 283-315.

Drug package insert (Fda approved official brochure) and other labeling based on sponsored clinical investigations and New Drug Application data.

Feldman, H.W., et. al. J Of The Am Pharm Assoc, 33, 277, 1944.

Goodman, L.S. & A. Gilman. 1975. Pharm Basis of Thera. MacMillan, NY.

Hansten, P.D. 1979. Drug Interactions, 4th ed. Lea & Febiger, Phila.

Hurtig, H.I. & W.L. Dyson. 1974. Lithium toxicity enhanced by diuresis. New England J of Med, 290(Mar 28). pp. 748-749.

Hyde, F.F. British Herbal Pharmacopoeia. British Herbal Medicine Assoc: West Yorks, England, 1983

Kastrup, E.K., ed. 1981. Drug Facts and Comparisons, 1982 edition. Facts and Comparisions Division, J.P. Lippincott Co, Phila(St. Louis).

The Lawrence Review of Natural Products. Feb, 1998.

List, P. & L. Hoerhammer. 1969-1976. Hagers Hanbuch der Pharmazeutischen Praxis, vols. 2-5. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Leung, Albert Y. 1980. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredient used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics. John Wiley and Sons, NY. 409 pp.

Martin, E. Drug Interactions Index, 1978/79. J.B. Lippincott Co., Phila.

Miller, R.D., et.al. 1976. Enhancement of d-tubocurarine neuromuscular blockage by diuretics in man. Anesth, 45. p.442.

Miller, L. & R. Lindeman. Red Blood Cell and Serum Selenium Concentration as Influenced by Age and Selected Diseases. Journal Of Am College Nutrition, 2. 1983.

Mowrey, Daniel B., Ph.D. Exper. Psych., Brigham Young University. Director of Nebo Institute of Herbal Sciences. Director of Behavior Change Agent Training Institute. Director of Research, Nova Corp.

Parke-davis Labs., Tech Notes.

 


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