The leaves of this southern African shrub contain an oil that increases the production of urine. African people used it for urinary problems long before they had contact with Europeans. In the 17th century, Dutch settlers in South Africa used it to treat urinary tract infections and kidney stones. In 1847, buchu was introduced in the U.S. and hailed as a cure-all. Today Western herbalists continue the tradition, prescribing buchu for urinary tract infections and as a diuretic, and also for treating premenstrual syndrome and high blood pressure. Buchu has a mintlike smell and taste.
Decoction: 1 tsp. dried buckthorn boiled in 3 cups water, steeped 30 minutes, then cooled.
Tincture: 1/2 tsp. consumed before bed.
Combination: Mixed with 1/2 tsp. each of dried buckthorn bark, chamomile and fennel seed, and steeped in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes.