Buchu is a low shrub native to the Cape region of South Africa. The dried leaves are harvested and an essential oil is obtained by steam distillation. The two primary species of Buchu used commercially are Agathosma betulina (syn. Barosma betulina) and Agathosma crenulata (syn. Barosma crenultata).
Buchu leaf preparations have a long history of use in traditional herbal medicine as a urinary tract disinfectant and diuretic and for urinary tract infections and inflammation as well as inflammation of the prostate. In Europe, it was also used to for gout. The original use of buchu by native peoples of southern Africa is unclear because buchu is a general term for aromatic plants. It appears to have been applied topically, possibly as an insect repellant, and also used internally for stomach problems, rheumatism and bladder problems.