Agathosma betulina – Round-leaf buchu

herbs for health ed138 mar14

Agathosma betulina – Round-leaf buchu

Did you Know……………….?

There are about 250 000 plant species in the world and South Africa has about 30 000 species. We have roughly 81 species per square kilometre, something to really be proud of. Agathosma betulina – Round-leaf buchu is perhaps one of the most important.
It originates and grows in a restricted natural area of the mountains of the Western Cape. This perennial evergreen shrub of up to 2 m high has bright green leaves, with small star-shaped white or pale mauve/pink flowers in Spring.

Part of the cultural heritage of the early Koi and San people, Buchu is a word for dusting powder. For medicinal purpose, the Koi and San chewed the leaves to relieve stomach complaints, and mix the leaves with sheep fat as an ointment to treat wounds.

In the 17thcentury, when Dutch colonists settled in South Africa they learned about the herb and adopted Buchu leaf for urinary tract infections, kidney stones, cholera and muscle aches. They also made a brandy from it, which was consumed as a digestive tonic. It was first exported to Europe as a medicine in the early 1800’s.

The traditional uses of buchu have been well researched and modern usage is as an antibacterial, diuretic and anti-inflammatory. It’s an effective treatment of bladder and urinary tract infections (UTI) and kidney infections, and is also used in the treatment of prostate infections. Buchu is used as an urinary antiseptic, The leaves contain an oil that increases urine production. It has also been used to treat high blood pressure, congenital heart failure, stomach aches, cholera, nausea, vomiting and indigestion.

The leaf is used in the perfume, cosmetic, tea and aromatherapy industries.. It is a flavour enhancer, binder and fixative and is used to enhance the flavour of berry-based cool drinks. Fishermen rub buchu twigs between their hands to remove the smell of fish, and campers rub their bedding with the twigs to keep ants and mosquitoes away.

For urinary tract infections: Make a tea with 1 tsp leaves, 1 ½ cups boiled water and take twice daily, for gout, arthritis and rheumatism, take twice daily. Dry the leaves and make a powder, mix with a cream to use as an insect repellent. Contra Indications and Special Precautions: Buchu should not be used during pregnancy. Possible Drug Interaction: None known and regarded as safe in most countries of the world. How lucky we are to have such wonderful plants available to us .

Yours in herbs,
Diane Aldworth 0828081519 dragonair@lantic.net