When it comes to natural health remedies, Agathosma betulina, or buchu as it’s more commonly known, comes out on top.
Buchu is an evergreen, flowering shrub that’s indigenous to South Africa. It forms part of the Cape’s fynbos plant kingdom. The leaves of the buchu plant are a fantastic source of minerals, anti-oxidants, flavonoids and vitamins.
Today buchu is hugely popular for its healing properties and unique flavour. However, knowledge of this plant is far from new to the human race. The use of buchu was first documented by the Dutch colonists in Cape Town as far back as 1652, and prior to that the indigenous Khoisan people used it for its medicinal and anti-ageing properties. By the 1800s, buchu tea was in demand around the world for its healthful properties.
Buchu was even used during the Crimean and First World Wars as an antiseptic to clean battlefield wounds.
What can you use buchu to treat?
Modern research has confirmed the anti-bacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties of buchu.
Among the complaints you can use buchu to treat are:
- urinary tract infections
- prostate infections
- general infections and inflammation
- sexually transmitted diseases
- premenstrual cramping and bloating
- arthritis and rheumatism
- eczema and psoriasis
- low sperm count
- high cholesterol
- excess weight, due to its diuretic properties.
As research on this incredible plant continues, it’s likely that the list of ailments you can use it to treat will continue to grow.
How is buchu available?
Buchu is commonly consumed in the form of tea. It’s also available in gels, tablets and a range of flavoured herbal waters, and in the traditional South African brandy known as “boegoe brandewyn”.
You can soak buchu leaves in vinegar and use the resulting solution, either drinking it or applying it to treat external wounds. However, note that buchu is a protected plant and you need a licence to be in possession of it.