Buchu is widely used and a great reputation for helping support kidney and urinary tract problems, for the symptomatic support of joint pain, and also for external application on wounds and bruises (in traditional health as "buchu vinegar"). Buchu is an excellent tonic and can be used to help support minor digestive disturbances. Buchu leaf and buchu oil are important flavour components in herbal teas and food products.
Other Names: Buchu (French); Bucco (German); buchu (Italian).
Description: Buchu is a gland-dotted shrub of up in in height, with small, characteristically rounded leaves of which the tips curve backwards. The white or pale purple flowers are small and star-shaped. This species sometimes confused with oval leaf buchu, A. crenulata (synon. Barosma crenulata), but in the latter the leaves are more than twice as long as they are broad. Several other species have rarely been used as a source "buchu".
Origin:A. betulina occurs only in South Africa and a restricted natural distribution area in the mountains of the Western Cape Province. It is cultivated on a small but increasing scale.
Parts Used: Dry or fresh leaves (Barosmae folium; synon. Folio Bucco).
Therapeutic Category: Diuretic, diaphoretic and stimulant tonic.
Active Ingredients: Buchu contains essential oil (2.5%) with limonene, isomenthone, diosphenol (buchu camphor) and terpinen-4-ol as the main compounds. Sulphur-containing minor compounds (such as 8-mercapto-p-methane-3-one) are partly respon- sible for the characteristic blackcurrant smell and flavour. Oil from oval leaf buchu (A. crenulata) is less desirable because it contains little or no diosphenol and high levels of pulegone, a potentially toxic compound. Mucilage, resins and flavonoids (mainly diosmin) are present.
Health Effects: Buchu and buchu oil are considered to have urinary antiseptic, diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties. However, there is as yet no published scientific evidence to justify any of the traditional indications, including the use as urinary tract disinfectant.
Status: Traditional health; Comm. E+; Pharm.
Preparation and Dosage: A dose of 1-2 g of dry leaf (or equivalent quantities in the form of a liquid extracts) may be taken three times per day.
Make an infusion using one ounce of buchu leaves to a pint of water. For an after-dinner tea to replace coffee, combine:
Buchu leaves - 2 parts
Uva ursi - 2 parts
Orange peel - 1 part
Peppermint - 1 part
Camomile - 1 part
Dosage:: Standard infusion; in formula, 3-9 grams; of the liquid extract, 10-30 drops.
Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 tea bag for each cup into the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the pot, cover and let steep for 2-4 minutes. Pour into your cup; add milk and sugar to taste.
Iced tea brewing method: (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 5 tea bags into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea itself. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into the serving pitcher straining the tea bags. Add ice and top-up with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste.
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