In South Africa, buchu has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb, treating everything from arthritis to flatulence. The indigenous Khoisan believed this miracle plant to be an elixir of youth – with healing properties found in the leaves of the buchu plant. When buchu tea was first introduced to Europe, it was known as ‘Noble’s Tea’ as only the very wealthy could afford it. Records of the Titanic’s cargo show that the fated ship was even carrying eight bales of buchu on its voyage.
The small, woody plant is typically found in Western Africa, and its leaves have a powerful, forceful aroma that intensifies as the leaves are dried. Both the flavour and the odour of the leaves are typically described as slightly spicy, with a cross between blackcurrant, rosemary and peppermint.
Buchu (and its three varieties known as Agathosma betulina, Agathosma serratifolia and Agathosma crenulata) should not be confused with the plant known as Indian buchu (Myrtus communis), which doesn’t provide the same healing action.
Traditionally buchu was used in folk remedies for urinary tract infections, and this is one area where the herb can still deliver powerful results. The leaves of the plant are naturally rich in potent anti-inflammatory properties, as well as being anti-infective, antifungal and antibacterial. The leaves can help manage bacterial urinary tract infections, as well as helping with arthritic conditions which require an anti-inflammatory.
The leaves have diuretic properties which can help flush out infections – coupled with its antibacterial action; this can help treat UTIs effectively.
The leaves can be used in topical applications where the anti-inflammatory and antiseptic action can help with skin conditions like eczema. The anti-inflammatory properties of the leaves also make it a useful herb for treating high blood pressure and diabetes – both of which are caused by underlying inflammation.
Dried buchu leaf is most commonly used in teas and tinctures, rarely in capsule form. It combines well with other botanical ingredients in tea forms, such as couchgrass, cranberry, dandelion, parsley and goldenrod. Tinctures are commonly taken with brandy.
The perfume industry also uses buchu – this time utilising the oil of the plant which is extracted by process of steam distillation. Its leathery leaves have oil-glandular dots situated on their undersides where the oil is harvested from. The oil is also used as one of the components in artificial fruit flavours (usually blackcurrant), sweets, condiments and some alcoholic beverages.
To keep your business running you need a wholesale supplier you can rely on to deliver bulk quantities of buchu leaves when you need them. At Joseph Flach & Sons, this is precisely what we do – you can be confident that we will supply you with only the very top-quality product from our trusted global network of suppliers.
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