Scientific: Agathosma betulina [WikiPedia]
Composition: Contain diosmin and hesperidin. Buchu also contains pulegone, which is hepatotoxic.
Appearance: Buchu is a small, green, woody plant found in western South Africa. In several reports of the late nineteenth century, buchu was described as “about the size of a hedgehog.” The leaves have an incredibly pungent aroma that is similar to peppermint that increases as the leaves are dried.
Parts Used: Dried leaf and small flowers.
Common Uses: Buchu oil is widely used in the perfume industry, as well as a component in artificial fruit flavors, alcoholic beverages, frozen dairy desserts, candy, condiments and relishes. The original usage of buchu by the natives of South Africa is somewhat unclear, as the word buchu is a general term in South Africa for aromatic plant. Some have theorized that it may have been applied topically as an insect repellant. True to its description of being a multi-purpose specie, Buchu has long been used as an antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory, for urinary problems including maladies such as haematuria, calculi, kidney disease and infections of the bladder, prostate and urethra. Buchu’s pharmacological profile allows it to be used for its diuretic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic purposes. Its uses today have spread beyond its medicinal applications, as this compound has made its way into the fragrance and flavour industries where it is used to enhance fruit flavours and boost fragrances. The herbs are particularly useful for black currant flavors. The taste of the leaves is believed to be green herbal, sweet berry, minty camphoraceous, tropical guava, apricot, and peach-like.
The Buchu plant should be used at low dosages for most purposes as it contains diosphenol, a compound known to be toxic at higher doses.
Topic Specific Research:
- Buchu Oil: Benefits, Uses, Properties, and Side Effects [Article]
- Improved LC methods for the determination of diosmin and/or hesperidin in plant extracts and pharmaceutical formulations [PubMED]
- Buchu (Agathosma betulina and A. crenulata, Rutaceae) essential oils: their pharmacological action on guinea-pig ileum and antimicrobial activity on microorganisms [PubMED]
- ‘Buchu’ -Agathosma betulina and Agathosma crenulata (Rutaceae): a review [PubMED]
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PLEASE NOTE that herbal and other natural products can harm your animals – not all plants are safe and gentle! Do not attempt using any of the ingredients listed, or any other plant matter, without the guidance of a qualified herbalist.