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Family: Rutaceae (citrus family)
- Oval-leaf buchu
- Langblaar boegoe
- Buchu (Khoi)
- Ibuchu (Xhosa)
Agathosma betulina is a woody shrub, commonly known as Buchu.
It forms a charming garden shrub with a rounded shape and grows to a height of 1.5 to 2.5 m. It has starry white flowers, 1 to 3, are carried on short, leafless branchlets which form in the axils of the oval leaves.
Agathosma betulina is endemic to the Western Cape Cederburg region of South Africa and adapted to dry conditions and can be found on sunny hillsides of rocky-sandstone slopes.
Buchu plant material processed into buchu oil, buchu extract, dried buchu leaves, buchu water, and powdered buchu is not only used for medicinal and cosmetic purposes, but also as flavouring agents in the food industry. Buchu is highly sought after globally for its essential oils.
Buchu is an important plant in the Khoi-San tradition and still enjoys a great reputation as a general health tonic, diuretic, and mild urinary antiseptic. The essential oil is a valuable flavour product and is probably responsible for the antispasmodic, antiseptic, and diuretic activities. Some medicinal uses of Agathosma betulina include treatment as an antispasmodic, antipyretic, liniment, cough remedy, cold and flu remedy, diuretic, treatment of kidney and urinary tract infections, haematuria, prostatitis, cholera, stomach ailments, rheumatism, gout, bruises, and an antiseptic. Tinctures of buchu are great general health tonics, treatment for stomach aches, use as aromatic bitters, diuretics, and mild urinary antiseptics. The San lubricated their bodies with aromatic plants mixed with fat to keep their skin soft and moist in the desert climate. The lubrication also served as an antibacterial and antifungal protectant, acted as an insect repellent, a deodorant, and to promote the general well-being of the body by uptake of the aromatic substances through the skin.
Growing Agathosma betulina
Agathosma betulina is easily grown from seed. Propagating from cuttings takes a bit longer and is difficult.
Buchus are best planted out during the winter -spring season. Plants require good watering in winter and moderate watering in summer.