The Rich History of Buchu

by edstorm

An in-depth look at the history and uses of the Buchu herb, an African plant which is being used to create a variety of natural, herbal health products.

Buchu is one of myriad medicinal plants which grace the great African continent but unlike many of its ancient counterparts, its history is intricately interwoven with South Africa’s colonial past.

The aromatic fynbos shrub, which grows exclusively amongst bouquets of vibrantly coloured protea, erica, restios and rooibos - families of plants which define the Cape Floral Kingdom - has countless roles to play in our modern consumer driven society.

Blackcurrant aroma

With a distinctive aroma similar to that of Bourgeons de Cassis, Buchu was traditionally used by the indigenous peoples of the Cape as an alluring body perfume which doubled as an insect repellent. Today, the blackcurrant scent is liberally employed to enhance berry flavours in the food and tobacco industries.

Centuries ago and with instinctive knowledge, the indigenous herders and hunter-gatherers collected the leaves of this natural resource which was so highly prized. Only a tiny bit elicited the prohibitively high price tag of an entire sheep.

The Buchu Plant

Buchu Plant

Natural elixir

Once dry, the leaves were added to boiling water to form a tincture or powdered into a poultice. Buchu, in its simplest form, was recognised as a natural elixir capable of curing a litany of ills.

Boer Buchu Brandy

Buchu BrandyThis innate knowledge was shared with the Dutch colonisers of the day, who refined the process by adding the dried Buchu leaves to pot stilled brandy, creating Buchu Brandy, a palatable tonic with a significant kick.

Exported across oceans

Buchu’s efficacy was such, the humble little plant was officially listed in the British pharmacopoeia in 1821 and was one of the most highly desired treasures of the far flung colonies. Bales of dried leaves were exported to Europe and the Americas, with the doomed Titanic but one of the ships that plied the Atlantic with Buchu aboard.

Essential oil

Buchu Essential OilToday, Buchu is commercially cultivated in the Western Cape mountains, but instead of harvesting and drying the leaves, Buchu oil is carefully extracted in an organic distillation process and marketed as the active ingredient in a range of potent natural health care products or as an essential oil used in perfumes, cosmetics and soaps.

Natural anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-spasmodic and diuretic

Scientific evidence has backed the incredible intuitive awareness of the first inhabitants of the Cape, and Buchu is recognised the world over as a powerful and effective natural anti-inflammatory, diuretic and antiseptic which not only provides high levels of natural pain relief and UTI relief but promotes a healthy heart and supports strong joints and connective tissue too!

As such a whole range of natural, herbal health products have been derived from the Buchu herb by companies such as Buchulife.

Buchu Health Products

Buchu Health Products
Buchu Health Products
Updated: 07/30/2012, edstorm
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