With all of the recent talk in foodie circles about buchu, you’d be forgiven for thinking this plant is a new botanical discovery.
It’s been featuring on the menus of more and more top South African restaurants, and even hit the small screen in Masterchef SA.
While its use in the culinary arts may be decidedly contemporary, the truth is that the ancient wisdom behind Agothosma Betulina, or buchu, has been part of the indigenous culture and heritage of South Africa for centuries.
Its earliest documentation was in 1652, when the Cape’s resident Khoisan pastoralists, or bushmen, introduced the first Dutch colonists to the healing herb.
Expensive, rare commodity
It was an extremely scarce and expensive commodity in those days – a mere thimbleful could be exchanged for a sheep.
When these same colonists took buchu back to Europe, it was named "Noble’s Tea" because only the exceptionally wealthy could afford it. Eight bales of buchu were on board the Titanic for her disastrous first and only voyage.
Fortunately, this amazingly versatile plant is considerably cheaper and easier to come by these days, but Cape Moondance was the first to provide 100% pure, organic buchu tea bags, hand harvested, with no preservatives, colourants or other chemical additives - allowing consumers to enjoy the numerous benefits of buchu just the way the Khoisan did, and just as Nature intended.
Buchu, with its distinctive sweet, lemony fragrance, is a member of the magnificent and diverse Fynbos floral kingdom. It is unique to South Africa, and grows only in the rich soil on the mountainous slopes of the Western and Southern Cape.
'Elixir of youth'
The early Khoisan chewed the fresh or dried leaves or made infusions and poultices to heal a wide range of ailment and injuries. They used it as an insect repellant and deodorant and mixed it with sheep fat for use as a moisturizer and lubricant.
It has antibacterial, antifungal and antispasmodic properties, and provides relief from premenstrual cramping and bloating.
Buchu is a natural diuretic and has been approved by the American Food and Drug Administration as a natural weight management supplement.
It has an effective flushing action on the kidneys, and is a great treatment for urinary tract and prostate infections, cystitis, gonorrhea, impotence and low sperm count.
Its anti-inflammatory properties make it a very effective remedy for gout and rheumatism, it prevents hangovers and other symptoms of overindulgence, and was used as the first recorded treatment for cholera.
The Khoisan believed buchu was an elixer of youth and it is widely used today as a general tonic to promote physical wellbeing.
It is a valuable source of vitamins A, B, C, and E, as well as numerous minerals, antioxidants and disease-preventing flavanoids.
Cape Moondance Buchu press release