Updated 12 November 2015

Buchu may help beat cancer

Buchu may be useful in the fight against cancer as it helps to stop the inflammation associated with the disease.

The medicinal properties in Buchu could be a formidable approach to beating cancer as it aids in stopping inflammation.

Inflammation is the body’s natural attempt at self-protection, the aim being to remove harmful stimuli including damaged cells, irritants or pathogens and to begin the healing process.

Cell damage

While inflammation is a natural and positive result in the process of healing, chronic inflammation is what we need to watch out for – when the inflammation process is not successful in its attempt to heal, chronic inflammation sets in causing cell damage leading to chronic inflammatory ailments.

Read: Here's how this SA plant could cure your bladder infection

“Inflammation is a physiological response to either trauma or an infection,” says Professor Patrick Bouic, independent researcher for Cape Kingdom Nutraceuticals. According to Bouic, there are specific cells which are triggered to mount this response and to curb damage induced by the infective agent or trauma.

“Usually the inflammation resolves itself after a few days, the tissue is repaired during the process and the infective agent killed and controlled. However, when this does not occur and the inflammation persists, chronic inflammation sets in which is damaging rather than repairing like acute inflammation.”  

Chronic inflammation is a huge concern for many reasons; one being that it can predispose an individual to cancer. “Chronic inflammation is due to the presence of diverse cells that secrete very different inflammatory factors,” says Bouic.

Read: Inflammation tied to cancer

These factors trigger genes which can lead to the transformation of cells or activation of oncogenes – a gene that has the potential to cause cancer.

Based on this, chronic inflammation is often linked to cancer and of course other chronic diseases such as arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and skin conditions such as eczema.

No harmful side-effects

Some of the most common cancers linked to chronic inflammation include lymphoid cancer (lymphoma and leukaemia), prostate cancer and breast cancer.

These cancer types are especially sensitive to inflammatory factors.

Endemic to the Western Cape of South Africa, Buchu is a potent natural anti-inflammatory with no harmful side-effects and is considered nature’s wonder pain reliever and anti-inflammatory.

Read: The real killer of our time

When asked how Buchu can assist with managing inflammation, Bouic comments, “To date research has shown that Buchu contains molecules that aid in stopping both acute as well as chronic inflammation.

"It has shown to ‘switch-off’ the genes leading to the release of inflammatory factors linked with chronic status by inflammatory cells.”

Complex mixture of molecules

The outcome of a comparative study (in vitro) in which the anti-inflammatory properties of Buchu were compared to that of quercetin (a natural anti-inflammatory available in over the counter format), showed that Buchu was possibly 100 times more potent in terms of its anti-inflammatory action.

Read: What makes Buchu a natural antibiotic?

“This is possibly due to the complex mixture of molecules, each one having its own target therefore having a synergistic outcome,” he comments.

Buchu has its place in combating cancer. “We should never say that it can cure cancer in a solitary state, but added to drugs that stop cell division, it could be a formidable approach to beating cancer – Buchu will stop the release of the inflammatory factors that feed the cancer while registered anti-cancer drugs will prevent the transformed cells from dividing.”

Buchu is recognised as South Africa's most valuable medicinal plant, and its use and benefits have been documented for over three hundred years.

In this respect, BuchuLife™ is in a benefit-sharing agreement with the South African San Council and the National Khoisan Council as a befitting acknowledgement of the wealth of knowledge that was gleaned from the San and Koi, who introduced Buchu and its various medicinal benefits to the world. 

Read more:

Healthy weight loss cuts cancer risk  

Inflammation – the unseen enemy

Could depression really cause inflammation?


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CANSA’s purpose is to lead the fight against cancer in South Africa. Its mission is to be the preferred non-profit organisation that enables research, educates the public and provides support to all people affected by cancer. Questions are answered by CANSA’s Head of Health Professor Michael Herbst. For more information, visit

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