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Herb Library

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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.




BUCHU
RUTACEAE
aka Bookoo, Bucco, Buccoblätter (Ger), Buku, Diosma betulina, Ibuchu, Round-leaved Buchu, Short-leaved Buchu, Thumb
Agathosma betulina syn Barosma betulina
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!CAUTION!
Large doses can cause vomiting, difficulty urinating, and a burning sensation in the stomach!
Irritating to kidneys!
AVOID with history of serious kidney disease, kidney failure, kidney inflammation, genito-urinary inflammation, and pregnancy!

CONTAINS: A substance which blocks UV light; diosphenol (barosma camphor), flavonoids, calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, selenium, manganese, magnesium, silicon.
Essential oil contains: diosmin, pulegone (both irritants), limonene and menthone.



A low shrub, 2½ to 3 feet, with many angular branches, glabrous, native to the Cape area of South Africa. Leaves small (to 3/4"), ovate to obovate, opposite, pale green, serrated, dotted with oil glands, having thyme-like aroma; flowers 5-petaled, 1/2" across, pink to white, filaments hairy, solitary at the ends of short, axillary branchlets; fruit a brownish oval capsule.

Buchu is an African word for 'dusting powder'. Long before settlement by the Europeans, Buchu was used as a medicinal by the Hottentots of South Africa.



PROPAGATION: By semiripe cuttings in late summer in sand.
NEEDS: A warm climate. Is grown as an ornamental in well-drained, rich, acid soil in full sun at a minimum temperature of 41ºF. Cut back hard in spring to control size and pinch to encourage fullness.
HARVEST: Leaves when plant is flowering and fruiting; leaves then dried.
PART USED: Leaves
SOLVENT: Alcohol, water.
RELATED VARIETIES:
LONG BUCHU (Agathosma crenulata syn Agathosma serratifolia): Much taller plant (to 10 feet) with purplish shoots with leaves 3/4 to 1½ inches long; flowers white with purplish anthers, solitary at ends of short, axillary branchlets. Used the same as A. betulina, but is not the preferred variety.

USES

MEDICINAL:
Aromatic, antiseptic, carminative, diuretic, tonic, diaphoretic (taken as hot tea); stimulates and cleanses the urinary system, helps to eliminate uric acid; affects bladder, stomach, and lungs. Causes a sensation of heat in the stomach which spreads out, increasing pulse, stimulating appetite, and increasing urine output.
Has been used for urinary tract infections (often combined with couchgrass and yarrow, also Uva-ursi), prostatitis, cystitis, urethritis, pyelitis, spermatorrhea, dysuria, urine rentention, cancer, digestive problems, skin problems, gout, rheumatism, coughs, colds (often combined with Althea officinalis), chronic bronchitis, gravel, irritation and congestion of the bladder, dropsy, leukorrhea, gallstones, kidney problems, yeast infection, and bloat. Often included in herbal diet pills because of its ability to reduce bloating and excess water (doesn't do a thing for your real weight problem though, since this herb also stimulates appetite!)
Has been combined with Marshmallow leaf and/or Corn Silk for burning during urination. Has also been used for bed wetting
Has been used for the early stages of diabetes.
Has been prepared in vinegar and used as a lotion for bruises and sprains.

DOSE: TRADITIONAL DOSAGES FOR PROFESSIONAL NOTE ONLY!
!All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
NOTE: Infusion usually taken cool (e.g. to increase flow of urine), except where the benefits of a diaphoretic are needed.
LEAVES SHOULD NEVER BE BOILED (destroys the healing properties and is true of almost all leaves and flowers used as herbs)
POWDER = 15 to 30 grains
INFUSION = 1 tsp dried leaf in 1 cup water just off the boil and steeped for 15 minutes; 1/2 cup taken 3 times daily. 1 cupful can also be allowed to cool and one mouthful taken at a time throughout the day.
TINCTURE = 1/2 to 1 tsp, 3 or 4 times daily.
EXTRACT = 10 to 30 drops in water.

CULINARY:
Has been used in Africa in combination with Artemisia Afra to add flavor to brandy and wine and to enhance the black currant type aroma of the liqueur cassia. Also used to flavor tea.
In Tunisia, Buchu brandy is served as a cocktail.
The essential oil is used by food manufacturers in candy, ice cream, baked goods, and condiments.

OTHER:
Used as an ingredient in incense.





©2005 by Ernestina Parziale, CH

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