Synonym: Agathosma betulina, Diosma betulina, Agathosma crenulata
Barosma betulina is an evergreen shrub and a flowering plant growing to 2 m tall. The leaves are opposite and of pale green colour, 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, 1/2 inch or less wide, leathery and glossy, with a blunt, strongly-curved tip and finely-toothed margin, with round oil glands scattered through the leaf. Frequently the small white or pae pink flowers, with five petals, and the brownish fruits may be found mixed with the drug. The leaves have a strongly aromatic taste and a peppermint-like odour. ; the fruit is a five-parted capsule which splits open to release the seeds……..click & see the pictures
Wild plants of this species are still plentiful but are being harvested faster than they can reproduce. The threat of their becoming scarce has led to efforts to cultivate them. The essential oils and extracts of the leaves are used as flavoring for teas, candy, and a liquor known as buchu brandy in South Africa. The two primary chemical constituents of the oils of A. betulina are isomenthone and diosphenol. The extract is said to taste like blackcurrant.
Constituents: The principal constituents of Buchu leaves are volatile oil and mucilage, also diosphenol, which has antiseptic properties, and is considered by some to be the most important constituent of Buchu its absence from the variety known as ‘Long Buchu’ has led to the exclusion of the latter leaves from the British Pharmacopoeia.
The plant has been used by the indigenous people of South Africa to as a folk remedy for various disorders. Dutch settlers in early times used Agathosma betulina commonly called buchu to make a brandy tincture. The tincture is still used today. In gravel, inflammation and catarrh of the bladder it is specially useful.
The leaves are used locally for antiseptic purposes and to ward off insects. In western herbalism, the leaves are used for infections of the genito-urinary system, such as cystitis, urethritis and prostates. Internally used for urinary tract infections (especially prostates and cystitis), digestive problems, gout, rheumatism, coughs, and colds, often combined with Althaea officinalis. Externally used in traditional African medicine as a powder to deter insects and in a vinegar-based lotion for bruises and sprains.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.