Buchu (Agathosma betulina) leaves and oil of buchu were used by the indigenous people of the Cape area of South Africa for hundreds of years. Although its original use is unclear, it appears to have been applied topically on the skin, possibly as an insect repellant, and also used internally for stomach problems, rheumatism, and bladder problems. Buchu's original genus was Barosma, which was changed to Agathosma.
Buchu contains both diosmin and hesperidin, which indicates it may have anti-inflammatory, hypolipidemic (blood cholesterol lowering), and vasoprotective actions.
Most of the plants are still grown in South Africa where the government exercises strict control over the gathering of the leaves to prevent destruction of wild plants.
Agathosma betulina, Agathosma crenulata, Agathosma serratifolia, Barosma betulina, barosma camphor, Barosma crenulata, Barosma serratifolia, barosmae folium, boegoe (Afrikaans), boochoo, bookoo, bucco, buchu brandy, buchu camphor, bucku, diosma, diosmin, hesperidin, ibuchu (Xhosa), long buchu, oil of buchu, oval buchu, ovate buchu, round buchu, round-leaf buchu, Rutaceae (family), short buchu, shortbroad buchu, true buchu.
Note: This monograph does not include Indian buchu (Myrtus communi), which is an unrelated plant.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.