“Buchu and Rooibos”Â is a newly launched product by Robert Roberts that was sent to me a couple of weeks ago to taste. I have a huge interest in South African herbs but had never heard of Buchu so Google had to step in to help.
The most common varieties of the plant are Agathosma betulina and Agathosma crenulata. However, these are just two of the 150 varieties in the Agathosma family that thrive in the climate of the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The plant is a member of the citrus family but has a strong flavor of blackcurrant. The seeds can be planted from April to June with harvesting 18 months later between the months of October and April.
Buchu tea seems to have many applications. The essental oil from the buchu plant is recommended for arthritis, bloating, indigistion, hypertension and lots of other ailments but its strongest association is with soothing and strengthining the urinary system and relieving the symptoms of urinary tract infections.
Little research has been carried out to establish its effectiveness as a medicine so most people refer to what are thought to be its original uses by native South Africans: ingested for bladder problems and rheumatism and applied topically as an as an insect repellent. Steeping the leaves in brandy produces an alcoholic buchu brandy (known as boegoe-brandewyn). Several websites note that Buchu should be avoided in pregnancy because traditionally it was known to stimulate uterine contractions. Breastfeeding women should also avoid Buchu.
For more information on planting and harvesting there is a good brochure here on Buchu from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Republic of South Africa
Note: I did not buy this tea â€“ it was sent to me to taste. I have no affiliation with Robert Roberts and have not been paid or compensated for writing this post.