When you think of heritage, you often refer to a language or culture. But as South Africans, we’re privileged to have another layer of heritage – the magnificent biodiversity found only in our country.
The Cape Floral Kingdom – is the smallest of only 6 Floral Kingdoms worldwide but it is the floral kingdom with the largest botanical diversity. The Cape Floral Kingdom is home to Fynbos, including SA’s national flower, the Protea. But growing alongside the Protea is another national treasure: a fynbos plant called Buchu, which medicinal properties have formed part of the fabric of South Africa for centuries.
Buchu should hold a special place in the heart of all South Africans explains Buchulife producer, Cape Kingdom Nutraceuticals’ managing director Karin McCann:
- Homegrown – Buchu is endemic to the Western Cape, growing nowhere else in the world. For hundreds of years Buchu has helped to effectively manage a range of ailments, including common colds, gut-related ailments, bladder infections, skin condition, joint pain and hypertension. This knowledge was first discovered by the indigenous San and Khoi people centuries ago. They considered the herb to be a cure for all ills and an aid to longevity.
- World travelled – The earliest documented use of Buchu was in the early 1700’s when the San and Khoi people introduced Buchu to European settlers. They took the herb to Europe in the latter part of the 1700s. It became known as ‘Noble’s Tea’, as only the exceptionally wealthy could afford to purchase its leaves. By the 1820’s Buchu was introduced to the medical profession, and by the 1860s the leaf had been imported into the United States as a panacea for a wide variety of ailments. The use of Buchu rapidly spread around the world, and evidence of its fame and widespread use can be found in the cargo manifest of the Titanic, which was carrying thirteen bales of Buchu when she went down.
- A local secret about to be unleashed – A recently published peer reviewed scientific research study has confirmed the overwhelming anecdotal evidence of Buchu’s phenomenal medicinal properties and health benefits that it offers. This includes the antihypertensive, antidiabetic, cardiovascular protective, antimicrobial and natural anti-inflammatory properties of Buchu. In layman’s terms, it lowers blood pressure, assist in the management of blood sugar levels, is great to maintain heart health, works wonders for wound healing and assists in the management of chronic inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, bladder infections and eczema. Buchu extracts is also excellent for detox applications due to its natural diuretic properties. What more can you ask for in one plant?
- International celebrity – Buchu has been gaining in popularity around the world. The plant could be the next “Pinotage” of South Africa. Buchu has all the merits to qualify for Geographic Indication status – a form of intellectual property right given to products that are produced in a certain way and that attribute their quality and reputation to their place of origin. The status was awarded to Rooibos in 2014. This status was also awarded to the unique cultivar Pinotage.