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Cape Town - A pharmaceutical company has signed an agreement with the National Khoi-San Council to share benefits from the commercial development of the buchu plant for medicinal purposes.
Under the agreement, drawn up in terms of the Biodiversity Act of 2004, Khoi and San communities will get three percent of the profits from the buchu products.
Cape Kingdom Nutraceuticals’s agreement acknowledges that the medicinal plant knowledge of the Khoi and San predates that of later South African inhabitants and say that these groups are therefore legally entitled to a share of the money from the commercialisation of the plant as a medicine.
The company will share its knowledge of the commercial use of the plant with the indigenous groups in exchange for the San and Khoi endorsing their products.
Council chairman Cecil le Fleur said in a statement that the groups were “proud and excited” to be part of the commercialisation process.
“We feel that this partnership will be to the benefit of the Khoikhoi and San people in South Africa, and will contribute to our development and empowerment,” Le Fleur said.
The company is working on the buchu product with academics from Tygerberg Hospital and with Professor Tim Noakes from UCT.
It has been researching the medicinal benefits of buchu for 14 years and has commissioned researchers to conduct clinical trials and analytical research on developing buchu extracts to treat diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.
It says the three main uses of buchu are as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and in the treatment of hypertension.
The company extracts the buchu oils in a patented process it says is “100 percent natural”.
The leaves are picked by hand and then processed immediately.