Buchu is used to treat many modern-day ailments.Picture: Supplied
Buchu is the new youth and wellness elixir, if recent buzz is anything to go by.

While the “miracle herb” has been used for centuries to treat ailments ranging from arthritis to urinary and fungal infections, lately health fanatics are using this non-inflammatory as part of their routines. Social media users are boastfully posting their photos of home-made buchu edibles such as smoothies, teas and even salads where they use the plant as a garnish.

Buchu is a fynbos shrub and is native to the Western Cape where it was used as a general stimulant and diuretic by the Khoisan people for centuries.

An independent researcher for Cape Kingdom Nutraceuticals, Professor Patrick Bouic, says the current obsession is that more people are seeking alternative natural medicine, and they are finding the buchu to be an alternative.

Bouic says since the plant is 100% natural there are no side-effects and it can safely be used long-term.

“It contains many active molecules that control inflammation and conditions such as eczema, high blood pressure, stabilise blood sugar levels and treat other modern-day ailments.”

Furthermore, he says, buchu is not only good for humans, but is used to treat inflammation in animals such as dogs and horses.

He says buchu has many benefits which promote good health and a better quality of life. But only in the last 15 years has substantial research been commissioned into its medicinal properties.

Louii Engelbrecht, a dietitian and homoeopathic researcher, says because buchu was originally used as an anti-inflammatory, it’s now used by top athletes to help recover after strenuous exercise. He says researchers have also shown that this plant can be used to treat water retention in patients that opt for a herbal treatment instead of a prescribed diuretic.

Buchu comes in the form of tea that you can brew and drink, or a powder which can be added to various dishes. Both are equally effective. It is a great additive for weight loss as it helps with the absorption of excess water. It’s also used as a detox agent.

Not only does it have antioxidant properties that help ease stomach spasms, it is loaded with polyphenols that have been proven to reduce cancer risk.

When combined with cinnamon or ginger the buchu tonic is said to have calming effects, especially for the digestive tract.

It also assists in the management of irritable bowel syndrome, soothes sore throats and reduces cold and flu symptoms.