Also Known As: Buchu, Boegoe, Bucco, Bookoo, Diosma, Agathosma
Two species of Agathosma endemic to the Western Cape mountains of South Africa and coloquially referred to as "Buchu" are cultivated on a commercial basis for their essential oils, Agathosma betulina and Agathosma crenulata. The leaves of Agathosma betulina have traditionally been used as an herbal remedy for ailments of the gastrointestinal and urinary tracts, as it has diuretic and antiseptic properties due to various phenolic compounds.
A tea infusion is made with the leaves, and a tincture is traditionally made by placing leaves and stalks into brandy. "Buchu vinegar", prepared by steeping the leaves and stalks in vinegar, also is a traditional remedy used for example in compresses and also taken internally.
The essential oil is used in the manufacture of flavorings and perfume. There appear to be differences in people's perceptions of the smell, possibly determined genetically, rather than by familiarity or nurture. Some people find the smell to be repulsive, while most find it pleasantly herbal. This is not particularly unusual in reaction to the smells of many aromatic Karoo shrubs.