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Raman, V., Sagi, S., Gala, A.M., Avula, B., Viljoen, A.M., Khan, I.A. 2015. Adulteration in commercial buchu dietary supplements: analyses of commercial and authentic buchu samples and comparative studies of Agathosma betulina and Agathosma crenulata by microscopy and HPTLC. South African Journal of Botany 100: 122-131.
Buchu is a popular
medicinal plant known for its beneficial properties such as diuretic, urinary
tract antiseptic, stimulant and tonic. It has traditionally been used to treat
urinary tract infections and stomach troubles. It is widely marketed in the USA
in various forms as dietary supplements. Buchu used in commerce is mainly
derived from Agathosma betulina known
as round-leaf or short buchu. However, leaves of A. crenulata, which may contain high levels of pulegone in the
essential oil, and other closely related species are often marketed as or used
to adulterate buchu thus making the product potentially unsafe for human
consumption. In the present work, 43 samples of authentic and commercial buchu
were assessed by microscopy and high performance thin layer
chromatography methods. Adulterations or contaminations with
senna, grass and various other extraneous materials were observed in some of
the buchu products. HPTLC fingerprinting showed that the profiles of 11 samples
were not comparable to those of authentic and botanically verified buchu
samples. Detailed morphology and anatomy of the leaves of A. betulina and A. crenulataby light and scanning electron microscopy are illustrated and discussed. Minute
prismatic crystals of calcium oxalate were observed for the first time in A. betulina.