Boldo – (Peumus boldus)
Boldo is an evergreen tree that grows very slowly. It only grows about 6 to 8 meters tall. It produces a small fruit that resembles a berry. The flowers develop as either male or female, and each plant will only produce one sex or the other. The tree grows in the Andean area of Peru and Chile, as well as some parts of Morocco. Italy, Brazil and North Africa cultivate the trees to meet the commercial demands for this popular herb.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally – Boldo is used to treat digestive problems, as a diuretic and to rid the body of intestinal worms. It is a natural laxative. It is also used to increase the bile production of the gall bladder and for liver problems. It has long been used for jaundice, gout, syphilis, gonorrhea, urogenital inflammations, rheumatism, earaches and colds. In Brazil, its main use in herbal remedies is for complaints such as hepatitis, constipation, dizziness, flatulence, liver congestion, cramping in the stomach and intestines and pain. It is also used to stimulate the appetite, to aid sleep and to get rid of gallstones.
Externally – Not used externally.
Other Uses – Boldo is also used as a homeopathic remedy. The yellow-green fruit is eaten in Chile, and the bark of the tree is used to make charcoal and in tanning. Extracts are used to flavor alcoholic drinks and the leaves are used for teas and tonics.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
Boldo is often used with cascara, rhubarb and gentian to stimulate the appetite.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take boldo because it can cause miscarriage and birth defects. If you take blood thinning medications you should not take this herb unless under the guidance of an experienced care provider. You should not take for long term treatment. It is also diuretic, so if you are already taking diuretic medications, tell your care provider you are thinking of taking this herb. Be sure and drink enough fluids if you do take this preparation. Never take more than the recommended dosage.
Preparation and Dosage
Boldo is prepared as capsules, tinctures, liquid extracts or infusion. These commercial preparations are available by prescription only in Europe, and sold as over the counter supplements in the United States.
In general, all boldo preparations can be taken twice a day. For an infusion, use ½ cup of leaf infusion with meals. For a tincture, the single dose is 2 to 4 ml of a 4:1 tincture. Alternatively, you could take 1 to 2 grams of powdered leaf in either capsules or tablets.