Boldo is an aromatic, richly branched, evergreen shrub comes under family Monimiaceae. The scientific name of Boldo is Peumus boldus. It is the only species that comes under the genus Peumus.
History: Fossilized Boldo leaves dated way before thirteen thousand years have been found in Chile with imprints of human teeth. This proves its usage for dietary or medicinal use since the ancient time.
Common Names: Boldoa Fragrans, Chilean boldo tree, boldu, Boldo tree
Where does Boldo grow?
Basically, boldo belongs to South America. It also grows in Chile, Peru, South America, Argentina, Bolivia, and Ecuador.
Which part of Boldo is beneficial?
The green berry-like fruit of Boldo tree is very tasty and nutritious and is eaten by the natives. Its bark is used in tanning, its wood used for charcoal. It is the leaves of the Boldo tree which is highly beneficial due to its medicinal value. Boldo leaves hold lots of phytochemicals that bring about the medicinal value. The leaves are oval shaped, waxy and highly aromatic. It has barely rolled leaf edges. It has many warts-like beads all over the top. The leaves can be gathered throughout the year.
How to use Boldo?
Boldo comes in different forms like capsules, extracts, tea, and tablets. Boldo leaves are used in Chilean cooking just like we use bay leaves. The essential oil of Boldo is also highly beneficial (only for external use).
How to make Boldo tea?
Take one tsp of dried leaves and pour 1 cup of boiling water over it. Let it stay for 10-15 minutes and drink it warm. Repeat it 2 to 3 times a day. Do not use this tea for long period of time as it may effect adversely. Long term usage of this tea might cause paralysis and sometimes it could be fatal too. The tea should not be taken if the person is suffering from –
- Kidney disorder
- Liver disease
- Patient is on blood-thinning drugs
- Pregnant women
The dosage depends on several factors such as the age and physical condition of the individual and quite a few other states of affairs as well. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for boldo.
- Boldo extract: 2.5 g daily
- Dried leaves: not exceed 2 grams per day
- Tincture: 1-2 ml 2-3 times per day
- Tea: Take one teaspoon of dried leaves in a pot. Pour 1 cup of boiling water into it. Infuse for around 10 to 15 minutes. You can have this drink three times per day.
What are the side effects of Boldo?
Boldo leaves are considered as safe herb if followed the dosage instruction. Exceeding the recommended dose and prolonged use can invite side effects.
- Should not be taken along with blood thinning medication, as some components in boldo act as blood thinners. Concurrent usage can invite issues.
- Essential oil of boldo is very toxic and can cause kidney damage if taken in purified form.
- Boldo sometimes triggers some allergic reaction.
- Even slight overdose can result in dizziness, drowsiness, headache, and vomiting.
- Being slightly laxative, boldo can bring about diarrhea in some individuals.
Are there any safety concerns or risk factors associated with Boldo?
- It should never be used by lactating or pregnant women.
- Never use boldo if you are experiencing any kind of liver issues.
- Should not be given to children.
- Should not be used by individuals experiencing blockage of bile ducts. As boldo increases the flow of bile, the excess bile in blocked bile duct can create serious issues.
- Should stop having boldo two weeks before a scheduled surgery.
What are the health benefits of Boldo?
1. Heals the liver
Boldo improves the detoxification of the liver and shield the liver from the damages caused by harmful medication and toxins that get into the bloodstream. It is also used as a liver tonic due to its ability to affect bile production. It also has a positive effect in the treatment of problems like hepatitis, gallstones, and jaundice. The tea also works in curing constipation, flatulence and enhances appetite and digestion.
In a study done on mice where the a group of mice liver were induced by cisplatin. At the end of the study, it was found that due to the presence of natural antioxidants boldine infusion boldo acted as the protector. It protected the liver from oxidative hepatic damage which was caused due to cisplatin. The study finally suggests the herb infusion could be used as chemoprotection.
2. Good for digestive system
Boldo tea, or dried leaf when combined with other herbs, helps to alleviate digestive issues like loss of appetite, heartburn, constipation and gas formation. Boldo is also used to get rid of intestinal worms. Boldo tea is an excellent choice to get rid of stomach pain due to indigestion.
3. Increases immunity
Boldo enhances the immune system. The immune boosting property of boldo is due to its –
- Antimicrobial and anti-bacterial property
- Anti-inflammatory property
- Antipyretic property (brings down the body temperature)
Rich in antioxidants, boldo helps to prevent the formation of free radicals that cause cell damage. Healthy cells help to keep the infections at bay.
4. Good for treating arthritis
The anti-inflammatory property of the herb is highly beneficial for those who experiencing discomforts and pain of arthritis and rheumatism.
5. Stimulates the function of the gallbladder
Boldine, an alkaloid found in boldo, urges the gallbladder to function better. It even changes the components in the bile. Thus, it helps to prevent the formation of gallstones.
6. Alleviate migraines and Protects against Manganese-Induced Toxicity
Applying Boldo compressors on the forehead provides fast relief from headaches and migraines.
In another study it was found that extract of boldo and alkaloids boldine had a positive effect in healing wild flies affected with Mn Toxicity. The study suggests further study to be conducted to find a potential cure for movement disorders caused by toxicity due to Mn exposure.
7. To treat persisting cough
Boldo syrup, made with 60 grams of dried leaves boiled in one litre of water and 500 grams of sugar (honey is also preferred), is very effective in treating persisting cough.
8. Diuretic property
The diuretic property of this herb helps to bring down the blood pressure. It also helps to get rid of urinary tract infections. It also helps to pump out the toxins from the blood, thereby benefits the health of the kidneys.
9. To bring down the cholesterol level
Boldo is used to reduce the cholesterol level. It is scientifically proven that intake of boldo in recommended dosage for 90 days brings down the bad cholesterol level significantly.
10. Stimulates blood circulation
Being a blood thinner, boldo stimulates the blood circulation. This will help to bring down the chances of blood clots and thereby helps to prevent heart attack and strokes.