Boldo (Peumus boldus) grows in Chile and Peru, and is now being cultivated in Brazil as well. The leaves are made into a tincture or infusion or made into tablets or capsules. It contains over a dozen alkaloids, one of which, boldine, is considered responsible for the physiological effects of boldo. One company also combines it with psyllium and other Amazon herbs in an intestinal cleansing formula.
Boldo is commonly used for digestive problems and elimination issues, as well as for liver and gallbladder support. The boldo leaf also contains a volatile oil which can be toxic. It is effective against parasites, but the oil itself should be used with caution. Boldo also displays antioxidant activities.
Health Benefits of Boldo
Many digestive problems such as gas and poor nutrient absorption, result from a lack of bile and digestive juices, which result in slow digestion. Boldo stimulates digestion by increasing secretion of bile and gastric juices, and is thus widely used for improving digestion.
Liver & Gallbladder Health
Boldo shows liver-protective activity, preventing liver damage from drugs and toxins, and detoxifying the liver. It also stimulates bile production in the liver and gallbladder, and can help with gallstones and gallbladder inflammation.
Boldo is active against parasites such as worms and has been used against malaria.
It is a diuretic and a urinary antiseptic. It may be useful for utrinary tract infections (UTIs) due to its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory actiivities.
It also shows beneficial effects for the cardiovascular system. It can inhibit platelet aggregation, increase coronary blood flow, reduce cardiac force and heart rate, and has a vasorelaxant effect.
Boldo should not be consumed regularly or in high dosages due to potential toxicity.
Distilled essential oil products of boldo should only be used externally, as it contains asaridole which is toxic to the liver.
It also has such a strong effect on the gallbladder that it may ultimatley cause a blockage in the bile ducts. Experts recommend comibing it with other herbs and using it in small amounts to prevent these problems.
Boldo is contraindicated during pregnancy and for women who are breast-feeding, as well as for anyone taking blood-thinning medication.
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Sources & Resources
The 5-Minute Herb and Dietary Supplement Consult, Adriane Fugh-Berman
The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook: Your Everyday Reference to the Best Herbs for Healing, James A. Duke
Amazon Herbs A-Z: Herbal Recipes & Remedies, V. Osalina Berman, M.H.
Medicinal Plants of the World: an Illustrated Scientific Guide to Important Medicinal Plants and Their Uses, Michael Wink