What is Boldo?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

Native to the Andes Mountains of Chile, boldo is a tree used as a home herbal remedy. Taken as an antiseptic and tonic for many different conditions, boldo is known for its strong, camphor-like aroma. The tree is also used for culinary purposes.

Parts of the boldo tree has been used as a home remedy to treat hangovers.
Parts of the boldo tree has been used as a home remedy to treat hangovers.

Boldo is also known as peumus boldus, boldu boldus lyons, boldus fragrans, and boldea fragrans. Also grown in North Africa, Europe, and Latin America, the evergreen features leathery leaves that are two inches (5 centimeters) in length, and small spheres of fruit. In Spain and Latin America, boldo leaves and bark are a popular herbal medicine.

Some of the tree's uses include supporting the gallbladder, curing hangovers, and soothing upset stomach. An anti-inflammatory agent, boldo may also be used to treat gonorrhea, rheumatism, liver pain, dyspepsia, urinary tract infections, sinus infections, colon problems, obesity, and genital inflammation. It was also the original treatment for malaria and internal parasites such as worms, though these uses have since been replaced with more effective, less dangerous remedies.

An anti-inflammatory agent, boldo may be used to treat obesity.
An anti-inflammatory agent, boldo may be used to treat obesity.

A dieuretic, boldo stimulates bile production. It can also increase the secretion of gastric juices and uric acid. Because of its mild narcotic properties, boldo is also a restricted substance in certain areas. Used with other herbs, such as gentian, cascara, and rhubarb, boldo may help improve appetite. The plant may also be a suitable alternative to some other drugs, such as amoxycillin, ofloxacin, penicillin, ciprofloxacin, or other antibiotics.

Boldo may improve gallbladder health.
Boldo may improve gallbladder health.

Herbal teas can be made from boldo. People in Paraguay, Chile, Brazil, and Uruguay use it in their yerba mate tea, and often keep a boldo tree for this reason. The tree also bears nutritious, sweet fruits. Small and round, these yellow or green boldo fruits appear during a narrow winter period. Boldo is also used for charcoal production.

Pregnant and nursing women should avoid this herbal remedy. The treatment is not recommended for people with kidney disease, as it can cause irritation in severe cases. People with liver obstructions and severe liver disease should refrain from using the homeopathy remedy as well. Long-term use of the product for more than three to four continuous weeks is also inadvisable.

Boldo is native to parts of the Andes.
Boldo is native to parts of the Andes.

Essential oil made from the tree should be handled with care, as even low doses have the potential to induce bodily convulsions, ear ringing, or a coma. Because of its strong unpleasant scent, boldo is not recommended for aromatherapy use. A physician should be consulted prior to use.

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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    • Parts of the boldo tree has been used as a home remedy to treat hangovers.
      By: WavebreakmediaMicro
      Parts of the boldo tree has been used as a home remedy to treat hangovers.
    • An anti-inflammatory agent, boldo may be used to treat obesity.
      By: olly
      An anti-inflammatory agent, boldo may be used to treat obesity.
    • Boldo may improve gallbladder health.
      By: peterjunaidy
      Boldo may improve gallbladder health.
    • Boldo is native to parts of the Andes.
      By: Photofollies
      Boldo is native to parts of the Andes.
    • Even small doses of boldo essential oil can be toxic.
      By: Lucie Říhová
      Even small doses of boldo essential oil can be toxic.
    • Boldo may be used to treat urinary tract infections.
      By: 7activestudio
      Boldo may be used to treat urinary tract infections.