Peumus boldus, commonly referred to as boldo, is an evergreen shrub that reaches up to 6 to 8 meters in height and has its origins in the country of Chile. The shrub is found aplenty in the fields of the Andes in Chile and Peru as well as in certain regions of Morocco. The leaves of boldo plant are believed to have high medicinal value and are in great demand in Canada and European countries. Boldo leaves is around 2 inches long, and turn brown when they become dry.
Did You Know?The boldo plant has been used since the time of the Inca civilization for various medical purposes.
As far as the use of boldo leaves is concerned, making a steaming cup of tea from the dried leaves of this shrub is the best option to reap its benefits. Boldo leaf powder, capsules, and liquid extracts of boldo leaves, in the form of tincture, are also available.
Purported Health Benefits
Exhibit Antimicrobial Properties
Boldo leaves are said to possess strong antibacterial and antiseptic properties. So, drinking the boldo leaf tea can make the immune system resistant to a variety of infectious agents. Due to their antibacterial properties, boldo leaves can be used to treat syphilis and gonorrhea, as these sexually transmitted infections are bacterial in nature.
Supports Liver Function
In the Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook by James A. Duke, the author mentions that boldo leaves contain active ingredients that can be helpful to promote liver health. Traditionally, boldo leaves have been known for their choleretic activity; meaning, they help increase flow of bile from the liver. The increase in bile production improves digestion as bile is primarily involved in breakdown of ingested food. The increased bile movement may also help get rid of gallstones.
Digestion problems such as heartburn, upset stomach, and flatulence can also be treated with boldo leaves. The practitioners of Brazilian herbal medicine recommend boldo leaves for the treatment of hepatitis. For the native tribes of Peru, the boldo leaves hold a spot for liver treatment. The natives of Chile have been using it for treating gallbladder problems. Thus, boldo leaf tea may serve as a liver tonic, in turn improving overall health.
Boldo leaves are said to display antipyretic activity, which may help to quell fever. So, drinking boldo leaf tea may be effective in alleviating fever.
High in Antioxidants
Boldo leaves are a rich source of phytochemicals that are considered to be strong antioxidants. Limonene, beta-pinene, and camphor are some of the phytochemicals present in Boldo leaves. So tea made from the leaves of Boldo shrub, can certainly contribute in increasing the intake of antioxidants. Antioxidants, as we know, protect the body from free radical damage as well as provide anti-aging benefits.
Facilitates Elimination of Toxins
Boldo leaves are said to exhibit diuretic properties; so drinking a soothing cuppa made from an infusion of boldo leaves can contribute to increased urination. The increased urination can assist in reducing the body's toxic burden. Thus, one can say that boldo leaves have the capability to remove toxins from the body.
Taking the boldo leaf tea is a natural way to treat UTIs. The use of boldo leaves for UTI dates back to the Inca civilization. Its purported antimicrobial activity works to get rid of infectious agents, thereby restoring and maintaining urinary tract health.
One of the purported health benefits of boldo leaf tea is its ability to get rid of intestinal parasites due to the presence of volatile oil in the leaf. The volatile oil content accounts for 2 to 4% of the leaf. This volatile oil contains 16 to 38% of ascaridole, an organic compound that is believed to have anthelmintic (antiparasitic) properties.
The volatile oil in boldo leaves also contains p-Cymene, a laxative agent. Hence, taking the boldo leaf or its extracts may help relieve habitual straining with bowel movement. In fact, European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy (ESCOP) has given permission to use Boldo as an adjuvant agent to constipation treatment.
Historically, boldo leaves have been an integral part of Chilean and Peruvian folk medicine for the treatment of insomnia, dizziness, cystitis, rheumatism, common cold, and earaches.
Despite the purported uses of boldo leaves, women during pregnancy, breastfeeding mothers or people with serious liver ailments need to avoid boldo leaves. Also, as the leaves stimulate bile production, people with blockages of the bile duct, or those who have undergone gallbladder removal procedure, should not use boldo leaves. Moreover, there is documented evidence of asaridole having a toxic effect on the liver. So, to be on the safer side, it is advised to avoid consumption of boldo leaves on a regular basis.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.