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What is boldo? What is it used for?
Boldo is a small shrub similar to an evergreen tree. Native
to Chile, it was brought to Europe hundreds of years ago,
where it grows in abundance, especially in the Mediterranean
region. The leaves are used medicinally.
Boldo contains several active ingredients, including alkaloids,
flavonoids and volatile oils. The major alkaloid found is
called boldine, which is believed to stimulate the production
of bile and act as a diuretic. Another compound found in the
plants oil, ascaridole, has been used to fight parasites
but is also quite toxic.
In South America, boldo has been used as a liver tonic and
treatment for gallstones. When used in conjunction with other
herbs such as cascara, rhubarb and gentian, some studies have
found that boldo improves symptoms related to loss of appetite.
How much boldo should I take?
Many herbal practitioners recommend infusions of dried boldo
leaf taken at a rate of three grams per day. Other practitioners
recommend a boldo tincture (1ml three times per day, for no
greater than three weeks). If possible, only products free
of ascaridole should be used.
What forms of boldo are available?
Some South American markets sell dried boldo leaves; other
stores sell boldo tinctures and extracts. Essential and volatile
oils should not be taken.
What can happen if I take too much
boldo? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What
precautions should I take?
The German Commission E recommends that only ascaridole-free
boldo preparations be used, and that it should not be taken
for more than three to four weeks continuously. Because it
contains a compound known as terpene-4-ol, boldo should not
be taken by people with kidney disorders. It should also be
avoided by people who are pregnant or nursing, or who have
Other Resources :
More You Know About Minerals
More You Know About Nutrition
- Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et
al. (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs:
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