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Veterinarian Reviewed on June 7, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
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Boldo is an ancient herbal remedy and an evergreen plant that has been used by many ancient civilizations for its different kinds of medicinal values, which involve the treatment of gout, liver, prostate problems, digestive problems and gall bladder discomfort. It is a shrub that grows year round in Chile and in Peru. At its highest, the Boldo plant can grow to be 20 feet tall and can be distinctly identified as male and female by its flowers. Boldo is planted in a planned way as it reproduces fast and needs some space. It has a diuretic action which is known to cleanse out sediments and bacteria from the biliary tract.

History of the Boldo plant

The scientific name of Boldo is Peumus boldus Molina and is also referred to as Boldu boldus and it is from the Monimiaceae family. In Chile where it grows at a tremendous rate, the yellowish green fruit is eaten by its natives; the bark of the plant is used for tanning and the wood is used for charcoal. For centuries Boldo leaves have been used by South Americans to fight diseases associated with the liver, as well as problems associated with the liver such as gallstones. It is also an ingredient used in homoeopathy for treating problems such as digestive disorders, or else as a laxative and for many other purposes too.

Ancient Uses of the Boldo plant

Boldo was primarily used in South America before later being brought to parts of Europe and North America. It is because of its natural remedies that it got its recognition in the world of medicine. It is the leaf that is being used for tonics and medicines, instead of its seeds and roots. Some archeologists say Boldo dates back at least 10,000 years and it is one of the oldest remedies that is still known to humans which is used world wide. There have been 17 alkaloids found in Boldo which are helpful in aiding digestion and cleansing the system.

Modern Uses of Boldo as an herb

Boldo consists of several components such as active ingredients, which include alkaloids, flavonoids, as well as volatile oils. The presence of boldine produces bile and acts as a diuretic. It is also useful to fight parasites and toxins. The leaves are useful in fighting worms, urogenital inflammation, gout, head Colds etc. Boldo is also used for flavoring alcoholic drinks with the help of its extracts. The leaves of Boldo are also used for teas, tonics, and as a laxative, and also for treating liver and gall conditions. Some of its compositions are also used as appetizers. It also promotes healthy digestion and prevents calcium and fat becoming accumulated in the gall bladder, which is what leads to stones.

Side Effects of Boldo

Boldo is a very effective and serious medicine and should only be taken under proper medicinal supervision from either a qualified herbalist or a homeopathic doctor. It is also known to be a CNS stimulant. Any over dosage or unaccountable dose can cause paralysis or even death. A dose of .5 mg/g is good enough to kill a mouse. Hence its overdose should be very carefully avoided. Other effects could be respiratory disorder and slowing down of general reflexes.

Read also: Pulsatilla

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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