Boldo, Peumus Boldus, herbs for liver, Herbs for Health

Peumus boldus Monimiaceae

This evergreen shrub, a native of Chile, is now cultivated in Italy and North Africa, particularly Morocco. It grows to 4-5m in height and has rough, brittle, greyish green leaves, which give off a camphor-like smell when crushed. Clusters if pale yellow flowers are followed by small, black,fleshy berries.

Parts used

  • Leaves and bark
  • The leaves are dried and crushed and taken as infusions.
  • Boldo leaves are also used in various pharmaceutical products that stimulate bile secretion.
  • The bark is collected for boldine, the alkaloid substance it contains.


The leaves are rich in the volatile oils ascaridole, cineole and camphor which gives it its distinctive aroma. Both leaves and bark contain flavonoids - cancer-fighting antioxidants; and various alkaloids, the main one being boldine.

Medicinal uses

Boldo is widely used in herbal medicine to treat gallstones and for various liver, stomach and digestive disorders. The active constituent, boldine, stimulates bile secretion and reduces gall-bladder inflammation.

Boldo has a soothing effect on the lining of the bladder, and antiseptic properties, and so can help cystitis sufferers. In Chile the herb has long been utilised as a cure for syphilis and gonorrhoea and is also used to get rid of parasitic worms. In Brazil, the herb is taken to eliminate gas and bloating, for digestive and liver complaints and as a diuretic. It has also been used traditionally to treat ailments including rheumatism, gout, jaundice, colds and earaches.

Boldo has been clinically proven to aid digestion and is often combined with other plants such as fumitory and rosemary in remedies for dyspepsia.


Boldo should not be used during pregnancy as it may be associated with a risk of miscarriage.

To date no toxicity or undesirable side effects have been recorded.


For internal use

TO TREAT dyspepsia

INFUSION Put 1 tea bag (2g) into 200m I of boiling water. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Take up to 3 infusions a day.

LIQUID EXTRACT Take 1 teaspoon diluted in a little water in the mornings on an empty stomach and at night just before going to bed.


Plant in sandy well-drained soil. The shrub prefers a sunny position and an acidic soil.



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