Boldo leaf extract

Boldo leaf extract

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Boldo is a hardy, aromatic, evergreen, shrubby Chilean tree used in traditional Chilean medicine to treat hepatic and gastrointestinal diseases such as dyspepsia and as an anthelmintic. The native Andean people have used boldo leaves for centuries for aiding digestion and as a general tonic. In Peru the leaves were mainly used by indigenous tribes to maintain liver health, to eliminate gallstones and to support good digestion. Explorers to South America observed natives using boldo leaves as a culinary spice. In 1875, it was introduced to British and American pharmacists as a treatment for mild stomach, liver and bladder discomforts.

Recent excavation of Monte Verde in southern Chile unearthed evidence of the medicinal use of 22 varieties of plants by people thought to have lived there more than 12,500 years ago. Among these plants was boldo which archaeologists found wrapped in seaweed.   Boldo has a history of use for detoxification. As a choleretic it promotes optimal bile formation in the liver. As a cholagogue it promotes effective gallbladder motility and function. These actions also make it a specific for inflammation of the gallbladder, gallstones, biliary colic and liver disease. It is also considered to be a good general medicine and tonic.  

In a double-blind, placebo controlled crossover study the effects of boldo on gastrointestinal transit time was examined. Twelve healthy volunteers were treated daily with either 2.5g of a boldo ethanol extract or a placebo (glucose). The gastrointestinal transit time was found to be longer after administration of boldo suggesting a possible explanation for its medicinal and traditional use in digestive complaints.

Warning: One should not use boldo tea for prolonged periods of time. Large doses of boldo may cause paralysis and even death. adds that boldo is contraindicated in those with kidney disorders, liver disease and who are on blood-thinning drugs. In addition, the herb appears to stimulate uterine contractions and therefore should not be used by pregnant women because of its potential to induce abortion.

Recommended dose: 1mil by measure three times a day


Written by Christine Thomas, Herbalist and Technical Writer, August 2020


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