The Collison Newsletter April 2015


                   HERBS  FOR  LIVER  HEALTH

                                  5.  BOLDO*  

Boldo (Peumus boldus) is an evergreen shrub or small tree, native to Chile and Peru. The species is very similar to Cinnamon and Bay trees. It has broad leaves and bears fruit which are small berries, yellow-green in colour, known and widely used for their herbal medicinal properties.

Traditional Uses of Boldo 

In Chile, the yellowish-green fruit is eaten, the bark is used for tanning, and the wood is used for charcoal. South American natives use Boldo leaves in the treatment of diseases of the liver and for the treatment of gall stones. The leaves have also been used in the management of a wide variety of other conditions.

Active Ingredients of Boldo 

The active ingredients of Boldo are:

  • Alkaloids 
  • Flavonoids 
  • Volatile oils.

The major alkaloid is boldine, which stimulates the production of bile and also acts as a diuretic.


The flavonoids have strong antioxidant properties, protecting against free radical damage, especially in the liver.


Ascaridole is another compound found in the plant's oil, and is toxic to parasites.

Therapeutic Uses of Boldo 

Boldo and boldine extracts exhibit choleretic properties, they stimulate the flow of bile. This helps promote bile excretion from the liver, so that the body can more efficiently process foods, especially aiding in fat digestion, while also purging harmful toxins. They are also effective in stimulating a sluggish gall bladder, which is responsible for storing and excreting bile as the body needs it.


The presence of ascaridole, a potent oil, makes Boldo a highly effective laxative. It also helps in the eradication of parasites and worms which may be in the intestines.


The active ingredients make Boldo an excellent antioxidant, protecting against free radical damage. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. Boldine is an effective inhibitor of prostaglandin synthesis, part of the inflammatory process.

Dosage of Boldo 

Boldo is available as dried Boldo leaves. These can be taken as an infusion, a herbal tea, and the adult recommended dose is 3 grams per day. (


It is also marketed as a tincture. A tincture is an alcohol extract of a plant. The dose suggested for adults is 10-15 drops once or twice a day, in a little water. (


Boldo is frequently a component of "liver tonics".


Boldo should only be taken in the dose recommended, as large doses may be toxic.


*Copyright 2015: The Huntly Centre.

Disclaimer: All material in the website is provided for informational or educational purposes only. Consult a health professional regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations expressed herein, with respect to your symptoms or medical condition.


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