BOLDO is a small tree native to Mediterranean climate regions in the southern part of South America (el cono sur).
It is endemic in Chile and Argentina in the foothills of the Andes.
It has been introduced in several Mediterranean countries (including France) and has sometimes become wild again, particularly in Morocco.
BOLDO enjoys semi-arid and very sunny areas, where competition between plants is low. It then develops very slowly to reach a height of a few meters.
Most often it is only a bushy shrub. In good growing conditions it can reach ten meters.
Its leaves (persistent) are quite firm, a little greyish, rough on their upper face with marked ribs and an edge rolled towards their lower face.
The leaves are aromatic, especially when crumpled.
The boldo are male or female (dioic), the small whitish flowers (sometimes a little yellow) are grouped in terminal cymes of 5 to 15 flowers.
Fruits, edible, are small blackish drupes.
The medicinal parts of BOLDO are mainly the leaves, but also the essential oil they contain, as well as the tree bark.
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION AND PROPERTIES
BOLDO PEUMUS BOLDUS LEAVES
The boldo leaves contain:
- 1 to 3% ESSENTIAL OIL, a mixture of terpenes with a wide variety of odors that give the boldo leaf a special aroma: citrus scent but also eucalyptus and camphor with a particular note related to the presence of ascaridole.
This component of the boldo essential oil, ascaridole, limits its internal use because it is toxic even at medium doses (neurotoxic and potentially carcinogenic).
- ALKALOIDS of the aporphin family (0.25 to 0.50%), the major constituent of which is boldine. Boldine is soluble in alcohol (ethanol) but very slightly soluble in water.
- PHENOLIC COMPOUNDS anti-inflammatory and anti free radical (flavonoids) including kaempferol.
- 1 to 3% of TANNINS
It is quite difficult to link each of its components to a particular pharmacological action. BOLDO has not been seriouly studied.
The total extracts of boldo leaves are known:
- FOR THEIR REGULATORY POWER ON THE HEPATO BILIARY SYSTEM: increase in biliary secretion (choleretic effect) and protection of liver tissues against the effects of hepatotoxic products (alcohol, chemicals), slight increase in gallbladder movements and therefore in biliary excretion (cholagogue effect).
- For their ability to FACILITATE INTESTINAL TRANSIT: extracts of boldo have a slight laxative effect that is related to the increase of the flow of bile. They facilitate the elimination of intestinal gas.
- For their ANTISPASMODIC power: relaxation of smooth muscles (particularly digestive muscles).
- The infusion of boldo leaves increases diuresis (slight DIURETIC effect).
- In some people the boldo infusion strengthens the tonus (TONIC EFFECT) and consequently can delay the onset of sleep.
- Boldine has a mild anti-adrenergic alpha effect with decreased blood pressure, vasodilatation of the blood vessels and probably the relaxing effect on muscle fibers already mentioned.
- PROTECTION OF BLOOD VESSELS: Recent studies suggest the possible use of Boldo extracts in metabolic syndrome related to overweight and type 2 diabetes to reduce the inflammation of small blood vessels and therefore the risk of vascular embolism.
Boldo extracts have a protective effect on the endothelium of the walls of blood vessels.
ESSENTIAL OIL OF BOLDO,
BARK OF BOLDO
Boldo's essential oil, has traditionally been used to eliminate ascaridole-sensitive intestinal parasites (roundworms), but we do not recommend its use this use because ascaridole is a neurotoxic and potentially carcinogenic compound.
Boldo bark is used mainly to extract the alkaloids boldine bark, it contains also a high percentage of tannin and to my knowledge does not contain essential oil.
Unpurified boldo bark extracts are constipating because of the high tannin content.
INFUSION OF BOLDO LEAVES, HEALTH HERBAL TEA AND MEDICINAL INFUSION
The infusion or BOLDO TEA is traditional in South America, especially in Chile but also in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.
In the majority of grocery stores or supermarkets in these countries,it's easy to find teabags of boldo leaves, but also of cedron (verbena lemongrass), manzanilla (German chamomile) or more rarely mate of coca.
There are many domestic gardens with a boldo tree both in Chile and in the Andean part of Argentina or even in the south of Brazil.
An infusion of boldo is DIGESTIVE especially in case of disorders of the gall bladder, or DYSPEPTIA and regulates the intestinal transit.
CAUTION Some people may have difficulty falling asleep when they take an infusion of boldo at night.
EXAMPLE OF DOSAGE In addition to the tea bags all prepared: 3 g of leaves per cup of 150 ml of very hot water, let infuse for a few minutes. The infusion is aromatic and can be drunk without sweetening.
ALCOHOLIC TINCTURE (1/10) OF BOLDO LEAVES
- in case of HEPATO BILIARY DISORDERS (difficulty to digest fats, digestive migraines, saburral state of the tongue, foul breath, chronic constipation).
- BILARY EXCRETION FAILURE, contra-indicated when the existence of gallstones is suspected ( risk of blockage of the bile ducts and hepatic colic).
Boldo is very often associated with other plant extracts with hepatobiliary purposes such as artichoke, dandelion, combretum, rosemary.
EXAMPLE OF DOSAGE: 50 to 150 drops twice a day for 2 to 3 weeks to be renewed after 3 weeks of therapeutic rest
BOLDO POWDER, BOLDO EXTRACTS
There are PHARMACEUTICAL SPECIALTIES (usually without prescription) containing boldo extracts sometimes combined with other medicinal herbs.
Comply with the laboratory indications, the boldo dosages being variable in phytomedicines.
IN GENERAL, THE USE OF BOLDO EXTRACTS WILL BE LIMITED TO 3 WEEKS, with the possibility of resuming the same treatment 3 weeks later.
This precaution is due to the presence of ascaridole in the majority of the total extracts.
For the same reason, the use of boldo is also contraindicated in pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Boldo is a hardy plant that can tolerate a bit of cold and frost but does not like moist soil.
It enjoys full sun but can be satisfied with a semi-shaded station.
It is a slow-growing tree that therefore prefers to be isolated from other faster-growing trees.
It is propagated from its seeds (fruit) which are slow to germinate.
Wait at least a year before placing the young plant in the ground.
Flowering occurs during the winter or in its wake both in South America (July) and in Europe (February).
It is used as an ornamental tree, but also for its small edible fruits and especially for the possibility of using its leaves to make an original digestive tea.
A SMALL TREE FROM CHILE WITH AN AROMATIC AND MEDICINAL FOLIAGE
The BOLDO, Peumus boldus, has rigid, evergreen leaves that are used to make a well-known digestive infusion in Chile and Argentina.
Boldo regulates liver function and increases the flow of bile, improving digestion of fat and intestinal transit.
It is used in cases of dyspeptia, digestive migraines, chronic constipation, but also to try to reduce the occurrence of cardiovascular disorders in obese and diabetic people.
Copyright 2019 : Dr Jean-Michel Hurtel