Skip to Content


Scientific names: Peumus boldus, Boldu boldus, Boldea fragrans

Common names: Boldo also is known as boldus, boldoa, and boldea.

Efficacy-safety rating:

ÒÒ...Ethno or other evidence of efficacy.

Safety rating:

...Moderate to serious danger.

What is Boldo?

Boldo is an evergreen shrub or small tree native to central Chile and Peru

What is it used for?

Traditional/Ethnobotanical uses

In Chile, the yellowish-green fruit is eaten, its bark used in tanning, and its wood used for charcoal. Boldo leaves have been used by South American natives against diseases of the liver and for the treatment of gallstones. The plant is used in homeopathy in the treatment of digestive disorders, as a laxative, choleretic (a stimulant of bile secretion), diuretic, and for hepatic diseases. The leaves also have been used for worms, urogenital inflammations (eg, gonorrhea, syphilis), gout, rheumatism, head colds, and earaches. Boldo extract is used as a flavoring for alcoholic beverages. An ethnobotanical survey is available, demonstrating boldo's importance in Guatemalan culture as a medicinal plant.

GI disorders

Boldo and boldine (an alkaloid present in boldo) extracts are known to exhibit choleretic properties (stimulating bile flow). Boldo is an ingredient found in some liver and GI herbal combination products. Boldo in combination with cascara has been used to treat constipation in the elderly.


Boldo has been shown to exert anti-inflammatory and antipyretic (anti-fever) effects. BoldinE is an effective inhibitor or prostaglandin synthesis, part of the inflammatory process. Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of boldo as an anti-inflammatory and antipyretic.


Boldo has been shown to possess cytoprotective (cell protective) and antioxidant properties. While there are some animal studies that show liver cell protection, there are no human clinical studies regarding the use of boldo as a cytoprotective.

What is the recommended dosage?

Boldo extract was studied at a dose of 2.5 g daily for its effect on intestinal transit time. Classical use of boldo leaves was at a dose of 0.5 g.

How safe is it?


Patients with kidney disorders, liver disease, gallstones, and other medical illnesses should not use this herbal.


Documented adverse effects from the irritant oil. Avoid use.


Boldo ingestion may enhance the anticoagulant effect of warfarin, increasing the risk of bleeding. Patients taking warfarin should consult their health care provider before taking boldo or other herbal products.

Side Effects

Boldo is known to be a CNS stimulant.


Serious health hazards exist with internal use. Patients with kidney disorders, liver disease, gallstones, and other medical illnesses should not use this herbal. Large doses cause paralysis and death.


  1. Boldo. Review of Natural Products. factsandcomparisons4.0 [online]. 2004. Available from Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Accessed April 16, 2007.

Copyright © 2009 Wolters Kluwer Health