What is Boldo

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Boldo isn’t the most common herb in your spice rack, but it does have a variety of benefits that may make you reconsider your choices while preparing your next meal!

What is Boldo?

Boldo is a tree bearing the scientific name of Peumus boldus, native to the Andes mountains of central Chile, and is now grown in many other parts of the world. Natives of South America have been using this herb in cooking and medicine for hundreds of years. The fruit of this tree is also edible, although it is not widely used. The leaves are popular herbs in Latin American cuisine, possessing a rich, woody and savory flavor that is similar to bay leaves. In South America, the leaves are often used as an herbal tea, sometimes blended with yerba mate for an energizing and healthy beverage. [1] [2]

The taste of these leaves is pungent, with notes of pine and menthol. Though originally found on the slopes of the Andes, the small, shrubby tree has been introduced all over the world, and can now be found growing everywhere from the Mediterranean region to California.

Close up of boldo leaves

Boldo leaves have a slightly bitter soft flavor and a bit coniferous rough taste when brewed in tea. Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Many health benefits are associated with this herb, both traditionally and in the present day.

  • Relief from gallbladder issues, including gallstones and inflammation.
  • Helps maintain liver health and protect against liver damage. [3]
  • Is an antioxidant agent.
  • Relieves gout, urinary infections, and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Rich in anti-inflammatory properties
  • May help give relief from mild anxiety or increase restful sleep.

Word of Caution: Boldo, or anything containing this herb as an ingredient, should not be used during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, as it can negatively affect the outcome of the pregnancy, or put your child at risk.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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