General Practice 2022

Boldo: 11 benefícios (and how to make chá)

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Boldo: 11 benefícios (and how to make chá)
Boldo: 11 benefícios (and how to make chá)

Boldo is a medicinal plant widely used as a home remedy, especially for the liver due to its digestive and hepatic properties. In addition, it also has diuretic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can help in the treatment and prevention of other conditions such as gastritis, atherosclerosis and cancer.

The two most used boldo species are the Chilean boldo, known as true boldo (Peumus boldus Molina), which can be found in he alth food stores in the form of dried leaves, tea bags or capsules; and the Brazilian boldo, African boldo or false boldo (Plectranthus barbatus) which is widely cultivated and found in gardens in Brazil.

Although it has several he alth benefits, boldo can also cause side effects, especially when consumed in excess or for more than 30 days, in addition to being contraindicated for some people. Therefore, the use of the plant must be done with the guidance of a doctor or other he alth professional with experience in the use of medicinal plants. Learn more about boldo in the following video:

The main benefits depend on the species of boldo used and include:

1. Stimulate liver function

Boldine, an antioxidant present especially in Chilean boldo, and forskolin and barbatusin, present in Brazilian boldo, stimulate the production of bile by the liver, helping its functioning.

In addition, the plant's antioxidants act as liver protectors in cases of hepatic steatosis, which is excess fat in the liver, preventing symptoms such as headache, nausea and malaise.

2. Help with weight loss

Glycosylated flavonoids, one of the components of boldo de Chile, are responsible for the diuretic action of this plant, helping to reduce excess body fluid, being a good option for weight loss treatments.

3. Aid in the treatment of gallbladder problems

Boldo stimulates the release of bile, a compound that aids in the digestion of food, by the gallbladder. Therefore, this plant can help in the treatment of gallbladder problems. In addition, boldo helps to normalize the functioning of the gallbladder.

In these cases, boldo should only be used under the supervision of a he althcare professional, since, depending on the severity and type of the problem, boldo may also be contraindicated.

4. Improve digestion

Chile boldo and Brazilian boldo help improve digestion and reduce gas, especially when taken in the form of tea before or right after meals.In addition, boldine improves the action of bile that is released by the gallbladder in the intestine, aiding in the digestion of fats and in the relief of poor digestion.

5. Aid in the treatment of gastritis

The alkaloids present in both types of boldo help balance stomach acids, and can be very useful to help treat gastritis. In addition, the astringent properties of boldo reduce stomach acidity, also helping to treat heartburn.

6. Relieve the symptoms of food intolerance

Boldo has digestive, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties that can help relieve symptoms of some food intolerances such as poor digestion, intestinal cramps and excessive gas production.

7. Improve bowel function

Boldine, an alkaloid present in boldo from Chile, acts as a relaxant by regulating the functioning of the intestine, which can be useful in treating constipation.In addition, boldo reduces the production of intestinal gas and helps in the treatment of worms and intestinal infections.

8. Eliminate fungi and bacteria

Boldo can help eliminate bacteria such as:

  • Streptococcus pyogenes causing throat infection or erysipelas, for example;
  • Staphylococcus aureus that cause lung, skin and bone infections.

Furthermore, the essential oil of boldo from Chile has antifungal activity mainly against the fungus Candida sp that can cause mycosis of the skin. However, boldo should not replace any antibiotic and should only be used under the guidance of a physician.

9. Have antioxidant action

Boldo is rich in phenolic compounds such as polyphenols and alkaloids, especially boldine in Chilean boldo, rosmarinic acid, barbatusine and forskolin present in Brazilian boldo, which have antioxidant action, fighting free radicals and reducing cell damage.

Thus, boldo helps to delay premature aging, in addition to preventing diseases caused by excess free radicals, such as Alzheimer's, atherosclerosis and cancer.

10. Improve hangover

Boldo helps to cleanse the acetaldehyde which is a substance produced by the liver after drinking alcohol and is the main responsible for hangover symptoms such as dry mouth, headache and general malaise. In addition, boldine acts as a liver protector, helping to restore this organ.

11. Have a calming effect

Boldo is an aromatic plant, with a smell similar to that of mint, having a calming and relaxing effect when used in the form of tea or immersion bath.

Boldo tea for COVID-19?

Boldo tea became popularly known for being able to help fight the infection of the new coronavirus. However, there are no scientific studies that prove any type of action against COVID-19.

So, while boldo has many he alth benefits, boldo tea should not be used to treat COVID-19, especially without any supervision from a doctor. Understand better which treatments are available for COVID-19.

How to differentiate and where to find boldo

There are some characteristics that help to differentiate between the two most common types of boldo:

Boldo do Chile

Chilean boldo leaves

Leaves of Chilean boldo

Chile boldo leaves have smooth edges, are more elongated, rough, rounded.

This type of boldo can be purchased in supermarkets, pharmacies or natural products stores, as it is not grown in Brazil.

Brazilian Boldo

Brazilian boldo leaves

On the other hand, the Brazilian boldo has wider and more rounded leaves, velvety and with serrated edges.

This type of boldo is not very commercialized, being sold most often as a plant for cultivation, but it can also be found in forests, flower beds or in home gardens.

How to use boldo

Boldo can be consumed in the form of capsules, teas, juices or tinctures using fresh Brazilian boldo leaves or dried Chilean boldo leaves.

Boldo tea can be prepared immediately before drinking and the leaves should not be boiled together with water to avoid the strong bitter taste of this plant.

  • Boldo tea: add 1 teaspoon of chopped boldo leaves in 150 mL of boiling water. Let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes, strain and drink it warm right away.Boldo tea can be taken 2 to 3 times a day before or after meals. Another option is to have a cup before bed to help digestion after dinner and have a peaceful night's sleep;
  • Boldo juice: add 1 teaspoon of chopped boldo leaves in 1 glass of ice water and half a glass of lemon juice. Blend in a blender, strain and drink immediately;
  • Boldo capsules (Boldo de Chile): Each capsule contains between 200 to 400 mg of dry boldo. Usually the indication is 1 capsule 1 to 2 times a day;
  • Tincture (Brazilian boldo): 20g of fresh plant in 100ml of 70% ethyl alcohol. take 2.5 mL of the tincture, diluted in 75 mL of water, three times a day.

Another way to use boldo is in immersion baths to calm and improve symptoms of fatigue and stress, as the aroma of boldo is similar to that of mint, promoting a feeling of well-being.In this case, you can boil 1 liter of water with some boldo leaves for 15 minutes and then pour the boldo tea into the bath water and soak for approximately 10 minutes.

Possible side effects

Both Chilean boldo and Brazilian boldo are safe for most adults when consumed for a short period of time. However, if the boldo of Chile is consumed in excessive amount or for more than 30 days, it can cause liver poisoning, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Additionally, Chilean boldo can cause increased uterine contractions, miscarriage or malformation in the baby, especially if consumed in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Consumption of Chilean boldo can also cause anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction, and it is important to be aware of symptoms such as swollen tongue, difficulty breathing or swallowing, seek urgent medical attention. Learn how to identify anaphylaxis.

Brazilian boldo, in doses above those recommended, or used for a period longer than 30 days, can cause burning and stomach pain and diarrhea. If it is necessary to use the plant for a period longer than 30 days, it is important to pause for 7 days and then resume. In some people, Brazilian boldo can cause an allergic skin reaction.

Who should not use

Chile boldo is not recommended for children, people with gallstones and inflammation of the bile ducts, liver, kidney disease, gallbladder or pancreas cancer. This type of boldo is also contraindicated for breastfeeding women and pregnant women, especially in the first three months of pregnancy. If there is a suspicion of pregnancy, it is recommended that a pregnancy test be performed before using boldo, as boldo can cause miscarriage due to increased uterine contractions.

Brazilian boldo should also not be used by children, pregnant and breastfeeding women. In the same way that it is not indicated for those who have high blood pressure, for those who suffer from gallstones, in cases of kidney disease or hepatitis.

In the form of a tincture, Brazilian boldo is also contraindicated for diabetics and alcoholics. This type of boldo should not be used with medications such as metronidazole, disulfiram, tranquilizers, medications to control high blood pressure, to balance the heartbeat, digoxin, and thyroid hormones. In addition, due to its antacid action, this type of boldo can reduce the effect of some medications that need stomach acid to be absorbed.

Whatever type of boldo you choose, it is important to use boldo only under the guidance of a doctor, herbalist or he alth professional with specific knowledge of medicinal plants.

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