Medical Herbs Catalogue



Botanical Name: Peumus Boldus (MOLINA)
Family: N.O. Monimiaceae

Synonyms: Boldu. Boldus. Boldoa Fragrans.
Part Used: The leaves.
Habitat: Chile.

Description: An evergreen shrub growing in the fields of the Andes in Chile, where its yellowish-green fruit is eaten, its bark used for tanning, and its wood utilized in charcoalmaking.

Leaves are opposite, sessile, about 2 inches long entire, and colour when dried red brown, coriaceous, prominent midrib, a number of small glands on their surface. Odour peculiar, when crushed very strongly disagreeable, not unlike oil of Chenopodium (wormseed). The leaves contain about 2 per cent on distillation of an aromatic volatile oil, chemically related to oil of Chenopodium.

A peculiar alkaloid called Boldine has been found in the leaves and when injected hyperdermically, paralyses both motor and sensory nerves, also the muscle fibres. When given internally, in toxic doses, it causes great excitement, exaggerates the reflexes and the respiratory movements, increases diuresis, causes cramp and convulsions ending in death from centric respiratory paralysis, the heart continuing to beat long after respiration ceases. Of late years Boldine has been largely used in veterinary practice for jaundice.

Constituents: Boldo leaves contain about 2 per cent of volatile oil, in which, in addition to terpenes, terpineol has been detected. They also contain the bitter alkaloid Boldine and the glucoside Boldin or Boldoglucin.

Medicinal Action and Uses: Tonic, antiseptic, stimulant. Useful in chronic hepatic torpor. The oil in 5-drop doses has been found useful in genito-urinary inflammation. Has long been recognized in South America as a valuable cure for gonorrhoea.

Preparations: Tincture of Boldo, B.P.C., used as a diuretic. Dose, 10 to 40 minims. Fluid extract, 1/4 to 1/2 drachm.

Other Species: The Australian tree Monimia rotundifolia contains an oil rather similar, which may be safely substituted for Boldo.