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The South American Leaf – Let’s talk about Boldo Tea

The world of herbal teas is vast. It seems like just about every corner has some kind of special plant or leaf that’s used for flavor and health benefits. At Tea perspective, we love finding out about new teas and recently discovered a somewhat mysterious and interesting variety, known as Boldo Tea. 

Found in Peru and central Chile, The South American Boldo shrub (also known as Peumus Boldus Molina) has a long history in folk and natural medicine, and many people still enjoy it today for its perceived health advantages. In this article, we’re going to explore a little more about Boldo tea, as well as giving a few recommendations of where you can buy it. 

What is Peumus Boldus (Boldo Tea)?

It may be a lesser-known herbal tea, but Boldo is immensely popular in its native regions, and is becoming increasingly so internationally. The Boldo tree is slow-growing and found in South America where local markets have been drinking it for years as a medicine to treat various ailments.

Although the use of boldo for digestive discomfort and even as a hangover cure is common, Boldo leaves have also been linked to some other health benefits such as in the gallbladder, liver and immune system. However, we would like to stress that scientific studies into the health benefits of Boldo tea have not gone too deep, so please don’t consider it as a cure for any serious health problems.

Is Boldo tea good for you?

Boldo tea itself is an infusion that’s made from the leaves of the Boldo tree plant, and is well-known amongst local herbologists and practitioners of traditional medicine. As mentioned above, it does seem to have some medicinal health benefits when consumed, but there are some risks associated with having too much of it. By ingesting a large amount of Boldo, you could be putting your kidneys at risk, as well as some pretty serious digestive discomfort. But, if you consume it in reasonable amounts (just like any other tea) the risks are minimal.

How is Boldo tea produced?

While the dried leaves of the Boldo plant are usually marketed as a ‘tea’, the plant itself is not part of the normal family of plants that are used for tea. Boldo tea is made in the same way as traditional black and green teas, in that leaves are taken from the plant, set to dry and then crumbled to be infused with hot water. This is why most people consider it to be a tea, even though technically, it isn’t.

Some drinkers also prefer to use fresh leaves to create their Boldo tea, instead of drying it out. This is more typical in communities that are more outdoorsy and have access to plants and agriculture. Those that have the tea fresh will find that the flavor is much stronger, requiring fewer leaves and less boiling time. If you’re reading this article and aren’t in South America, chances are that you’re going to be drinking the dried version.

What does Boldo taste like?

Most people who have consumed Boldo describe the taste as very strong, bitter, earthy and somewhat pungent, especially if they are drinking with fresh leaves. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for herbalists and teamakers to blend Boldo leaves with other herbs and teas to make it a little easier to ingest. If you’re not a fan of strong tastes, we recommend using a minimal amount of leaves.

Boldo tea benefits

Before we get into the healthcare side of things, please bear in mind that these are from limited studies and should not be considered as ‘cures’ for any chronic conditions due to lack of evidence. And, if you do have a serious disease, please talk to a medical professional to make sure that Boldo is ok for you to drink.

Boldo is rich in elements such as camphor, boldine, coumarin and limonene, which act as antioxidant elements in the body. This tea also contains tannins, flavonoid glycosides and volatile oils. As such, it can help with:

  • Detoxifying the Liver – Famous for stimulating liver function, Boldo tea assists in detoxifying the body as well as reducing blood clots and thinning the blood. Some claims even say that it helps treat liver disease, but evidence on this is still ongoing.
  • Assisting with Digestion – While enhancing the efficiency of the digestive system, this tea also relieves excess gas, stomach problems and helps with constipation.
  • Aiding Weight Loss – Along with detoxifying the body, this tea promotes bowel health and boosts metabolism, which assists with weight loss.
  • Boosting the Immune System – The leaves have antiviral and antimicrobial properties which help treat illness and disease by boosting immunity.
  • Relieving Inflammation – A variety of antioxidant types in this tea helps with the treatment of acute and chronic inflammation.

As a sedative, you can consume this tea occasionally, but make sure you don’t drink it every day for an extended period of time. More than a week at 2 – 3 cups per day is not recommended.

While Boldo tea benefits are impressive, certain precautions should be taken before drinking this tea. Like any supplements, you should consult your doctor before taking them to avoid stomach and liver problems.

Is Boldo safe?

Like many other herbal and natural teas, Boldo is safe when consumed in smaller quantities, but if you have too much you may experience potential side effects. While it’s true that many indigenous people in South America have been drinking it for treatment purposes for generations, it’s not necessarily recommended to have it every single day. 

Generally, the potential side effects of drinking Boldo leaves are pretty mild, but as with other herbal drinks, evidence shows that pregnant women are not recommended to drink it. And, if you do have any chronic conditions, especially those around the liver and digestive system, please talk to your medical professional first to make sure that they are confident.

One interesting thing to note is that Boldo may be restricted in your country. This is because different global governments have different stances on treatment from natural remedies, and in the absence of long-term studies, some prefer to stay on the side of caution. Boldo leaves are not generally characterized as dangerous, but we do want to stress that you do your research before considering it as a regular drink to integrate into your diet.

How to prepare Boldo tea

Like any tea, make sure you buy your Boldo from reputable sources. The flavor is slightly bitter and woody but is enhanced with the addition of honey, lemon or other flavorings of your choice. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Boil a cup of water in a saucepan

2. Add 1 – 2 teaspoons of dried Boldo leaves

3. Reduce heat, cover the pan and simmer

4. Steep for 5 minutes

5. Strain and serve hot

Preparing Boldo tea depends on how how much effort you’re willing to put in, and whether or not you prefer tea bags, loose tea in a tea pot or even a French press. If you’re making this tea in a cup, steep for 10 – 15 minutes.

Where you can buy Boldo leaves

As mentioned earlier in this article, the sale of Boldo may be restricted in your country. However, we do want to make some quick recommendations for you if you’re able to order from online retailers such as Amazon. As with all other tea products, we recommend that you look out for things such as price, the number of reviews and a good product description to make sure that you’re getting the best quality product for your money.

Tadin Boldo Herbal Tea

1,471 Reviews
  • Aids stomach
  • Certified KSA Kosher
  • Caffeine-free herbal tea

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Trading is one of the best-known producers of Boldo tea, so you can be sure that their product is up to scratch. You can choose from a range of volume options, ranging from just one pack of 24 right up to 10 packs. Customer reviews are very favourable and talk about the health boosts that they are experiencing and that the quality of the product itself is great. This is pure Boldo, so expect a strong taste as it has not been blended with anything else.

CIK Naturals Boldo leaves

As you can see from the picture, CIK naturals offer a loose-leaf product for those who prefer their herbal tea to be as natural as possible. This product is as down to earth as you can get and since these are the whole leaves, you can be sure to get the whole flavor of Boldo in every cup. Just remember to be cautious with your amounts as the taste will be very strong.

2 Reviews
  • Herb: Boldo leaves– (Peumus boldus) 90g
  • Herbal Infusion Tea boldo leaves
  • Most commonly the herbal drink is credited...

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Taragui Yerba Mate Boldo, 25 Tea Bags 5 Pack

2 Reviews
  • 5 Pack
  • 25 Tea Bags Per Box

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This is a standard packaging of Boldo tea, but the good thing is that if you prefer hassle-free tea bags, then Taragui has you covered. As for the quality, Taragui is a brand that you can trust, so we do recommend them. This particular product comes in a 3-pack variation as well, so if you’re trying out Boldo for the first time, consider getting the smaller amount.

SoloTherapy Certified Organic Boldo Dried Cut Leaves

SoloTherapy is another well-known producer of Boldo tea,  and their dried-cut leaves are a popular product amongst aficionados. These are certified organic and grown in Chile before being packaged in the USA for the best possible quality. While these have been dried, the fact that they are the whole leaves means that the flavor will be strong and bitter, and you’ll be able to take full advantage of the advertised health benefits as well.

143 Reviews
  • Certified Organic Boldo Dried Cut Leaves - 4...
  • Hojas De Boldo Orgánicas - Producto De Chile...
  • Our mission is to offer High-quality Organic...

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Yerba Mate Cachamate with Boldo and Mint

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You probably know by now that Boldo has a very strong taste, so we thought it would be a good idea to feature a blend in our list, so that you can still enjoy Boldo tea, but without quite so much bitterness. This herbal tea blend combines Boldo with Yerba Mate, mint and other herbs for a more rounded and delicious taste.

TerraVita Extra Strength Boldo Leaf Extract

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While we know that this isn’t a tea as such, we thought it would be a good idea to mention this product, which instead of being a liquid offers all of the goodness in concentrated capsules. If you don’t like the taste of the tea or aren’t really a fan of hot drinks in general (we forgive you), enjoying the herbal benefits through a capsule is a good substitute. Please bear in mind that this is a scientific and concentrated form of Boldo, so please do a safety check with your health professional before taking this supplement.

Go forth and be Boldo!

So, there’s our little guide to the Boldo leaf. It certainly is one of the more interesting herbal tea options out there and the fact it comes from the fields of Peru and Chile make it all the more alluring for tea explorers everywhere. Many people back up the health claims around various medical problems, so there is likely some truth to the claims – but do also treat the evidence of possible side effects seriously as well. As long as you aren’t drinking litres of it every day, you probably have nothing to worry about.

The products we recommended are a few of the more available ones, but if you have a hot tip for other great sources of Boldo, please let us know! And, of course, if you know about other esoteric and interesting herbal teas, we’re all ears. 

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Yuri Herdt

Friday 15th of April 2022

I'm Brazilian and I really like this tea. Sometimes I drink the dried leaves, sometimes the fresh ones. It's very good against a hangover anytime. And if you eat a lot of fat, it's very good. I have a weak liver so it helps me from time to time. Sometimes I drink 2 cups a day, or even 4 cups a week. But then I forget about it for a few weeks only to come back when I need to. I never had any negative effects. But the taste is really strong and many friends of mine don't like it, but given the benefits you get used to it over time.

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