Boldo tea is an herbal tea made and from the leaves of the boldo plant.

It’s used as a treatment for digestive problems in traditional medicine, especially in Central and South America.

However, only limited evidence supports its use, and drinking excessive amounts could cause health complications.

This article reviews boldo tea, its benefits, potential downsides, and recommended dosage.

Boldo tea is made from the boldo tree (Peumus boldus), an evergreen shrub native to Chile that also grows in other Central and South American countries like Mexico and Argentina. It’s commonly found in mountainous regions.

In these areas, it’s used as traditional medicine, especially to treat digestive issues, detox the liver, and boost weight loss (1).

Generally, the tea is not consumed daily. It has a bold, almost medicinal flavor and is only used when needed, more like a medicine than a tea. It’s prepared by steeping about 1 tablespoon (6 grams) of dried boldo leaves in 1 cup (240 mL) of hot water.

Some people recommend diluting boldo tea with another type of herbal tea called yerba mate to make it safer to consume daily. You can even buy premade blends of these two types of tea.

It’s also possible to purchase a liquid extract from the boldo plant to take as a supplement.

Summary

Boldo tea is made from the evergreen boldo plant and used as a traditional medicine in Central and South America.

Historically, boldo tea has been used to treat digestive issues and assist in treating liver issues (1).

Yet, scientific evidence supporting the use of the tea for these or any other therapeutic purposes is extremely limited.

One test-tube study on 13 herbal teas commonly used in South America found that boldo tea had one of the highest antioxidant activities. This was based on its ability to fight free radicals, which are harmful compounds that can cause cellular damage (2).

This suggests that drinking boldo tea may confer some antioxidant benefits, but more research, particularly in humans, is needed.

The boldo plant and its tea also contain a volatile compound called ascaridole. In test-tube and animal studies, ascaridole shows promising potential in the treatment of leishmaniasis, a disease caused by tropical parasites. Still, more research is needed (1, 3, 4, 5).

Lastly, the tea is also claimed to aid weight loss, but there’s no evidence to support this claim.

Summary

There’s little evidence to support the use of boldo tea to improve digestive or liver health, and no evidence supports its purported weight loss benefits. However, it’s rich in antioxidants and may be useful in the treatment of leishmaniasis.

There are some potential downsides to drinking boldo tea.

It can interfere with warfarin, a blood-thinning medication, as well as other blood thinners and heart medications. If using any of these, talk to a healthcare provider before drinking boldo tea (6).

The ascaridole in boldo tea may have some downsides as well. Consuming large doses may damage your liver, while topical exposure could cause a skin rash. However, this is unlikely to happen when preparing boldo tea (7).

Summary

Boldo tea can interfere with blood thinners, and consuming high doses of ascaridole from the plant may cause liver damage.

Because boldo tea contains ascaridole, a potentially harmful aromatic compound, it’s not recommended that you drink it daily.

To minimize its potential complications, drink just 1 cup (240 mL) of boldo tea when you feel you need it. Plus, keep in mind that although it’s believed to help with digestive issues, there’s no scientific evidence to support this use.

You can also opt to drink just a small amount of boldo tea mixed with yerba mate tea, which may be safer to consume regularly. Yerba mate is generally safe, but again, no evidence supports any benefits from drinking boldo tea, no matter if you do so daily or infrequently.

If you choose to drink a boldo and yerba mate blend, it’s best to buy a premade tea, which should contain a safe ratio of the teas.

Meanwhile, if taking a liquid extract supplement, do not exceed the recommended dosage on the label. Also, liquid extracts are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so it’s best to look for evidence that an independent lab has verified the purity and ingredients.

Summary

There’s no scientific evidence to support the use of boldo tea. To minimize your risk of complications, avoid drinking it daily.

Boldo tea is commonly used as herbal medicine in Central and South America.

Although it’s purported to have some antioxidant benefits and help treat leishmaniasis, there’s little evidence to support its use for digestive problems, liver detoxification, or weight loss.

What’s more, it may interact with blood-thinning medications, and its ascaridole content may cause liver damage if consumed in high doses.

Although promising research points to the potential benefits of boldo tea, drinking it to improve digestive problems, liver problems, or weight loss is not recommended due to a lack of scientific evidence.