Boldo is a tree native to the central region of Chile, occurring from 33 to 40 South Latitude. Together with litre, quillay, peumo, bollen and other indigenous plants, it is a characteristic component of the sclerophyllous forest (hard leaves that resist long dry summers and cold rainy winters) endemic to central Chile. Its leaves, which have a strong, woody and slightly bitter flavor and camphor-like aroma, are used for culinary purposes, primarily in Latin America. The leaves are used in a similar manner to bay leaves, and also used as an herbal tea, primarily in Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Brazil and bordering countries in South America.
Not too well known, but very tasty and nutritious, Boldo fruits, which appear between December and February, are small green edible spheres that contain lots of sugars and aid travelers refreshing on sunny and dry days.
Boldo's assertive flavor comes primarily from the presence of the chemical ascaridole, which is also present in the epazote plant.
In Latin America and Spain, boldo is also used as a form of herbal medicine, particularly to support the gallbladder, but also to calm upset stomachs. In Chile, Uruguay, and Paraguay it is frequently mixed with yerba mate or other teas to moderate its flavor. In Brazil and Paraguay, many families keep a boldo plant at home for this purpose, although boldo teabags are readily available in nearly all supermarkets. It is believed in the south-east of Brasil that the leaves of the boldo plant can be used as an effective hangover cure.
Boldo is in the family Monimiaceae, which is closely related to the family Lauraceae (which includes many other plants used for their aromatic leaves, such as cinnamon, cassia, bay leaf, and camphor laurel.
Boldo has also been introduced to Europe and North Africa.
Boldo leaves (Peumus boldus Molina) page at Gernot Katzer's Spice PagesPictures and information of Boldo tree, leaves and flowers
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Boldo