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Although comprehensive safety studies have not been completed, boldo leaf appears to be safe at normal doses. No side effects were reported in any of the animal studies . However, the plant's essential oils are very toxic and can cause kidney damage if taken in purified form, or if very large amounts of the leaf are ingested. The safety of long-term use is also questionable.
Individuals with gallstones should only take boldo under a physician's supervision due to the risk of gallstones being expelled and becoming lodged in a bile duct or the intestines. Those with obstruction of the bile ducts should not use boldo at all, due to the risk of rupture.
Warning:Animal studies suggest that boldo can cause birth defects and spontaneous abortion. For this reason, pregnant women should not use boldo. 1 Safety in nursing women, young children, and individuals with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
- De Almeida ER, Melo AM, Xavier H. Toxicological evaluation of the hydro-alcohol extract of the dry leaves of Peumus boldus and boldine in rats. Phytother Res. 2000;14:99–102.