Boldo Leaf – Peumus boldus
Country of origin: Mexico
The only species in the genus Peumus, is commonly known as Boldo (from the Mapudungun name foḻo). This tree of the family Monimiaceae is natively endemic to the central region of Chile, occurring from 33° to 40° southern latitude. Boldo has also been introduced to Europe and North Africa, though it is not often seen outside botanical gardens. Together with litre, quillay, peumo, bollén and other indigenous plants, it is a characteristic component of the sclerophyllous forest 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, Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Brazil and bordering countries in South America.
In Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Paraguay boldo is mixed with yerba mate or other teas to moderate its flavor. Some families keep a boldo plant at home for this purpose, although boldo teabags are readily available in nearly all supermarkets. Boldo and plants with similar properties are widely used as mild folk medicine in various South American countries in both urban and rural areas, even among people who do not usually drink herbal teas other than mate beverage.
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.)