Pau d’arco, also known as taheebo or lapacho, has long been used as a medicine to treat a range of health conditions. It`s said that Pau d’arco can help to reduce inflammation, fight fungus and lose weight.
Pau d’arco, one of the best known, but least understood, herbs from the Amazon Rainforest, is one of the key ingredient in the tribal medicine chest. There are reports of medicinal uses of pau d’arco tea dating back to 1873.
The pau d’arco tree, often being called the “trumpet tree”, is a huge evergreen canopy tree (up to 125 feet high), with pink to violet colored flowers. It grows in Central and South America. This article explains pau d’arco’s uses, health benefits, dosage and side effects.
Pau d’arco – Nutrients
Pau d’arcos use goes back in history to before the Incas. As this tree has extremely hard wood, native South American Indians used it for making hunting bows. So, its name is the Portuguese word for “bow stick”.
When making hunting bows, it was observed by Indians, that when the tree was alive and even after it was cut down, it never developed growth of mold, mildew, or fungi.
That`s why, the Guarani and Topi Indians refer to the tree as “tajy”, which means “to have strength and vigor” i.e. good health. So, they peeled off the tree’s bark in long strips, separated the inner and outer layers and used the inner bark to make healing teas.
Pau d’ arco has crystalline oxygen infused in it’s inner bark, which is rich in:
Pau d’arco – Health Benefits and Uses
We all know the undesired side effects of prescription antibiotics. They are destroying beneficial bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract or becoming ineffective because of bacterial mutation. That said, pau d’arco is a powerful and effective natural alternative for antibiotics. As many other natural health care remedies, it has also multiple general health benefits beyond the specific intended purpose.
For example, if you use pau d’arco for relieving a cold, you will also benefit from it’s cleansing action of blood and liver, fighting of yeast infection, elimination of intestinal parasites, etc.
You an also benefit from it’s general immune building properties while treating a specific health condition. Once again, you benefit from the experience and wisdom of indigenous people, as they discovered and developed the use of pau d’arco, as a natural antibiotic.
As pau d’arco has an antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal action which stimulates the immune system and fights diseases, people of South America have used it for treating:
- Respiratory problems
- Fatigue, heart and poor blood circulation. Pau d’arco has a high iron content that contributes to the elimination of wastes, the assimilation of nutrients and increasing oxygen supply to needed areas of the body. It helps to tone, balance and strengthen the heart, to improve hemoglobin and red blood cell corpuscles. Therefore, you can use it to balance high blood pressure and to relief chronic fatigue.
- Boosts immune system. As a preventative, it helps to build your immune system, because it stimulates the macrophages that fight diseases. By improving the health of your blood and it’s flow you greatly increase the effectiveness of your immune system.
- Fungal infections. Pau d’arco contains selenium which is one of your body’s natural defenses against fungus, yeast infections, vaginally as well as for topical skin treatment. So, it`s antifungal properties aids in the elimination of candida and fungi that promotes athlete’s foot and other skin infections.
- Arthritis and rheumatism. Pau d’arcos blood cleaning qualities makes it an excellent anti-allergy, anti-rheumatic, astringent, and cardiotonic agent.
- Skin irruptions
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Tuberculosis, pneumonia, strep and dysentery
- Intestinal infections. Pau d’arco has a cleansing ability. So, it`s very useful for relieving intestinal infections, destroying parasites, and restoring colon health. A number of infection fighting substances known as napthoquinones seem to destroy certain disease causing bacteria, without destroying beneficial bacteria. This makes it an excellent natural antibiotic.
- Colds, flu, cough, fever, herpes and hepatitis. Pau d’arco is very useful in treatment and relief of colds, flu, herpes and hepatitis because of it’s antiviral qualities. Therefore it is an excellent alternative or synthetic prescription or over-the -counter cold and flu “treatments” that often only suppress symptoms without actually curing the cause. Or may carry the risk of unwanted, sometimes harmful, side effects e.g drowsiness, etc.
- Liver function. It helps to neutralize the poisons involving the liver which aids the liver in it’s blood cleansing function.
Pau d’arco and Cancer
Lapachol, which is present in the inner bark of pau d’arco trees, has been documented as an effective natural medicine for use in treating abscesses and tumors. However, for it to be used to treat conditions such as cancer, the amount of lapachol, found in pau d’ arco, required to provide an effective dosage, would be toxic if used as the exclusive treatment.
It can however, be used along with other cancer treatments.
Therefore, Argentina government gives pau d’arco to the cancer and leukemia patients for free. It`s because of it’s blood purifying qualities and anti-inflammatory effect, pau d’arco has been know to reduce pain caused by cancer and it’s treatment.
Forms and Dosage
Pau d’arco extract is available in capsule, liquid, and powder form. However, liquid extracts of pau d’arco are a better choice, because they contain more of the active compounds compared to the pill or powder. In addition, appropriate dosage may vary depending on factors like age and weight.
Take 1-2 ml (28-56 drops) 1 to 2 times daily as needed, or as advised by your doctor or therapist. Take with water.
Take 2 capsules daily, or as advised by your doctor or therapist. Take with water.
Safety and Side Effects
Research on the long-term safety are lacking and largely unknown, as studies on its side effects are mostly limited to animals.
These side effects include:
- Blood thinning
- Urine discoloration
- Reproductive damage
You should avoid pau d’arco extract if you’re taking blood thinners or are scheduled to undergo surgery, because it may thin your blood. In addition, don`t take it if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. In addition, it’s important to ensure that your product comes from a reputable manufacturer, for instance Ecosh Life.
Therefore, if you’re considering trying pau d’arco, first consult with your doctor.
Visuals by: Maria-Helena Loik