Pau d'Arco: An Incredibly Healing Amazonian Plant Medicine

What Is Pau d’Arco?

Pau d’arco (Tabebuia impetiginosa or Tabebuia avellanedae), also known as the “pink trumpet tree,” is a species of Tabebuia tree that grows in Central and South America. It’s incredibly dense and rot-resistant wood is used by native people to make hunting bows. The inner bark of the tree has been used medicinally for centuries, and modern science has also discovered some incredible healing properties of this tree’s inner bark including powerful detoxification properties. For this reason, we have included Pau d'Arco as a key formula in our line of Detox Supplements and a key ingredient in our Liver Detox Tonic.

 

What Is Pau d’Arco used for?

Also known as taheebo or lapacho, pau d’arco has long been used to treat a range of ailments. As a supplement, it’s often marketed to reduce inflammation and promote weight loss, though this only scratches the surface of this herb’s incredible healing potential. Native tribes have traditionally used the inner bark of this tree as a treatment for stomach, skin, and inflammatory conditions. Pau d’Arco is used as a great antimicrobial, especially anti-candida. It is also used for diabetes, ulcers, stomach inflammation (gastritis), liver ailments, asthma, bronchitis, joint pain, hernias, boils and for treating wounds. Several compounds called naphthoquinones — mainly lapachol and beta-lapachone — have been isolated from this inner bark and are thought to be responsible for its many health benefits.

 

What are the Health Benefits of Pau d’Arco?

There are many health benefits to using this medicinal Amazon plant. Tribes in the Amazon rainforest have used Pau d’Arco for centuries, and much modern research has also been done on this unique plant.

 

Pau d’Arco is used as an antibacterial and antifungal herb

Research suggests that pau d’arco extract has antibacterial and antifungal properties. While the exact mechanism remains unknown, pau d’arco is thought to inhibit the processes bacteria and fungi need to produce oxygen and energy. For this reason Pau d'arco can be used to detox candida naturally.

Several test-tube studies show that the bark extract provides protection against numerous disease-causing organisms and may also inhibit the growth of infectious bacteria in the digestive system.

 

For example, beta-lapachone has been found to inhibit and treat methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), an infection that is notoriously difficult to control.  In another study, pau d’arco extract inhibited the growth of Helicobacter (H.) pylori, a bacteria that grows in your digestive tract and has a tendency to attack your stomach lining, causing ulcers.

 

Pau d’Arco is an effective anti inflammatory herb

Pau d’arco extract has also been shown to inhibit inflammation — the body’s natural response to injury. While low levels of inflammation are beneficial, chronic inflammation is thought to lead to diseases, such as hypertension, obesity, and heart disease.

 

Several animal and test-tube studies demonstrate that pau d’arco extract inhibits the release of specific chemicals that trigger an inflammatory response in the body. For example, in one study, pau d’arco extract blocked inflammation in mice by 30–50%, compared to a placebo. Because of this, pau d’arco may help treat inflammatory conditions like osteoarthritis, which causes swelling, pain, and stiffness in your joints. Similarly, another study in mice found that the bark extract blocked the production of compounds prevalent in many chronic inflammatory diseases.

 

Pau d’Arco is an effective herb for weight loss

Pau d’arco may also help with weight loss. Studies in mice have demonstrated that pau d’arco extract inhibits pancreatic lipase, an enzyme that helps your body digest and absorb dietary fat. Blocking it reduces fat digestion — resulting in fewer absorbable calories. In one 16-week study, mice fed pau d’arco extract lost significantly more weight than those on a placebo — despite no changes in food intake. Similarly, in a trial involving mice fed a high-fat diet, the extract protected against increases in body weight.

 

Pau d’Arco is an herb for detoxification

Pau d'arco has a very powerful cleansing ability. It is very useful in relieving intestinal infections, destroying parasites, and restoring colon health. A number of infection fighting substances known as naphthoquinones seem to destroy certain disease-causing bacteria, without destroying the beneficial bacteria in the gut.

 

Pau d’Arco is used for liver health and liver detoxification

Pau d’Arco has long been used as a folk remedy for treating the liver. It is said to neutralize the poisons involving the liver which aids the liver in it’s blood cleansing function. However, there is still more research needed to scientifically validate this use of pau d’arco.

 

Pau d’Arco is used to kill parasites

 

Pau d’Arco has long been used in the Amazon rainforest to treat parasitic infections. It has even been successfully used in the treatment of malaria, a deadly disease that is carried by infected mosquitos. Two of the active compounds in Pau d’Arco, lapachol and beta-lapachone, have been shown in lab tests to kill some bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites. 

 

What Are the Active Compounds in Pau d’Arco?

 

There are many active compounds in Pau d’Arco, including: alkaloids, quercetin, napthaquinones, anthraquinones, and flavonoids. Of these active compounds, scientists have identified two active chemicals in pau d'arco that are said to be the major compounds responsible for its unique health benefits. These chemicals are called naphthoquinones: lapachol and beta-lapachone.

 

In lab tests, these chemicals killed some bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites—which validates pau d’arco’s long history of use as an antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antiparasitic, and antimalarial herb.

 

Is Pau d’Arco Safe?

Pau d’Arco has been used for centuries in the Amazon rainforest, and there has been much modern research on this unique herb. It is generally considered to be a safe and effective herb for a wide range of ailments.

 

However, there are some precautions to consider when taking pau d’arco, especially in high doses.

 

Some of the commonly noted side effects of consuming large doses of pau’darco include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The likelihood and severity of side effects tend to increase with the dose.

 

When taken in doses larger than 1.5 grams (1,500 milligrams), pau d'arco can become toxic and cause damage to the kidneys or liver—which is why it is important that one take only the recommended dosage of this potent herb.

 

Pau d'arco is also known to have a slight blood-thinning action, and may slow blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using pau d'arco for at least two weeks before undergoing any type of surgical procedure.

 

Because pau d'arco can slow blood clotting, it should not be used with anticoagulants like Coumadin (warfarin) or antiplatelet drugs like Plavix (clopidogrel). The same may apply to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen), and Voltaren (diclofenac) in which the combined use may lead to gastric bleeding and stomach ulcers.

 

Due to lack of research, pau d'arco should not be used in children, pregnant women, or nursing mothers. To avoid interactions or unforeseen side effects, always advise your doctor about any herbal supplement or traditional medication you are taking.

 

 Summary

Pau d’arco (Tabebuia impetiginosa or Tabebuia avellanedae), also known as the “pink trumpet tree,” is a species of Tabebuia tree that grows in Central and South America. The inner bark of the tree has been used medicinally for centuries, and modern science has also discovered some incredible healing properties of this tree’s inner bark including powerful detoxification properties. For this reason, we have included Pau d'Arco as a key formula in our line of Detox Supplements.

 

While native people of South America have used this plant medicine for thousands of years, there is still much research to be done on this medicinal herb. However, current studies have revealed it to be a great supplement for supporting weight loss, fighting infections in the body, reducing inflammation, aiding in detoxification, killing parasites, and it has a long history of use among tribes in the Amazon rainforest for a wide range of ailments.

 

 

 

 

References

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15713033/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3492709/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18634864/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27539320/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15713033/

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