Pau d’arco

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Biological Name: Tabebuia impestiginosaPau d'arco

Other Names: taheebo, Lapacho, Pau d’arco

Elements Applied: Bark is commonly applied in herbal medicine

Active Components: Beta-lapachone and lapachol, which both belong to naphthaquinones, form the active content of pau d’arco. As a result of several studies, they were stated to relieve fungal infections, equally effective or even more efficient than ketaconazole, a medicine for fungal infections. Though the aforementioned components are also effective for treating cancer, the needed dose is poisonous. For this reason pau d’arco is not suggested for use as an anti-cancer medicine.

History: Local residents of South and Central America are stated to take pau d’arco bark for cancer, wounds, infectious conditions, lupus, and other diseases. Conventional herbalists of the Caribbean prescribe the leaves and the bark to relieve toothache, backaches, sexually transmitted diseases, and boost sexual desire. Conventionally, it is also employed for cancer.

Used For: The herb is traditionally prescribed for conditions like Hodgkin’s disease, lupus, prostatitis, cystitis, colitis, gastritis, bronchitis, ringworm, and osteomyelitis. Primarily it is employed to relieve pains, associated with a wide range of conditions.

The range of conditions in which Pau d’arco is applied includes cancer, pains, yeast infections, and bacterial infections.

Additional Info: Several pau d’arco species can also be found in Latino-American rainforests.

Pau d’arco trees may reach up to 100 feet in height if growing wild in the rainforests. The tree is deciduous, and features ovate or lanceolate leaves of different size which grow on yellow to green stems. The color of the trunk ranges from green at the upper side and yellow at the lower side.

The color of flowers differs dependent on the variety. It ranges from blue and magenta to purple and yellow. The throats are yellow colored and funnel or bell formed.

Preparation and Intake: As the active components of pau d’arco bark, namely, naphthaquinones, are not dissolved in water, tea made of it is inefficient. Tablets or capsules which contain 300 mg of bark powder may be used, commonly at a dose of three tablets thrice per day. In form of tincture the herb is taken at a dose of ½ to 1 ml, thrice a day.

To make bark tea, take two cups of raw inner bark and fill it up with a quart of boiling water, then keep on low heat under a cover for 20 minutes. Take off the heater and infuse for an hour to an hour and a half. Filter and cool down.

The result is taken at a dose of one cup five times per day before food.

For best results, take the bark of older trees. Market products commonly contain young bark which is ineffective and contains less active components, necessary for the therapy.

Safety: Lapachol shouldn’t be used in large amounts, as it may lead to vomiting, nausea, and bleeding.

The bark is less toxic than isolated lapachol, as the bark is devoid of serious adverse effects. Pau d’arco is not recommended to breastfeeding or pregnant women.

There is no further data concerning the herb’s safety level. It is possible that the herb interacts with the medicine you use. Speak to your health-care provider before using the remedy.