Pau d’Arco and Your Health


Pau d’Arco is a very popular herbal remedy in Central and South America. It has also seen a growing commercial demand in the US in recent years largely owing to encouraging results of preliminary studies concerning its anti-cancer properties. It is now made available as herbal teas and dietary supplements all over the world, and more studies have pointed to its medicinal potential, especially against infections brought on by viruses, bacteria, and fungi.

Pau d’Arco a group of tree species

What we refer to as Pau d’Arco is a group of tree species that belongs to the family Bignoniaceae. The herbal products come from the genus Tabebuia, and are also known by the names lapacho and taheebo. However, those who have been extensively studied are derived from the species Tabebuia impetiginosa, Tabebuia avellanedae, Tabebuia heptaphylla, and Tabebuia ipé, which are all native to the neotropic ecozone. The inner bark of these trees has been utilized by indigenous peoples of Brazil and surrounding countries in treatment of an assortment of medical conditions for over a thousand years. The surge in interest in its medical properties has been spurred by discoveries of phytochemicals unique to these trumpet trees and research that continues to promise positive results.

Kills Pathogenic Microbes and Viruses

Pau d’Arco is widely claimed to be effective against several known infections, notably brucellosis, candidiasis, herpes, influenza, malaria, stomatitis, shistosomiasis, and trypanosoma among others. Its widespread use in treatment of these diseases has been supported by several clinical studies, and laboratory tests that have been replicated pointed to the antiseptic properties of organic compounds found in Tabebuia. While it is sold in teas and supplements, professional advice is important prior to taking it as medication.

Inhibits Inflammatory Intermediaries

The anti-inflammatory effects of Pau d’Arco are well-documented. Descendants of the Inca in particular have noted its benefits for sufferers of arthritis, boils, prostatitis, ulcers, and dysentery. What the studies have learned so far is its interactions with a group of endogenous compounds known as eicosanoids, which are specialized for inflammation. Pau d’Arco metabolites create a homeostatic effect on eicosanoids by inhibiting the releases of pain chemicals while modulating the curative effects of eicosanoids.

Scavenges Reactive Oxygen Species

Quercetin, the same polyphenolic compound found in green teas, is present in Pau d’Arco. It is one of the organic substances naturally occurring in some plants that display very potent antioxidant properties. Research on quercetin is one of the most advanced in pharmacology, and it has always been endorsed as a scavenger of reactive oxygen species, such as free radicals, which induced oxidative stress and are believed to significantly contribute to the process of aging.

Pau d’Arco Cox-2 Inhibitor

Displays Anti-metastatic Properties

Pau d’Arco has always been tied to its anti-carcinogenic properties since the discovery of the naphthoquinones lapachol and beta-lapachone. These quinone compounds are postulated to regulate the activities of COX-2, an enzyme responsible for the progression of cancer. The most encouraging studies point to the ability of these naphthoquinones to stimulate the tumor suppressor gene Zif268, or Egr1, and consequently remove metastatic cells.

Pau d’Arco is an herb with great potential.  No matter what form you consume this herb be it capsule or tea forms, daily consumption can free you from the damaging effects of free radicals and boost your health.