Pau d’arco or Taheebo is a broad-leaf evergreen tree that grows in rain forests throughout Latin America. It has extremely hard wood, and as such is resistant to disease and decay. It grows to a height of around 40 metres and has pink to violet coloured flowers. Its inner bark is used by natives of Central and South America for medicinal purposes.
Pau d’arco contains two primary active compounds (naphthaquinones) called Lapachol and beta-lapachone. Laboratory tests have shown that these compounds possess anti-fungal properties which are as potent as or more so than ketaconazole, a common antifungal drug used for treating yeast infections. Pau d’arco also contains high amounts of vitamins such as Vitamins-A, C, and B-complex and minerals like calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, cobalt and chromium.
Pau d’arco boosts energy levels and helps the body resist most chronic diseases. It also promotes healing and is an effective treatment for digestive problems such as diarrhoea and intestinal infections. Pau d’arco may also prevent and cure ulcers, diabetes and rheumatism.
Taken as herbal tea, Pau d’arco has been proven to be helpful to many Candida sufferers. It is also used in the treatment of skin diseases such eczema, psoriasis, and skin cancer, pyorrhea, athlete’s foot, herpes simplex infections and a variety of fungal and viral infections.
Pau d’arco is a natural pain reliever and is useful for treating migraine and dysmenorrhoea.
As a decongestant, Pau d’arco is helpful for treating the cold, flu, asthma and sinusitis.
It has been noted that Pau d’arco promotes the production of healthy cells and there have been some claims of reduction of tumour sizes and cancer cures arising from the use of Pau d’arco. As such, many naturopaths recommend it for those with goiter, hemorrhoids, abnormal cell growth and tumours.
Pau d’arco promotes normal blood function, helps the body to replenish vital elements, stimulates appetite and helps detoxify the body. As preventive medicine, it regulates blood sugar levels, lowers blood cholesterol and promotes better urine flow, reducing your risk of diabetes, hypertension and kidney dysfunction.
Pau d’arco has no known serious side effects but it may interact with other herbs, supplements and medications you may be taking. Pau d’arco may affect the blood’s ability to clot and should be avoided if you are taking an anti coagulant or blood thinner. It is also not recommended for young children, pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding.
There are many varieties of the Pau d’arco tree but only one kind has been proven to be highly effective in treating diseases, that which has the scientific name Tabebuia Avellanedae. Pau d’arco is available as dried bark tea or loose, in tablets, capsules and tincture that can contain alcohol. Because the chemicals that provide pau d'arco with its medicinal qualities don’t dissolve well in water, taking it as a tea is not ideal.
It is still best to consult a naturopath or health professional for the right amount or dosage of Pau d’arco that you can safely take everyday.