The Power of Pau D’ Arco
Do you know about Pau D' Arco yet? Also known as Red Lapacho, and Taheebo, this not-so-famous herb is a potent powerhouse for your immune system and for modulating inflammation. Though it doesn't have quite the fan fair as plants like Turmeric, its impressive medicinal profile has been gaining popularity over the last few years.
TRADITIONAL USES OF PAU D’ ARCO
Pau D' Arco (Tabebuia impetiginosa), is a towering deciduous tree native to the Amazon and Latin America. It can grow up to 125 feet high with pink and violet-colored flowers. It's the bark and wood of the tree that are used medicinally, and evidence of its use dates back to the Incas.
Not only did indigenous tribes of Latin America use it for health purposes, but they also used the wood to make their hunting bows. The Portuguese word Pau D' Arco actually means 'bow stick'.
The plant began to gain popularity in the 1960s when the Brazilian press began documenting its powerful healing potential. Communities such as the Guarani and Tupi Indians reportedly used the bark in a tea preparation for numerous conditions such as fungal infections, colds, cough, flu, anemia, malaria, fever, arthritis, dysentery, and other gastrointestinal problems, skin lesions, colitis, boils, snakebites, syphilis, and even cancer, to name a few.
Pau D' Arco is rich in certain compounds such as flavonoids, benzenoids, minerals, and antioxidants. Of special significance is its high content of quinoids, specifically, anthraquinones, furanonaphthoquinones, lapachones, and naphthoquinones. It's these specific compounds that scientists believe are responsible for the numerous healthy supporting properties of the plant.
Of particular interest to scientific researchers is the plant's high content of beta lapachone and lapachol. Some research studies have demonstrated the effective use of low dose lapachol for reducing metastasis; and beta lapachone for inducing mitochondrial dysfunction among cancer cells.
It should be noted that high doses of lapachol could be toxic. Also, most of the research on Pau D' Arco has been done on animals; so more research is needed to confirm the efficacy of the medicinal claims.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF PAU D’ ARCO
Probably the most well-known use for Pau D' Arco tea is in supporting a healthy microbial balance. Indigenous communities have been using it for its antimicrobial properties for hundreds of years. Beta lapachone has been shown to reduce certain fungal strains. Using the tea for its supporting actions against candida overgrowth is quite popular in many parts of the world, and is often the main component in many candida protocols. Components of the inner-bark have also been shown to eradicate the problematic Helicobacter pylori, which is responsible for some stomach ulcers.
If it's longevity you're looking for, Pau D' Arco can help with that too. Research has shown that beta lapachone can modulate NAD metabolism, which is associated with anti-aging mechanisms. One study from 2012 showed this modulating activity to prevent age-related decline of muscle and brain functions in aging mice.
Extracts of the inner-bark have also been shown to support a healthy inflammatory and pain response. One study from 2012 found that 'treatment with 200 mg/kg Taheebo led to significant anti-inflammatory effects and inhibited inflammation by 30-50% compared with the control.'
Pau D' Arco has even been shown to aid in healthy weight management and to detoxify the body by removing heavy metals and other chemicals. It can also have a laxative effect, helping to clear out excess waste of the digestive system.
And last but not least, Pau D' Arco has certain volatile constituents that have shown impressive antioxidant activity. Given the bombardment of 'pro' oxidants we are exposed to in our modern world, consuming more antioxidants is important for supporting our overall health.
HOW TO ENJOY PAU D’ ARCO
With this impressive profile, it's no wonder this powerful plant is gaining popularity among health-minded consumers. Pau D' Arco is one of the main ingredients in Wise Ape's Coconut Warrior tea. Combined with Assam black tea, coconut, turmeric, and cinnamon, this tea provides superb antioxidant protection along with a healthy dose of microbial support.
Want to be wise like the Incas? Enjoy the pau d' arco tea benefits by sipping some Coconut Warrior today and tap into your inner warrior!
Wise Words Written By: Cathy Cooke is the founder of Whole Home and Body Health. She is a Board Certified Holistic Nutritionist with the National Association of Nutrition Professionals, a Certified Building Biology Environmental Consultant and Certified Electromagnetic Radiation Specialist with the Building Biology Institute. Connect with Cathy and learn more about her work here.