What is Pau d’ Arco?
The Lapacho is a huge canopy-type tree that is found growing in the rain forests of South America, more specifically in the countries of Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina, and is commonly known by its Portuguese name of “pau d’arco.”
Historically, pau d’ arco had been used by the native peoples throughout South America to treat a variety of illnesses which included malaria, influenza, parasite infections, lupus, respiratory problems, syphilis, colitis, pain relief, fungal infections, and as an antidote for poisonous snakebites.
The medicinal part of the tree is found in the inner lining of the bark (called the “phloem”) which contains compounds known as “naphthaquinones” (aka N-Factors). This inner bark also has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, and anti-fungal agents that have been shown to be effective against candida, herpes, prostitus, cancer, Hodgkin’s disease and AIDS. Additionally, Pau d’arco has become a standard form of therapy to treat cancer and various infections in hospitals throughout Brazil, Argentina, and other countries in South America, with at least one company obtaining a U.S. patent based on their research findings in regards to cancer.
In one clinical study South American researchers orally administered lapachol to patients suffering from various forms of cancer, including adenocarcinoma of the liver, breast and prostate, and squamous carcinoma of the palate, uterine and cervix. The substance resulted in temporary reduction of all conditions along with a significant reduction in pain. Duration of treatment was anywhere from 30 to 720 days, with an average of about two months. One patient with liver cancer presented with a significant reduction in jaundice accompanied by other signs of improvement after only eight days on the therapy. These results were in similar accord with results obtained in animal studies.
Supplementing with Pau D Arco
Because the active ingredient is found only in the inner bark of the Abebuia Avellanedae tree, there is a concern that some manufacturers may be deceptively passing off inferior products that contain very low amounts of the active compounds. This is done by mixing the inner bark with the inactive outer bark, or by mixing the active bark with the bark from other trees during deforestation. Unfortunately that means that health food stores may not be the best source for obtaining high quality pau d’arco products, as a vast majority of commercial products sold are void of significant activity due to lack of quality controls and a general lack of knowledge when harvesting, therefore it is important to purchase this product from reputable companies.
Pau D Arco is available in 2 forms. As a shredded bark that you can brew into a tea or purchase in capsule form.
Below are some sources for purchasing Pau d’arco. You can find bulk quantities of the inner bark for about $25.00 a pound. This can be used to make your own tea or tinctures at home. Watch the video below for instructions on brewing the tea.
How to Brew Pau D Arco Tea
In a stainless steel or glass pot bring 1 quart of water to a boil. Once at a boil, add 5 heaping Tbsp of the bark and then cover the pan, remove from the heat, and allow to steep for 30 minutes. Let the tea cool and then pour through a strainer into a clean mason jar and store in the refrigerator. It is recommended that if you are drinking the tea for cancer support that a minimum of four, eight ounce cups per day should be consumed (always on an empty stomach). A maintenance is 2-3 cups per day.
How to store and prepare pau d arco tea
Vendors of Pau D Arco, bulk tea and capsules
- Frontier Pau d’Arco (bulk tea)
- Nature’s Sunshine Pau D’Arco (supplements)
- Now Foods Pau D’ Arco (supplements)
Contraindications: Most of the side effects observed occurred when taking lapacho constituents. These included nausea and anticoagulant (blood thinning) effects and diarrhea when taken in very high doses. No such side effects were detected when consumed at the recommended doses. Women who are pregnant or breast feeding should consult their doctors before taking this supplement.
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