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Pau d’Arco Bark

Veterinarian Reviewed on June 14, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized

Pau d’Arco Bark (Tabebuia impetiginosa)


Pau d’Arco (Tabebuia impetiginosa) is an evergreen tree that is native to Paraguay, Brazil and also to Argentina. This magnificent tree can grow to as high as 25 feet and has beautiful flowers that actually resemble minute little trumpets. The Pau d’Arco bark is the most commonly used part of the tree for medicinal and therapeutic purposes.

The Pau d’Arco can be called Lapacho or Pink Trumpet Tree. The Pau d’Arco bark has many medicinal properties and is a rich source of powerful antioxidants as well.

History and Origin

The Pau d’Arco tree and the Pau d’Arco bark’s medicinal use dates back to the time of the Incas. The tribes of the South American rainforests call this tree ‘Tajy’ which means ‘The Divine Tree’. Due to the many uses of the wood, bark, leaves and roots of the Pau d’Arco, it has been highly regarded as a tree of life for the rainforest.

Ancient Uses

South American tribes used Pau d’Arco bark both internally to cure many diseases and externally as a poultice and topical remedy for various wounds and boils. The Pau d’Arco bark was used to reduce a fever, and treat various infections and upper respiratory disorders. Some tribes would use the Pau d’Arco bark for life threatening diseases, such as cancer and leprosy.

Modern Uses

The common modern use of the Pau d’Arco bark is related to its high antioxidant properties. It is a powerful antibiotic that is useful in viral infections such as the common cold and the flu. It is also useful in fungal infections and many other diseases of the gastro intestinal tract. Many experts have also discovered that Pau d’Arco bark contains anti inflammatory properties that can relieve pain and swelling in joints for arthritis suffering patients. Having a high antioxidant content also adds to the anti aging treatment of this fantastic herbal remedy.

The anti cancer properties of the Pau d’Arco bark is not yet determined although many herbal enthusiasts advice that Pau d’Arco supplements can significantly lower your risk of developing cancer.
Aside from cancer, however it is also believed to significantly treat skin conditions like psoriasis and dermatitis. It was also reported to treat sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea.

In preparing Pau d’Arco bark for medicinal purposes, it is recommended to be taken as a decoction and not as a tea since it will not be equally effective. The Pau d’Arco bark decoction is also used as a douche for vaginal infections that is used regularly until the condition subsides. It may also be used topically for fungal infections of the skin.

Side Effects

Minor side effects of the Pau d’Arco bark include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. If minor side effects persist while using Pau d’Arco bark decoction, lower the dose or ask your naturopathic doctor regarding the best formulation for the treatment of your particular ailment.
Adverse reactions of Pau d’Arco bark with medications have not been significantly reported. Again, ask your doctor or herbalist for advice regarding adverse any possible drug reactions with your medication and Pau d’Arco bark preparations.

Read also: Garrya Leaf

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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