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Pau D'Arco

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What other names is Pau D'arco known by?

Bignonia heptaphylla, Ébénier de Guyane, Ébène Vert, Handroanthus impetiginosus, Ipe, Ipe Roxo, Ipes, Lapacho, Lapacho Colorado, Lapacho Morado, Lébène, Pink Trumpet Tree, Purple Lapacho, Quebracho, Red Lapacho, Tabebuia avellanedae, Tabebuia heptaphylla, Tabebuia ipe, Tabebuia palmeri, Tabebuia impetiginosa, Taheebo, Taheebo Tea, Tecoma impetiginosa, Tecoma ipe, Thé Taheebo, Trumpet Bush.

What is Pau D'arco?

Pau d'arco is a tree that grows in the Amazon rainforest. Pau d'arco wood is dense and resists rotting. The name "pau d'arco" is the Portuguese word for "bow stick," an appropriate term considering the tree's use by the native South American Indians for making hunting bows. The bark and wood are used to make medicine.

Though possibly unsafe, especially at higher doses, pau d'arco is used to treat a wide range of infections. These include viral respiratory infections such as the common cold, flu, and H1N1 (swine) flu; sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea and syphilis; infections of the prostate and bladder; ringworm and other parasitic infections; yeast infections; and infectious diarrhea.

Pau d'arco is also used for cancer. Interest in this use was intensified by extensive research in the 1960s that focused on the possible anti-cancer activity of lapachol, one of the chemicals in pau d'arco. However, research studies were stopped because, at the amounts needed to be effective against cancer, pau d'arco might well be poisonous. Among other things, it can cause severe internal bleeding.

Other uses for pau d'arco include diabetes, ulcers, stomach inflammation (gastritis), liver ailments, asthma, bronchitis, joint pain, hernias, boils, and wounds. Because some people see pau d'arco as a "tonic and blood builder," it is also used to treat anemia.

Pau d'arco is applied directly to the skin for Candida yeast infections.

Commercial products containing pau d'arco are available in capsule, tablet, extract, powder, and tea forms. But sometimes it's hard to know what is in pau d'arco products. Some studies have shown that some pau d'arco products sold in Canada and Brazil do not contain the active ingredients in the correct amounts.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Yeast infections.
  • Common cold.
  • Flu.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Bladder and prostate infections.
  • Intestinal worms.
  • Cancer.
  • Diabetes.
  • Ulcers.
  • Stomach problems.
  • Liver problems.
  • Asthma.
  • Bronchitis.
  • Arthritis-like pain.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (gonorrhea, syphilis).
  • Boils.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of pau d'arco for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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