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Pau D'Arco Medicinal Properties

Updated on August 5, 2010
Willow Sidhe profile image

Willow Sidhe is a nature enthusiast with over a decade of experience creating natural health and beauty products for herself and her family.

Pau d'arco, also known as lapacho or trumpet tree, is a towering, canopy tree native to the Amazon. The wood itself is extremely durable, and yields to neither mold or termites. The inner and outer bark of this tree was first used by the native people to treat a number of different ailments, such as colitis, wounds, sore throat, ulcers, dysentery, cancer and even snake bites.


Today, the the bark is used as a potent anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-cancer and anti-bacterial. It can be consumed in a variety of different ways, including as a tea, decoction, enema, douche or topical salve. The herb can commonly be found in both health food stores and well-stocked drug stores and is relatively inexpensive.

Pau D'Arco Kills Viruses

Pau d'arco interferes with the energy production and respiratory system of micro-organisms, such as viruses, bacteria and other harmful microbes. This results in the herb being perfect for treating bacterial infections, wounds and other similar ailments. When the active ingredient in the herb was isolated, however, the effects were no as important, leading to the discovery that all of the chemicals in the bark contributed to fighting the illness, not just one.

Pau D'Arco Fights Fungus

Perhaps the most potent and effective property of pau d'arco is its ability to fight fungus, specificually candida. Candida is a fungi that is present in our bodies, but due to its inability to reproduce, it poses no real threat to health individuals. People that are pregnant, have diabetes or weakened immune systems, however, are at a much higher risk. When allowed to take over, the fungi can pose a serious threat to our health. Pau d'arco, though, destroys the candida in the body completely. The anti-fungal power of this tree is so great, it does not even mold or mildew in the wet, tropical rainforest.

Pau D'Arco as an Anti-Cancer Agent

Pau d'arco's ability to fight cancer has brought it a lot of attention in recent years. Pau d'arco has been proven to shrink tumors in laboratory rats, though there has been no indication that it works in the same way on humans. Some tests were undertaken to see if the active cancer fighting ingredient, lapachol, would successfully reduce tumors in humans, though the isolated chemical caused too many negative side-effects for the testing to continue. Some cancer patients have reported good results from taking the entire herb, as opposed to just the lapachol, and having few or no side-effects at all.

Pau D'Arco Active Ingredients

The active ingredients in pau d'arco are most concentrated in the bark, where the tree must constantly fend off molds and mildews. Therefore, the most effective way to make a tea from pau d'arco would be to use the dried bark.

Tonic Tea

The following video demonstrates how to prepare a pau d'arco tea with chaga and cats claw.

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