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Pau d’arco is native to South America, where it has been used to treat a wide range of conditions. There are reports of medicinal uses of pau d’arco tea dating back to 1873. Pau d’arco, also called tabebuia avellanedae, is a tree from the Bignoniaceae family with extremely hard wood; its name is the Portuguese word for “bow stick,” which is an appropriate term because the tree was actually used by native South American Indians for making hunting bows.
The bark and wood of the tree are used externally and internally to treat arthritis, pain, inflammation of the prostate gland, fever, dysentery, boils and ulcers, and various cancers. One of the easiest ways to use pau d’arco is by consuming a tea made from the inner bark of pau d’arco or applying the tea water to the skin.
Pau d’arco is an evergreen tree that has rose-colored flowers. There are nearly 100 species of pau d’arco, but only a few yield high-quality material; plus, it takes extremely skilled gatherers to know what species are the most effective. The medicinal part of the tree is the bark, specifically the inner lining of the bark, called the phloem (pronounced floam). Unfortunately, many companies use the whole bark, containing the dead wood too, and this naturally dilutes the activity of the material.
Scientists have identified two active chemicals in pau d’arco called naphthoquinones; they are lapachol and beta-lapachone. These chemicals have the power to kill bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. They have also shown anti-inflammatory properties, which are important in treating health conditions such as osteoarthritis.
Pau D’arco Tea Nutrition Facts
Pau d’arco tea contains several compounds, including quinoids, benzenoids and flavonoids. These compounds have shown biological activity against harmful organisms. Pau d’arco also has a significant amount of lapachol, which comes from the stem of the tree.
7 Pau D’arco Tea Benefits
1. Reduces Pain
Research shows that pau d’arco tea has the power to naturally reduce pain in patients suffering from cancer and other serious health conditions. It has the ability to lessen the pain associated with several kinds of cancer, especially cancer of the prostate, liver or breast. Arthritic pain is also been relieved after consuming pau d’arco tea.
A 2001 study published in BMC Pharmacology examined the antinociceptive (pain-reducing) and antiedematogenic (to reduce swelling) effects of pau d’arco inner bark that were measured by experimental models in mice that underwent pain stimulated by nerve cells. The inner bark aqueous extract, administered orally in three different concentrations, reduced the sensory process that provides the signals that lead to pain.
2. Fights Candida
Pau d’arco helps the body fight candida the natural way. Candida, also known as candidiasis, is a common yeast infection that can lead to many health problems, from a sore throat to serious stomach problems. The body normally produces yeast in the mouth, vagina, rectum and digestive tracts, and in normal amounts it remains harmless; however, if the body’s natural pH balance is upset, candida symptoms can quickly grow out of control.
If you are suffering from headaches, an inability to concentrate, hyperactivity, chronic fatigue syndrome, sugar addiction and stomach problems, you may be suffering from an overproduction of yeast and candida. A common symptom is thrush, which is an overgrowth of yeast in the mouth or vagina. If left untreated, candida weakens the immune system — allowing more serious diseases to take hold.
3. Reduces Inflammation
An overactive immune system results in the body being flooded with defense cells and hormones that damage tissues. Dietary and environmental toxins build up in the body, and this turns the immune system on — keeping it highly reactive; this is what lead to inflammation, which is at the root of most diseases. By reducing inflammation in the body, you avoid serious health conditions like asthma, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and Parkinson’s disease.
A 2014 study published in The Journal of Toxicological Sciences found that pau d’arco increased the expression of Nrf2-target genes in the intestine. Nrf2 is a protein that regulates the expression of antioxidant proteins that protect against oxidative damage triggered by injury and inflammation. The results of this study shows that the activation of Nrf2 could mediate the beneficial effects of pau d’arco, particularly in the intestine, which can be severely affected by inflammation.