Pau d’arco (Tabebuia avellanedae) tree is an evergreen tree that grows in the warm parts of Central and South America, has been used in herbal medicine with a wide range of health concerns, including pain, arthritis, inflammation of the prostate gland (prostatitis), fever, dysentery, boils and ulcers and various cancers.
The bark and wood are used to make medicine, an herb found in the rainforests of the Amazon and in South and Latin America now widely available in dietary supplement form.
Extracts of pau d’arco have been labelled as new therapies for ailments that produce redness and swelling. Pau d’arco is used in the treatment of most fungal diseases, including thrush, athlete’s foot, nail fungus and ringworm.
For digestive improvements in colitis, gastritis and stomach ulcers, as part of an anti-inflammatory prostate healing combination; externally as a cream or ointment in the healing of old sores and lesions, and for diaper rash in babies; used externally as a cream or ointment in the healing of cold sores and bruises.
Proponents also use it to treat lupus, osteomyelitis, Parkinson’s disease, psoriasis, and to relieve pain.
Pau d’arco is cooling, bitter, alterative, antibiotic, antifungal, antitumor, antiviral, anti-neoplastic, digestive, diuretic, fungicidal, anti-diabetic, anodyne, analgesic, astringent, parasiticide and hypotensive. Regular use of pau d’arco will maintain regularity of bowel movements.
This property is undoubtedly due to the presence of the napthaquinones and anthraquinones. Pau d’arco is thought to be effective against chronic fatigue and perhaps depression, the way in which it potentially does this however is unknown.
Although minimally discussed, some proponents of this wonder herb claim it can reduce the symptoms of herpes simplex.
Pau d’arco is available as a capsule, tablet, salve, liquid extract, powder, and tea from health food stores and drugstores. Talk to your health care provider to determine the proper dose of pau d’arco because too much can be dangerous just like any other herbal supplement.