Pau D'Arco

SCIENTIFIC NAME(S): Tabebuia avellanedae Lorentz ex Griseb. Family: Bignoniaceae (Trumpet creepers).This species is synonymous with T. impetiginosa Mart. ex DC., T. heptaphylla Vell. Toledo, and T. ipe Mart. ex Schum. The distinct related species Tecoma curialis Solhanha da Gama is sometimes marketed under the same names.

COMMON NAME(S): Taheebo, Pau d' Arco, Lapacho morado, Lapacho colorado, Ipe Roxo

Pau d'arco, or the inner bark of the Tabebuia avellanedae tree, is native to Brazil, where it is used traditionally to treat a wide range of conditions including pain, arthritis, inflammation of the prostate gland (prostatitis), fever, dysentery, boils and ulcers, and various cancers.

Today, this healing brew, variously referred to as pau d'arco or Taheebo , is readily available in North American health-food stores and sold as a "cure" for cancer and numerous other ills (including diabetes, warts, and vaginal yeast infections). Whether pau d'arco actually works for any of these conditions is unclear and the subject of ongoing confusion and controversy.


Pau d' arco has been promoted for many years as an anticancer herb, and lay reports have claimed efficacy in a variety of cancers. Antifungal and antibiotic properties are also claimed in promotional literature, with both topical and oral dosing for candidiasis.

Botany :- Tabebuia is a large genus of tropical trees that grows worldwide. According to a source, the correct name for the source species is T. impetiginosa;however, the majority of biological and chemical studies of the plant refer to T. avellaneda . The commercial product is derived from the inner bark. The tree grows widely throughout tropical South America , including Brazil , Paraguay , and northern Argentina . It has a hard, durable, and attractive wood that is extremely resistant to insect and fungal attack.

Uses of Pau D'Arco

Pau d' arco is widely used in alternative cancer therapy without sufficient scientific proof. It may be more useful in antifungal applications, although no clinical trials have been conducted for any indication.

Drug Interactions: Do not use pau d' arco with anticoagulants .

Side Effects of Pau D'Arco

If a pau d'arco supplement or tea upsets your stomach, take it with food. Stop taking it altogether if stomach upset continues.


A traditional recommendation is 2-3 teaspoons (10-15 grams) of the inner bark simmered in a pint (500 ml) of water for fifteen minutes three times per day. However, the naphthaquinones believed to give pau d'arco its major effects are very poorly extracted in water, so teas are not usually recommended in modern herbal medicine. Capsules or tablets providing 500-600 mg of powdered bark can be taken three times per day. A tincture, 1/8-1/4 teaspoon (0.5-1 ml) three times per day, can also be used.


Because of lapachol, human toxicity was seen at doses greater than 1.5 g/day, with an elevated prothrombin time that was reversed by administration of vitamin K. Because lapachol is not a major constituent of Pau d' arco bark, these studies are not entirely relevant to the commercial product. No toxicology has been reported for either the bark extract or its main constituents.

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