About

The pau d’arco tree is an evergreen tree that grows in the warm parts of Central and South America. It is a broad leaf evergreen that grows to a height of 125 feet and has pink-to-violet colored flowers. The tree’s extremely hard wood makes it resistant to disease and decay. The inner bark of the tree is used medicinally. In recent years there has been an increasing demand for pau d’arco, causing the trees to be endangered.

What’s It Made Of?:

Most of the chemical research on pau d’arco has been done on the wood and not the inner bark. Pau d’arco contains chemical compounds called naphthoquinones, specifically lapachol and beta-lapachone. They seem to have antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. They also contain significant amounts of the antioxidant quercetin.

Available Forms:

Pau d’arco is sold as tablets, dried bark tea, and tincture (which contains alcohol). The chemicals that give pau d’arco its medicinal effects don’t dissolve well in water, so a tea is not recommended.

Most pau d’arco products are not standardized, so it is hard to determine whether or not they contain a safe amount of these active substances. It is important to carefully read the label to make sure that the product actually contains Tabebuia avellanedae as an ingredient.

Alternative Names:

Ipe roxo; LaPacho; Tabebuia avellanedae; Taheboo tree

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