Of all the herbs used by the ancient Inca people, Pau d’Arco, or the ‘Tree of Life’ was one of the mainstays.
Also called ipe roxo or taheebo, and known in some parts of the world as Lapacho, Pau d’Arco is a rainforest remedy made from the inner bark of the large native South American tree known to botany as the genus Tabebuia. Several species have been used by the indigenous peoples of South America, including impetiginosa, heptahylla and avellanedae.
Tribes who live thousands of miles apart are documented as using Pau d’Arco for the same purposes for hundreds of years. South America indigenous tribes have traditionally drunk tea made from the shredded inner bark to boost the effectiveness of the body’s own immune defence mechanisms. As far back as 1882, one of Pau d’Arco’s constituents was isolated and identified as lapachol, an anti-microbial and potentially tumour-fighting chemical. Besides Lapachol, Pau d’Arco contains at least twenty other actives. Today, scientific evidence shows that extracts of Pau d’Arco can offer effective protection against a wide range of bacterial and fungal organisms, including Candida albicans and Thrush. It is also useful for Athletes foot and fungal nail infections.
Rainforest Indians have always valued Pau d’Arco as a powerful remedy for strengthening immunity and to protect them against gut parasites. In many parts of the world, physicians are recognising it as an aid to patients with immune-deficiency illnesses. For ME, chronic fatigue syndrome, Epstein-Barr virus, Pau d’Arco can be a great aid to recovery due to its positive effects on the immune system. Pau d’Arco is not recommended during pregnancy.