Tabebuia impetiginosa; formerly T. avellanedae

Pau d’arco has been studied well with early results promising. Research on anticancer activity was conducted in the late 1960s and early 1970s by the National Cancer Institute. Analyses of commercial products have found that many lack the known active constituents.

What is this miracle bark?

Pau d ArcoIt’s called Pau d’arco (pow-DAR-co). The actual meaning of the word is “bow stick”, which refers to various trees of the Tabebuia family that can be found growing in the mountains of Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru.

More recently, Brazilian researchers studied and did confirm that the ancient Pau d’ arco is indeed anti-bacterial naturally. Even more recent studies confirm:

  • In Rio de Janeiro a study was conducted at the University and confirmed that pau d’ arco does help treat Staphylococcus aureus infections, even when it resists antibiotics.
  • The Seoul National University conducted a study that suggests pao d’ arco is active against human intestinal bacteria that cause food poisening.
  • The National Academy of Sciences confirmed that pau d’ arco contains anti-inflammatory properties as well as anti-viral activity, including against herpes I and II.

Pau d’ Arco as an Herb for Medicinal Uses

One of the best known herbs from the Amazonian rainforest, pau d’arco is a key ingredient in the tribal medicine chest, used as whole herb to treat infections and cancer.

In the Americas, Pau d’arco has a folk reputation as an anticancer, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal agent, especially for treating candida infections.

In Peru, Pau d’arco has been used to treat diabetes and as a blood purifier.

There is laboratory evidence that Pau d’arco contains compounds that protect against tropical diseases, specifically malaria, schistosomiasis, and tropical fevers.

The herb is added to ointments to treat psoriasis, and taken orally to relieve ulcers.

Pau d’arco tincture should be taken in water with a little lemon juice so tannins can be absorbed through the colon for maximum absorption of the full range of healing compounds.

Culinary Uses of Pau d’ Arco

Generally not used for culinary purposes other than tea.

Directions to prepare as a tea: Pour 8 ounces of boiling water over 1 to 2 teaspoons of the herb. Cover and steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain and serve immediately.


Reported side effects include nausea and gastrointestinal distress. Pau d’arco should be approached cautiously: its anticancer activity is unconfirmed.

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