- Family Bignoniaceae
- Tabebuia impetiginosa
- Pau D'Arco (Portuguese), Lapacho (Spanish), Trumpet Bush, Ipe Roxo, Taheebo
- None noted.
Pau d'Arco is both the name of the tree and the medicine made from its inner bark. Indigenous to South America, it grows well in mountainous terrains, especially in Peru and Argentina, where it grows high up in the Andes. It can also be found growing in low-lying ares in Paraguay and Brazil, where it is thought to have originated. Deciduous in cold climates, this evergreen tree grows to about 125 feet, producing pink flowers. It is valued for its durable wood, as well as for its inner bark, which is collected throughout the year. The tree is not normally cultivated.
The bark has long been valued in South America for its medicinal benefits. The Incas, the Brazilian Callawaya people, and other Native South Americans have long used the herb as a cure-all for wounds, fever, dysentery, intestinal inflammations, snakebites, and certain types of cancer.
- cleansing agent
- immune stimulant
- quinones (lapachol)
- coenzyme Q
- alkaloids (tecomine)
- steroidal saponins
- minerals (especially calcium, cobalt, and silicon)
Dried inner bark
It is rich in phytochemicals called quinones, especially lapachol, which is considered one of the most important antibacterial and antitumor agents known. Although its anticancer action remains controversial, research that began in Brazil in the 1960s indicates that the bark may be useful in treating cancers, including leukemia. Many of the herbs constituents counteract tumor growth which inhibit tumor cell growth by preventing it from metabolizing oxygen.
A number of Tabebuia species are used in herbal medicine, but T. avellanedae is considered to be the most therapeutically effective although, T. impetignosa, is the one most commonly available.
The herb is strongly anti-inflammatory, especially in the stomach and intestines and used to treat a wide variety of inflammatory conditions including cystitis, cervical inflammations, and prostatitis.
It also counters the effects of diabetes, an action that is caused partly by the constituent, tecomine.
It also has the ability to lower blood pressure.
It is an important natural antibiotic for both bacterial and viral infections, especially of the nose, mouth, and throat and considered effective for such chronic conditions as ME.
It is also used to treat fungal infections, including yeasts and ringworm.
It has been used to treat such conditions as cancer, candidiasis, colds, diabetes, fever, flu, infections, malaria, sexually transmitted diseases, and wounds.