Pau D’Arco

Taheebo, Ipe roxo, Lapacho

Traditional Use

The Pau D’Arco tree has a long and revered history in South America, where it has been used for 1000’s of years to treat almost every malady imaginable. From malaria to the common cold, insect bites or fungal infections – Pau D’Arco was the answer.
It was and still is taken internally in tea or powder form, or used externally to treat all manner of wounds, skin infections, snake bites and even impetigo.


Taheebo (the tree Pau D’Arco comes from) is a huge canopy tree native to the Amazon rainforest and other tropical parts of South and Latin America. It grows to 30 m high and the base of the tree can be 2–3 m in diameter. As well as being native to Central and South America, Pau D’Arco is also cultivated in sub-tropical North America

Parts used

Inner bark


Pau D’Arco has crystalline oxygen locked into it. Pau D’Arco is also rich in nutrients including iron, calcium, selenium, zinc vitamins A, B & C, magnesium potassium and sodium. It is also stacked with therapeutic phytochemicals including lapachol. Its combination of properties makes it antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal, thus giving it a reputation as immune system stimulant and disease fighter.


It is safe for use with children. Liquorice should not be taken by people on digoxin-based drugs. It should also be avoided during pregnancy and in cirrhosis of the liver. It may interfere with the calcium and potassium absorption. Do not use if you are suffering from osteoporosis, hypertension (increases water around heart).


Combats Candida
Candida is a common yeast which lives in the mouth and the intestines. It is needed in very small amounts to aid digestion and nutrient absorption. However, if the body’s Ph level is upset it can get out of control very quickly, resulting in Candida overgrowth – also known as Candidiasis. If left untreated, this can lead to a whole host of problems and can weaken the immune system, allowing more serious diseases to take hold. Symptoms of overgrowth can include; thrush, headaches, poor concentration, fatigue and uncontrollable sugar cravings.
Powerfully antifungal, Pau D’Arco is most well known for its Candida fighting abilities. It contains several classes of compounds; lapachol, xyloidone and other napthaquinones – the most important of these being lapachol. In an overview of lapachol research published in 2007, it was found that lapachol has a significant effect against Candida albicans and Candida tropicalis. Pau D’Arco will also loosen the bowels – not enough to cause diarrhoea – but enough to wash out old faecal matter, exposing the Candida yeast. In this way, Pau D’Arco offers a two-pronged attack against Candida overgrowth.

Pau D’Arco contains some powerful antioxidant compounds including; quercetin, flavonoids and carnosol. Quercetin in particular is a prolific free radical scavenger, helping to slow down the aging process and lessening the effects of oxidative stress. It also stimulates the digestive system to keep food moving through the body – especially the colon, which can be likened to the sewage tank of the body – needing to be cleaned, emptied and maintained to function properly. This allows any unhealthy debris, excess fats and toxins to be eliminated regularly, keeping the colon clean and healthy.
Pau D’Arcos antiviral properties are legendary in its native South America with it being used as such for 1000’s of years. Viruses stopped in their tracks by Pau D’Arco tea range from the common cold to more serious viruses that can cause life threatening diseases. It has been shown to actively inhibit dangerous viruses through the beta-lapochone content which inhibits the enzymes in virus cells, directly affecting the synthesis of DNA and RNA. The virus is no longer able to take control of the reproductive processes of the cell meaning it can neither replicate itself or infect other cells.
Whilst inflammation has its place as a valuable immune response, chronic inflammation is now thought to be the root cause of most diseases. If an overload of toxins from diet and the environment has built up in the body, this can turn the immune system on and make it highly reactive, leading to chronic inflammation. The risk of asthma, Crohn’s disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes can be avoided by reducing inflammation.
A study published in “The Journal of Toxicological Sciences” found that Pau D’Arco increases the expression of Nrf2-target genes in the intestine, a protein that protects against oxidative damage triggered by injury and inflammation. The study showed that the activation of Nrf2 could mediate the beneficial effects of Pau D’Arco, protecting the intestine which can be severely affected by inflammation.


Pau D’Arco has a long and well-documented history of use by the indigenous peoples of the rainforest. Use of Pau D’Arco may actually pre-date the Inca Empire. Tribes living thousands of miles apart have used Pau D’Arco for the same medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. Guarani and Tupi Indians call the Pau D’Arco tree tajy, which means “to have strength and vigour.” The bark is used to treat many different conditions and as a tonic.

The Inca are attributed with dubbing this tree as divine. Many plants have been credited with godlike status but, it is said that Pau D’Arco attracts alpha rays, which give human cells a positive electrical charge.

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