Pau D’Arco-Lapacho is sometimes called “Purple Trumpet Tree”, “Taheebo”, or “Lapacho”. It is widely distributed in South America and the Amazon Rainforest and notably used by indigenous tribes in Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. It is a very large tree and can grow up to 125 feet high. Traditional use dates back to historical records of the Incas as used to make Bow’s. It has been used as a traditional medicine by every native population that the tree grows for a wide variety of health concerns.
Scientists have identified two active chemicals in pau d’arco lapacho. These chemicals are called naphthoquinones: lapachol and beta-lapachone. In lab tests, these chemicals killed some bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites. They also have anti-inflammatory properties, and may be effective against diseases such as osteoarthritis. But no one knows whether they will have the same effects in humans, and the dose required would have severe, toxic side effects.
Pau d’arco is sometimes used for the following conditions, although there is no evidence it works:
- Candidiasis (a vaginal or oral yeast infection)
- Herpes simplex virus
- Parasitic diseases, such as schistosomiasis
- Bacterial infections, such as brucellosis
The bark of the tree is used in traditional medicine and usually prepared as a tea. It is used as a blood alterative, to support immune function, to support a normal inflammatory response in the body and topically for skin conditions as well as promoting a naturally healthy microbial balance of the intestinal tract. Modern research has focused on a group of alkaloid constituents referred to collectively as Lapachols. Surely the tannin content and entire activity of the bark contributes to the activity.
Commercial products containing pau d’arco are available in capsule, tablet, extract, powder, and tea forms. But sometimes it’s hard to know what is in pau d’arco products. Some studies have shown that some pau d’arco products sold in Canada, Brazil, and Portugal do not contain the active ingredients in the correct amounts.
That is why we suggest making your own pau d’arco-lapacho tincture or grind the herb and make tea or capsules.
Possible Interactions: Antiplatelet and anticoagulant drugs (blood thinners)
Pau d’arco may affect the blood’s ability to clot, and could interfere with blood-thinning drugs, including:
- Warfarin (Coumadin)
- Clopidogrel (Plavix)