What is Pau D’arco and where does it come from?

One of the wonders of the Amazon rainforest is a tree called Pau D’arco. This large canopy tree grows to around 30 metres tall. Purple lapachol is one of the species of Pau D’arco, which is known for its beautiful purple flowers. This particular species of tree is the most popular and widely used in herbal medicine.

The benefits of Pau D’arco tea have been apparent to indigenous people for centuries. The inner lining of the tree bark is used to make a nourishing tea, the properties of which exert anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, analgesic, antioxidant and anti-fungal actions.

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Benefits of Pau D’arco tea

– Antimicrobial/antifungal

Lapachol an active component of Pau D’arco has been shown to be effective against bacteria such as H. pylori, streptococcus, staphylococcus and clostridium. Also, lapachol has quite a significant effect on candida by breaking down its cell walls and structure.

– Anti-inflammatory

Applied topically, lapachol reduces inflammation in skin injuries and psoriasis. Inhibitory effects on histamine releasing cells lead to a reduction in inflammatory processes. Taken internally, Pau D’arco can calm gastritis and reduce swelling in joints.

– Analgesic

Pau D’arco is an effective pain reliever. Its mechanism of action is not fully understood, but it may interact with pain receptors in the body and calm the inflammatory response. It is shown to be effective in the pain management of conditions, such as arthritis with a number of testimonials online to support this. Some of its anti-inflammatory actions can be attributed to its ability to also reduce pain.

– Antioxidant

Winter months see the onset of colds and flu. Pau D’arco can be used as part of a preventative strategy. Drink 1-2 cups of tea daily. Lapacho inhibits the formation of free-radicals, which damage cells and accelerate the aging process. Pau D’arco is considered to have potent antioxidant properties.

In addition to the benefits listed above, Pau D’arco has also been used as a decongestant, wound healer, anti-viral, anti-tumorous, antiedemic and anti-parasitic. As you can see….. there are AMAZING benefits of Pau D’arco tea!

How to use Pau D’Arco Tea

benefits of pau d'arco tea_2Pau D’arco is also commonly consumed as a tea and comes in either dried herb form or teabags.

– To make it, place 2-3 teaspoons of the herb into a pan of water and bring to the boil for a couple of minutes. Boiling the herb in the water may increase its efficacy. Teabags can be steeped in hot water for a few minutes. Drink throughout the day.

– For vaginal thrush –  Let the tea cool to tepid and use it as a douche.

– The tea can also be applied to finger and toenail yeast infections. Use a tea soaked compress and apply to the affected areas.

– Pau D’arco reportedly clears warts. Leave the compress on overnight and remove the next morning. Repeat the process daily until symptoms resolve.

Recipes

Whilst the flavour of Pau D’arco is very nice, it’s not necessary to just drink it plain. Add spices such as cinnamon and slices of apple and lemon for a winter warmer.

1) Brown Pau D’arco Rice Pudding

– 3 oz brown rice
– ½ pint of almond milk
– ½ pint of Pau D’arco tea (2 teabags)
– 1 oz brown sugar
– 3 oz sultanas
– 3 tbsps flaked almonds
– Grated ginger and nutmeg

Lightly butter a 2 pint dish.
Boil the rice with the Pau D’arco tea until water absorbed.
Add milk and sugar and bring to the boil.
Pour mixture into prepared dish and add sultanas.
Sprinkle with nutmeg and cook for 20 minutes.
When serving, stir in almonds and ginger.

2) Tomato and Red Pepper Pau D’arco Soup

– 200g (7oz) of tomatoes
– 300g (10oz) of red bell peppers
– 60g (2oz) of coconut milk
– 150mls of Pau D’arco tea

Place the tomato and pepper in a pan and pour in tea.
Cook for 7-8 minutes.
Turn off heat and add coconut milk.
Blend until smooth.

Connect with Expert Alison Hampton

Resources:
Lira. A, A, Sester. E. A., Carvalho. A. L., Strattmann. R.R., Albuquerque.M.M., Wanderley. A.G., and Santana. D. P. (2008) Development of Lapachol Topical Formulation: Anti-inflammatory Study of a Selected Formulation. AAPS PharmSciTech 9 (1) PP 163 -168 Tropical plant database.
Paulsen. S. (2003) Pau D’Arco. University of Colorado Denver

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