If you look long and hard enough, and have an affinity for what trees can offer other than providing shade in a forest or fallen leaves in the fall, you might be interested to know that there are types of tree bark that can provide a variety of health benefits for people. One of those trees is the pau d’arco tree, a large, evergreen tropical tree native to Central and South America with extracts from its bark long used in herbal medicine for the treatment of an assortment of medical conditions.
What Is the Pau D’Arco Tree?
“Pau d’arco” is Portuguese for “bow tree,” per verywellhealth.com, which makes perfect sense considering that the tree – also known as taheebo and ipe roxo – has for many years been used by Brazilian natives to construct bows and arrows, useful for hunting. One of the characteristics of pau d’arco wood is how dense it is, making it resistant to rotting, and which is in part what makes medicines extracted from the bark so effective.
Available widely in supplemental form, pau d’arco extract is the source of quercetin, a powerful antioxidant and antiviral with a track record of promoting health in humans. The bark from the tree also contains what are known as “naphthoquinones, which are plant-based composites that can reportedly provide antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal benefits.
What Are Pau D’Arco’s Key Benefits?
Pau d’arco has a legacy for treating various medical conditions dating back at least 1,500 years, per organicconsumers.org. The extract itself has been described as a powerful antiparasitic remedy long used by indigenous populations, but certainly popular for contemporary healing purposes, used widely on a daily basis by people for other such things as bolstering immunity and for its anti-aging benefits.
Its properties have also been linked to compounds useful in cleansing the blood and for inhibiting damaging microorganisms. Another of pau d’arco’s ingredients is lapachol, which has been proven to be an effective remedy for malaria. If you’ve never used pau d’arco before, or even if you have on a limited basis, it is worth a consultation with your physician before making it a regular part of your daily supplementation regimen.
Following is a summary and brief explanation of pau d’arco’s most notable benefits:
- Wound healing. Pau d’arco can speed up the healing of wounds while also working as an effective remedy for skin ailments accompanied by swelling and redness, such as psoriasis and eczema, per organicconsumers.org.
- Infections. It can help ward off a multitude of infections, ranging from malaria, staph, and vaginitis resulting from Candida, to athlete’s foot and fungal infections of the skin, per organicconsumers.org. It is also useful for fighting various viral respiratory infections by boosting immune function to counter the likes of the common cold and flu, per emedicinehealth.com.
- Inflammation. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, per verywellhealth.com, and involving laboratory mice medically induced with a tissue-swelling condition, found that a water-based form of pau d’arco succeeded in thwarting the production of prostaglandins, which are compounds known to promote inflammation.
- Fight obesity. Pau d’arco has shown an ability to do this, partly by reducing blood triglycerides, per organicconsumers.org.
- Other reported benefits include resisting infections associated with sexual transmission, such as gonorrhea and syphilis; infections of the prostate and bladder; and parasitic and yeast infections, as well as infectious diarrhea, per emedicinehealth.com.