We can be grateful to American Indians for a multitude of herbal and natural medicines. Pau d'arco has a been used as a medicine by the indigenous people of the rainforest. The Pau d'arco tree is a broad-leaf evergreen that grows to a height of 125 feet and produces violet colored flowers which accounts for it's often being called the "trumpet tree". It grows well in Peru and Argentina high in the Andes. It can be found growing in the low-lying areas of Paraguay and Brazil. It's use goes back in history to before the Incas. Pau d'arco tree was used to make hunting bows and as a medicine. It was observed by indigenous people that when the tree was alive and even after it was cut down, it never developed growth of mold, mildew, or fungi.
The Guarani and Topi Indians refer to the tree as "tajy, which means "to have strength and vigor" i.e. good health. Tribal medicine people peeled off the tree's bark in long strips. They then separated the inner and outer layers and used the inner bark to make healing teas. Pau d' arco has crystalline oxygen infused in it's inner bark, which is rich in iron, calcium, selenium, vitamins A, B-complex and C., magnesium potassium and sodium. These pau d'arco nutrients make give it antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal action which stimulates the immune system and fights disease. Indigenous people of South America have used pau d'arco for treating malaria, anemia, colitis, respiratory problems, colds, cough, flu, fungal infections, fever, arthritis and rheumatism, poor circulation, skin irruptions and sexually transmitted disease.
Lapachol, which is a photochemical, is present in the inner bark of pau d'arco trees has been documented as an effective natural medicine for use in treating abscesses and tumors. However, for it to be used to treat conditions such as cancer, the amount of lapachol, found in pau d' arco, required to provide and effective dosage, would be toxic if used as the exclusive treatment. It can however, be used along with other cancer treatments. Pau d'arco is given free by the Argentina government to cancer patients and also leukemia patients because of it's blood purifying qualities and because it has been know to reduce pain caused by cancer and it's treatment because of pau 'd arco's anti-inflammatory effect.
Pau d'arco contains selenium which is one of our body's natural defenses against yeast infections, vaginally as well as for topical skin treatment. It's antifungal action aids in the elimination of candida. Because of it's antifungal properties, it is useful for fighting fungi that promotes athlete's foot and other skin infections caused by fungi. It has also been shown to be effective in treating other infections such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, strep, and dysentery. Pau d'arco has a cleansing ability so is very useful for relieving intestinal infections, destroying parasites, and restoring colon health. A number of infection fighting substances known as napthoquinones seem to destroy certain disease causing bacteria, without destroying beneficial bacteria. This makes it an excellent natural antibiotic.
As a preventative, pau d'arco has been shown to help build our immune system with the stimulation of macrophages that fight disease. Pau d'arco has a high iron content that contributes to the elimination of wastes, the assimilation of nutrients and increasing oxygen supply to needed areas of the body. It helps improve hemoglobin and red blood cell corpuscles.. It therefore can be used for relief from chronic fatigue. Pau d'arco blood cleaning qualities makes it an excellent anti-allergy, anti-rhumatic, astringent, and cardiotonic. It is also often used to balance high blood pressure. It helps tone, balance and strengthen the heart. Pau d'arco helps to neutralize the poisons involving the liver which aids the liver in it's blood cleansing function.. By improving the health of our blood and it's flow we greatly increase the effectiveness of our immune system.
Pau d'arco is very useful in treatment and relief of colds, flu, herpes and hepatitis because of it's antiviral qualities. It therefore is an excellent alternative or synthetic prescription or over-the -counter cold and flu "treatments" that often only suppress symptoms without actually curing the cause or may carry the risk of unwanted, sometimes harmful, side effects e.g drowsiness, etc.
With our concern about the undesired side effects of prescription antibiotics i.e. destroying beneficial bacteria or becoming ineffective because of bacterial mutation, we can find in pau d'arco ,a powerfully effective natural antibiotic alternative. As is true of many natural health care remedies, pau d'arco has many general health care benefits beyond the specific intended purpose. For example, if we use pau d'arco for relieving a cold, we will also benefit from it's cleansing action of our blood and liver, fighting of yeast infection, elimination of intestinal parasites, etc. We an also benefit from it's general immune building properties while treating a specific health condition. Once again, we benefit from the experience and wisdom of indigenous people, as they discovered and developed the use of pau d'arco another of Nature's powerful gifts, a natural antibiotic.