Dried Pau D'Arco Inner Bark PhotoPau D’Arco makes a delicately scented, mild tea but it’s chemical properties that act against cancer are anything but mild and delicate.

Pau D’Arco is a tree, growing in the southern rain forests of Brazil and Argentina. Pau D’Arco contains active quinone compounds which have been studied extensively for their potential use in pharmaceutical agents for cancer treatment.

Native healers have used the inner bark of this tree for thousands of years to inhibit and slow the growth of cancers and tumors. It was reportedly used in “South American hospitals and clinics to treat leukemia … Dr. Theodore Meyer of Argentina reported five leukemia victims were completely cured of cancer by Pau D’Arco” (Tierra, 1998).

Pau D’Arco has many names; Tabebuia Impetiginosa, Tabebuia Heptaphylla Lapachol, Purple Lapachol, Tabebuia, and Taheebo.

Click here to see the list of cancer fighting activities in Lapachol on Dr. Duke’s Ethnobotanical and Phytochemical Database.

Notice the anticancer properties of LAPACHOL Bark:

“Antiabscess; Antibacterial; Anticarcinomic 100-400 ppm; Antiedemic; Antiinflammatory; Antimalarial; Antiseptic; Antitumor; Antiviral; Fungicide; Immunostimulant 0.01 mg/ml; Insectifuge; Pesticide; Protisticide; Respiradepressant; Schistosomicide; Termiticide. Pau D’Arco also has potent anti-fungal, anticancer, antidiabetic, bitter tonic, digestive, antibacterial and anti-tumor properties (Duke, 2009).”

Pau D’Arco has alterative properties that work to deeply and gently cleanse our blood, remove toxins and stimulate white blood cell production. Alteratives are best used consistently for a period of weeks or months. Start slowly, especially if you are debilitated by illness and gently increase the dose over one to two weeks. Alteratives can cause systemic toxicity if the amount of acids and wastes released into your bloodstream are too much for your eliminatory system. This can overburden your liver, skin, bowels, lungs and kidneys and cause unnecessary symptoms of detoxification. Go slowly and consistently to reap the general detoxifying action of Pau D’Arco.

It has been used in fungal infections, cancer, to slow and inhibit tumor growth and to eliminate skin diseases.

In The Green Pharmacy Dr. Duke reports that Lapachol bark contains lapachol, beta-lapachone and xyloidine, three compounds which show activity against Candida Albicans and other common pathogenic fungi (Duke, 1997).

Like many other herbs, Pau D’Arco can have harmful effects when used in large amounts. In small quantities Pau D’Arco stimulates immune function, but in large doses it can have the opposite affect of suppressing immunity. More is not always better.

Alteratives are used slowly and consistently, in small quantities. One teaspoon to a cup of water, just off the boil, let steep for five to ten minutes.

Because of the strong anti-fungal properties of Pau D’Arco, it makes a useful remedy for yeast infections, eczema and psoriasis. To make a compress, soak a cloth in Pau D’Arco tea and lay on the infection, or pour a small amount of tea directly on the affected area, once or twice daily.


Always be aware of the active properties of the herbs you are using, especially if you are on medications or have a preexisting condition such as high blood pressure, liver or kidney disease, or if you are pregnant or nursing. Please always consult a qualified practitioner for more information.

In large amounts, Pau D’Arco can inhibit blood clotting. Consult a physician if you have heart disease, use blood thinners, or anticoagulants.

Pregnant and nursing women should never consume Pau D’Arco. It contains toxic quinines with Abortifacient activities.


Dr. Duke’s Ethnobotanical and Phytochemical Database. (2010) Accessed October 3, 2010 from http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/duke/chemical.pl?LAPACHOL

Duke, Ph.D., James, A. (1997) The Green Pharmacy. Pennsylvania, U.S.A.: Rodale Press.

Tierra, L.Ac., O.M.D., Michael. (1998) The Way Of Herbs. New York, U.S.A.: Pocket Books, Simon & Schuster Inc.




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