Earth’s rainforests evolved over millions of years creating environments so complex, diverse and productive that they provide a quarter of today’s medicines. Medicinal plants of the Amazon rainforests, rich in phytochemicals and their active constituents, have been utilised by indigenous people for centuries for their survival, health and wellbeing. Pau d’Arco is one of thousands of medicinal plants used by the rainforest tribes of Central and South America.
The Amazon rainforests have long symbolised mystery and power, a sacred link between humans and nature. Still awaiting discovery are myriad secrets and treasures of the wealth and healing power of the medicinal plants used by indigenous people of the rainforest tribes and their shamans and healers. It is not surprising that Pau d’Arco, considered one of the world’s greatest tonic herbs, comes from the most powerful and bio-actively diverse natural phenomena on the planet.
The Pau d’Arco tree (commonly known as lapacho) is found mostly in the low-lying Amazon rainforests of Paraguay and Brazil but also high up in the Andes of Peru and Argentina. The Incas and other aboriginal people of Central and South America prized the bark as a cure-all, and its use may actually predate the Incas. Throughout South America, tribes living thousands of miles apart have employed Pau d’Arco for the same medicinal purposes for many hundreds of years, to cure a wide variety of health conditions including cancer, lupus, infectious diseases and wounds. The inner bark is stripped by hand vertically from the ground to about 2 m (6 ft). Enough bark is left intact to ensure the survival of the tree.
The primary constituents, lapachol and beta-lapachone, are considered central to the plant’s efficacy as a herbal remedy, particularly in the treatment of tumours and infections. Both have strong antifungal properties known to be as potent as ketoconazole, a common antifungal drug. The inner bark is also prized as an immune stimulant.
Daniel B. Mowrey, director of the Mountainwest Institute of Herbal Medicine in Salt Lake City, Utah, has conducted extensive research on Pau d’Arco and concluded that lapachol “produced positive clinical anticancer abilities without side effects.” According to Dr Mowrey, “Throughout the width and breadth of the Earth there exist plants which, when used with wisdom, have the amazing ability to cure or prevent cancer, infections, the common cold, in brief, the ills of mankind. The need for scientific examination results in the accumulation of interesting and sometimes useful data; at its best it opens new avenues for effective application of the wisdom of the ancients.”
Be aware that Pau d’Arco is not all created equal. Nearly 100 species of Pau d’Arco trees are known, but only a few yield high quality material, and it takes extremely skilled gatherers to tell the difference. Tabebuia impestiginosa and Tabebuia avellanedae possess the superior properties for medicinal use.
More information on Pau d’Arco and many other healing herbs: www.naturescreation.biz – Nature’s Creation – Knowledge & Guidance through Healing Plants book and card set.