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What are the Uses and Health Benefits of Pau D'Arco (Handroanthus impetiginosus)?

Pau Darco, Handroanthus impetiginosus

What is Pau D'Arco (Handroanthus Impetiginosus)?

Pau D'Arco is an Ayurvedic herb which has been used for many health benefits from centuries. The herb helps to treats a variety of health ailments such as malaria, anemia, colitis, cold, flu, fever, fungal infection, arthritis, dysentery, poor circulation, cancer, and various respiratory disorders. Pau D'Arco is a type of tree which is native to the rainforest of central and South America. There is a wide distribution of herb from northern Mexico south to northern Argentina.

Pau D'Arco is a large deciduous tree, grows up to the height of 30 meters. Usually, branches cover two-third area and a third of that height is the trunk. The tree has a slow growth rate than other trees. The leaves of the tree are opposite and 2-3 inches long, lanceolate and petiolate. The margins of the leaves are serrated and contain pinnate venation. The bark of the tree is dark grey in color and hard to peel. Flowers are large, tubular shaped and magenta pink in color. They are usually 2 inches long. The fruits of Pau D'Arco in the shape of a dehiscent capsule containing various winged seeds. Pau D'Arco and other species of this genus are used as a honey tree and also used and planted as an ornamental tree. The inner bark of the plant is mainly used in traditional ayurvedic medicines for the treatment of several body disorders.


  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Lamiales
  • Family: Bignoniaceae
  • Genus: Handroanthus
  • Species: H. impetiginosus

Chemical constituents of Pau D'Arco

Pau D'Arco contains various compounds such as quercetin (an antioxidant), anthraquinones (laxative) etc. the bark of Pau D'Arco contains 19 glycosides (4- iridoid glycosides, 2- lignan glycosides, 2- isocoumarin glycosides, 3- phenylethanoid glycosides, and 8- eight phenolic glycosides). The plant is also a rich source of tannins, naphthoquinones, anthraquinones, and flavonoids. Lapachol is one of the naphthoquinones found in herb which has been very effective in malaria treatment and also prevent tumor formation.

Medicinal Properties of Pau D'Arco

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Analgesic
  • Astringent
  • Laxative
  • Astringent
  • Ant-parasitic
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-microbial
  • Antiviral

Therapeutic Uses of Pau D'Arco

  • The herbal powder made from Pau D'Arco is usually used for the treatment of dysentery. You can take 1-2 teaspoon twice daily with plain water.
  • Tea made from Pau D'Arco may be effective in strengthening immunity in people suffering from the chronic immune disorders.
  • The plant also contains some anti-inflammatory compounds which help to reduce the inflammation in arthritis patient.
  • Due to its anti-fungal properties, it helps to treat vaginal yeast infection.
  • Helps to get rid of warts.
  • Helps to treat immune-related disorders such as asthma, eczema. Psoriasis and other bacterial infection.
  • Stimulates the immune system and increase the production of red blood cells in the body.

Health Benefits of Pau D'Arco

  • Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, the herb helps to fight against various inflammation-related disorders in the human body. Pau D'Arco may suppress the action of proinflammatory substances such as prostaglandins in the body. A patient who has been suffering from arthritis and atherosclerosis and other inflammation-related disorder get benefits from Pau D'Arco. This herb helps to reduce the swelling and inflammation in the joints and along with this also reduce the joints pain.
  • Many people use this herb for the treatment of malaria, it's a life-threatening disease which is caused by the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. An infected person may feel nausea, high fever, vomiting etc. Pau D'Arco reduces the further infection of malaria in the person by inhibiting the action of the causative agent.
  • The herb also fights bacterial and yeast infection due to its anti-bacterial properties. The herb most commonly kills the bacteria which are associated with stomach ulcer such as Helicobacter pylori. The herb contains many antibiotic compounds which show positive results during bacterial infection.  Beta-lapachone helps to kill fungi which are responsible for causing lung infection and valley fever.
  • Pau D'Arco also helps to fight against cancerous cells in the body. It mainly shows its effect on breast cancer, prostate cancer, and leukemia cancer cells. The herb blocks the activity of the estrogen receptor and activating the cancer-fighting cells. By doing so it prevents the tumor from spreading and make cancer cells more vulnerable to oxidative stress, which ultimately causes their death.
  • The laxative properties of Pau D'Arco is good for constipation and stomach disease. It helps to increase the bowel movement and treat constipation. Along with this, it is a good tonic for the liver. The antioxidant compounds including, quercetin, flavonoids, and carnosol, in which quercetin, act as a scavenger for free radical and prevent aging. All of them also helps to eliminate the excess fats and toxin from the body.
  • Antiviral properties of Pau D'Arco helps to protect your body from viral infection, flu, and fever. The beta-lapochone content of Pau D'Arco prevents the virus infection by inhibiting the activities of enzymes in viruses which are responsible for the viral infection.
  • Pau D'Arco helps to fight against the overgrowth of candida due to the presence of active biochemical such as lapachol, xyloidone and other napthaquinones. Out of theses lapachol shows a significant effect against Candida albicans.


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