Pau d'arco Tea
Pau d'arco tea is a natural botanical that is derived from the inner bark of the Tabebuia Avellanedae or Tabebuia Impetiginosa (Taheebo) tree grown in South America. The tea has been used for many centuries by the Indio tribes of South America, the ancient Incas and Aztecs were probably the first to be familiar with the teas wonderful properties. Pau d'arco tea is also known as taheebo and ipe roxo. The inner bark of the tree is similar to cork oak, harvested in such a way as to leave the tree in a state of complete health. The bark harvest is carried out once or twice per year and there are now many lapacho (pau d'arco) plantations that use this organic-ecological cultivation method corresponding with the traditional culture of the Indios. Only after the 40th year of life can the inner bark be harvested with optimal composition. The tree itself can live to be 700 years old.
Pau d'arco is an evergreen tree with rosy colored flowers belonging to the Bignonia family. Nearly 100 species of pau d'arco trees are known but only a few of these yield high quality material and it takes extremely skilled gatherers to tell the difference.The part of the tree used to make tea is the inner lining of the bark, called the phloem (pronounced floam). Pau d'arco is also known as Lapacho, and by tribal names such as Taheebo and Ipe Roxo.Most of the chemical analyses of lapacho have been performed on the heartwood of the tree, rather than on the phloem, or inner lining of the bark, which is used medicinally. It is unclear why this has occurred. One reason may be that the heartwood contains enough quantities of a couple of important constituents, mainly lapachol and tabebuin, to satisfy current research interests. Once the therapeutic activity of those constituents has been thoroughly investigated, perhaps researchers will turn their attention to the phloem. Until then, it is probably safe to assume that the living bark contains a similar set of active constituents as the heartwood plus some others that make it more effective and would account for the living bark's greater popularity as a folk medicine. Traditionally, as anyone who chooses to examine the herbal literature of the world can verify, it is the living bark of a plant, especially a tree or shrub, that is used medicinally--not the heartwood. The reason is simple: the nutrients and representative families of chemical substances used to sustain the life of the tree are found in greatest concentration in the cambium layer and phloem of the living bark.
The life processes of a mature tree are carried out in the thin corridor lying between the outer bark and the inner heartwood. Pull the bark off a tree and you will notice moist, very thin layers of tissue that seem to shred when picked at with the hands. This is the cambium layer. Its purpose is to create new tree tissues, such as phloem, through cell division. The newest, youngest phloem cells are just outside the cambium. As new phloem is added, older cells are crushed and pressed into the bark. Younger, newer cells added to the inside of the cambium layer are called xylem. Newer xylem is called sapwood; older xylem is crushed and pressed into the heart of the tree. It is therefore known as heartwood. The actively conducting tissues of a tree are the thin layers of fresh xylem and phloem on each side of the cambium. The outer bark and heartwood are, essentially, inactive materials that only serve to provide strength to the tree.
Lapachol is just one of a number of plant substances known as napthaquinones (N-factors) that occur in lapacho. Anthraquinones, or A-factors, comprise another important class of compounds. The N-factors are not common except in herbal tonics. Seldom do both N- and A-factors occur in the same species. Several of the remarkable properties of lapacho may be due to a probable synergy between A- and N- factors.
Quercitin, xloidone and other flavonoids are also present in lapacho; these undoubtedly contribute to the plant's effectiveness in the treatment of tumors and infections.
Pau d'arco tea books, Information to aid in further research
The books below are just a couple of those available from bookstores including those online such as Amazon and Chapters. They cover just about every aspect of Pau d'arco tea from its ancient beginnings to modern research.
Pau d'Arco: Immune Power from the Rain Forest
by Kenneth Jones (Author)
Once again, the South American rain forest yields up a healing treasure--the bark of the pau d'arco tree. The author describes its value in treating allergies and immune system disorders, and gives directions for preparation and dosage.
Healing Power of Pau D'Arco
by Walter Luebeck (Author)
Pau d'Arco is a traditional South American herb long revered for its extraordinary healing powers. This book explores its many and varied uses, its specific preparation techniques and some background on its long history.
Pau d'arco Tea, the Tree and Folklore
The native Indians of South American countries have used pau d'arco for thousands of years, there are indications that its use may actually ante-date the Incas. Before the advent of the Spanish, the Guarani and Tupi-Nambo tribes in particular used great quantities of pau d'arco tea.
The Guarani, Tupi and other tribes called the pau d'arco tree "Tajy," meaning "to have strength and vigor,"or simply, "The Divine Tree."
Most lapacho (pau d'arco) trees are found in Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay and are considered ozoniferous trees or trees which primarily grow in high ozone regions. Typically, air that has high ozone counts is fresh and free from pollution, exhaust, smoke, pesticides and other toxins.
The herbal component of this tree is found in its inner bark and is known by a variety of names. The origin of its name which means "bow stick" comes from the ancient practice of using its limbs to make archery bows.
Legends relate that the Vikings sold the tea and believed that it originated on the moon. The Czars of Russia reportedly drank pau d'arco and even Gandhi supposedly was a staunch believer in a daily cup, the South American Indians shared the tea with early Portuguese and Spanish settlers who further spread its use.
Costa Ricans take a decoction of pau d'arco tea for the treatments of colds, headaches, fever and constipation. In Panama the pau d'arco bark is used as a treatment for boils, dysentery and wounds. In Guatemala a pau d'arco tea decoction of the bark is regularly given to dogs as a protection against rabies. Mexicans make a tea with the bark and leaves to reduce temperatures in fevers. Columbians use the pau d'arco bark as either an infusion (steeped) or decoction (boiled) as a gargle for diseases of the throat and for fevers. The Bolivian Kallawaya believe that the tea purifies the blood. These are just a few of the many examples and varied folklore uses of pau d'arco tea.
Taking Pau d’arco in a decocted tea form is an excellent way to ensure all the active properties are released and ingested.
Throughout the width and breadth of the earth there exist plants with the amazing ability to cure and prevent the ills of mankind when used with wisdom. They grow and blossom and concentrate valuable healing nutrients within their tissues. It is the obligation of animals and people to discover these properties and utilize them in the manner intended by the governing and organizing principles of nature. The search does not begin nor end in a research laboratory. It begins with the experimentation of simple people living close to the earth, who invest nothing in their search save the desire to live healthy, prevent sickness and cure disease. It ends when the rest of the world accepts knowledge so gained, and incorporates it into their own health system