PAU D' ARCO
(pau d' arco family)
This South American herb contains a number of quinone compounds, including the naphthoquinone lapachol. One of the best known herbs from the Amazonian rain forest, pau d' arco is a key ingredient in the tribal medicine chest, used as whole herb to treat infections and cancer. Lapachol has antibacterial activity, and a related compound fights off fungus and yeast. It is natural antibiotic for bacterial and viral infections, especially of the nose, mouth, and throat. The scientific study of pau d' arco is still very preliminary. There is a great deal of practical evidence, however, that pau d arco can be used with success to treat colds, flu, sore throat, and yeast infections, and there is laboratory evidence that the herb contains compounds that protect against tropical diseases, specifically malaria, schistosomiasis, and tropical fevers. The herb is added to ointments to treat psoriasis, and taken orally to relieve ulcers.
Like cat's claw, pau d' arco tincture should be taken in water with a little lemon juice so tannins can be absorbed through the colon. Although some "scientifically" oriented natural health experts recommend taking pau d arco in capsules for maximum absorption of the single chemical lapachone, most holistic herbal experts recommend taking a tincture in water and lemon juice for maximum absorption of the full range of healing compounds. This herb strengthens and balances the immune system and is used to treat ringworm, boils, yeast infections, peptic ulcers, and parasitic infections. The bark is used medicinally as a tea, and in capsules and tinctures.