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Pau D'Arco - Pau D Arco Herb History and Uses

May 9, 2008
Though it has been used for centuries, its fame really began in the 1960's. Dr. Theodore Meyer learned about the use of pau d'arco (pronounced powdy arco) by natives of the tropical rain forest of the Amazon. They had used the inner bark of this hardwood tree as a medicine. Dr. Meyer followed their lead and claimed he successfully cured five advanced cases of leukemia with it. The herb suddenly rose to fame! A decade later however, the National Cancer Institute determined that the quantity needed of the cancer curing drug in pau d arco would have too many dangerous side effects. As a result, the "miracle drug" lost its place of prestige.

However, not everyone was quick to write it off as a bad dream. Some continued to use it to treat infections, arthritis, malaria, fevers, skin problems, cancers, and even complications from AIDS. Had the research been flawed? It was not flawed but incomplete, for two reasons.

First, the research isolated the chemical lapachol in pau d'arco that they felt cured the cancer. Since then Researchers have isolated over 20 active chemicals in pau d'arco. Some feel it is a combination of several or all these together that makes it effective. Second, it has been shown that the use of the whole herb does not create the side effects that extracted lapachol causes.

For what medical problems besides cancer has pau d'arco been used? Start with flu, lupus, diabetes, skin diseases, parasites, ulcers, and arthritis and one can see why it was found on many people's bragging lists. Add to this its effectiveness in treating strep, yeast infections, dysentery, malaria, and tuberculosis. In small doses, pau d'arco increases the activity of the immune system, and in large doses it reduces inflammation and other immune responses.

Pau d'arco is a bark, but it can also be purchased as a tincture or a capsule. One to two capsules or drops of tincture taken up to four times a day is a usual dosage. The amount, of course, depends on the patient and the condition.

If one wants to avoid pills or tinctures, pau d'arco can be ingested as a tea made from the bark. One tablespoon in three cups of water boiled for twenty minutes is best. Be sure to avoid using an aluminum pan for this. Once made, a half cup of the tea taken three or four times daily is adequate for most conditions. For acute problems, double this amount. It has a cool, bitter flavor.

How can someone be sure they are getting the genuine article? This is a real concern in light of the fact that some pau d'arco has been tested and found lacking many of the life-giving ingredients that made it famous. In general, that grown in Argentina is considered best. Also, some health cautions are in order. Lacking sufficient testing as to its effect on infants, pau d'arco should be shunned by pregnant and lactating mothers. Long term effects have included anemia and its blood thinning capabilities make it advisable to avoid before surgery. Other problems some have reported include dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps.
About the Author
Centuries of documented success with Pau D'Arco as a health giving herb cannot be mistaken. Though it comes with precautions, quality Pau D'Arco promises many benefits for a variety of health problems.
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