Today there are teas to treat all kinds of ailments, from insomnia to stress. Pau d’arco tea is another type of tea that claims to have many health benefits. Specifically, people use pau d’arco tea to reduce inflammation, heal injuries, and assist in weight loss.

The name pau d’arco refers to the supplement as well as the trees from which it’s derived. People also call it taheebo or lapacho.

What Is Pau D’arco Tea?

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Pau d’arco tea comes from the inner bark of different species of Tabebuia trees found throughout the rainforests of Central and South America. They grow as tall as 125 feet and have pink-purple flowers that bloom in advance of new leaves emerging.

The peoples of these rainforests have long used Tabebuia trees for many purposes. The bark is quite dense and resistant to rotting, so local tribes find it to be an excellent wood for making bow and arrows. The name “pau d’arco” is Portuguese for “bow tree.”

They’ve also discovered many uses for stomach, skin, and inflammatory issues from the inner bark of these trees.

A little nutritional background on pau d’arco tea


Pau d’arco contains several compounds, such as quinoids, benzenoids, and flavonoids, that have shown biological activity against harmful organisms.

The stem of the tree also contains a significant amount of lapachol. While lapachol has antioxidant and antimicrobial effects, the United States Department of Agriculture found lapachol to be toxic. It has potentially dangerous side effects if consumed in large doses.

However, a 2005 study in Oncology Reports found that lapachol has a lot of potential in fighting metastasis. Metastasis is the spread of cancer (or another disease) from one organ of the body to another. Lapachol is being tested as a potential drug for cancer treatment.

Pau d’arco also contains high levels of selenium, a vital mineral for the body. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that removes free radicals that can damage cells or trigger a disease.

Selenium has many benefits, such as fighting the aging process, boosting your immunity, improving blood flow, decreasing your risk for heart disease, and regulating your thyroid. Some research shows that selenium could also be effective in the fight against cancer as well as boosting fertility.

Will pau d’arco tea keep me up at night?


The good news is that pau d’arco tea is free of caffeine. Like chamomile, tea blends that include pau d’arco will not keep you up at night. To be sure, check the package.

If you blend pau d’arco bark or powder into your tea of choice, you can choose if you have a boost of caffeine or not.

Why should I be drinking pau d’arco tea?


Herbal remedies have a long tradition of being used for their medicinal qualities. People have been using pau d’arco tea for centuries to treat a multitude of symptoms and ailments. Often people prefer using natural remedies over western pharmaceuticals.

There is some research out there about pau d’arco bark and its various compounds being used for treatments for a range of medical issues. However, we cannot say with any certainty that these claims are valid, nor that drinking pau d’arco tea is beneficial or safe for everyone. Always check with your doctor before adding any supplements, including pau d’arco, to your diet.

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How to Make Pau D’arco Tea

Brewing pau d’arco tea is simple. You can buy a box of tea sachets and let one steep in your cup of hot water for a few minutes.

You can also brew your own pau d’arco tea using a diffuser. Add 2 teaspoons of Pau D’arco bark into four cups of boiling water. Let it steep in the boiling water for 20 minutes. Then remove from heat and allow the bark to cool for an hour.

After you’ve removed the diffuser, you can drink your pau d’arco tea in small doses throughout the day. Some have also suggested that you can use the tea externally or as a vaginal wash.

Suggested doses


Because of the potential toxic properties of pau d’arco, you shouldn’t consume large quantities. The suggested daily dose is only 1 to 4 grams per day, and those grams should be divided two or three times per day.

If you opt for steeping the bark, then you can consume small quantities of pau d’arco tea two to eight times throughout the day.

However, liquid extracts are a better choice. Extracts are made by dissolving the bark slowly in alcohol, drawing out more of its potent compounds. Manufacturers recommend 1 to 2 milliliters of the extract three times per day.

Similarly, you can buy 500-milligram capsules of pau d’arco. The suggested dose is two to four capsules taken once or twice daily.

You also shouldn’t consume pau d’arco for long periods of time. Use no more than seven days in a row.

Women who are breastfeeding shouldn’t use any products containing pau d’arco. There is not enough information available regarding the safe consumption or its potential effects on your unborn child.

Are there any side effects when drinking pau d’arco tea?


A few of the known side effects of pau d’arco include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and dizziness. More seriously, pau d’arco can cause internal bleeding if consumed in high doses.

Pau d’arco also has anti-coagulant effects, though this is reduced by using whole bark instead of powder. This is particularly an issue for people with bleeding disorders and may cause bruising. If you have an operation scheduled, discontinue use at least two weeks before.

Keep track of your doses and note any symptoms you may experience. Speak to your doctor if you experience any prolonged symptoms.

There may be other side effects than those listed above. Be sure to check with your health care provider for additional information about side effects and doses.

Time to Get Brewing!

Most of the tests that have been done to date are in test tubes or on animals. Though the results are promising, concrete studies have yet to be performed on humans.

If you are attracted to the beneficial properties of this supplement, give it a try. But take great caution as you do so.

How do you plan to use pau d’arco tea as a supplement? Tell us more in the comments below.

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