Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Medicinal Inner Bark of the Taheebo Tree

These are the beautiful, pink flowers of the Tabebuia heptaphylla tree, also known as Ipe Roxo, Taheebo, Lapacho, Ipes and Trumpet Brush, no doubt due to the trumpet shape of the lovely flower.

Image Source - Wikimedia Commons

The medicinal properties of the herb..actually a South American tree..are found in the inner bark. As a "folk remedy", it has been used for years for boils, colitis, diarrhea, dysentery, fever, wounds, cancer, ulcers and the list does go on. But is there any scientific basis for these claims?

Before continuing, I want to thank Carrot Ranch Communications for mentioning us in a recent post, which you can visit right here.

The Science Behind the Herb:

I will share with you what studies have shown, for the sake of time, I have withheld references, but have them at my fingertips if you'd like to contact me through posting a comment.

Analysis of the bark shows that it contains volatile oils, resins, anthraquinones and naphthoquinones. The most significant property is a naphthoquinone derivative known as lapachol. In 1968 lapachol was shown to have activity against the Walker 256 carsinosarcoma.

Other studies found that it also acted against other cancers, including Yoshida sarcoma and Murphy-Sturm lymphosarcoma. Effective levels given to humans lead to the discontinuance of human trials as side effects included moderate to severe nausea, vomiting, anemia and the tendency to bleed.

Being related to vitamin K, it can thin the blood. However, the head of the study claims that political and economic pressure lead to the discontinuance of studies more than side affects. Later studies in the 1970's showed evidence that lapachol was active against lymphocytic leukemia.

My personal interest in the herb is more related to it's antimicrobial activity, not taking it in the amounts needed for conditions like cancer. Some of the organisms shown to be affected by this activity include candida, staphylococcus, trichophyton, malaria, tuberculosis and dysentery. Lapochol and xyloidine, other actives from the pau d'arco, have shown significant anti-fungal activity. Studies have continued, and more positive findings have surely come in since the documentation I have been using for this post.

This is one of the very first herbs I started to use when I first discovered the health benefits of herbs.

Updated 4/12/16
  Please contact me with a comment if you would like fact sheets about the following, I moderate posts and will not publish the post if it contains a personal request.

Pau d'Arco Capsules
Paw d'Arco Extract
Taheebo (Pau d'Arco) Tea


  1. Wow! Medicinal and beautiful! The perfect combination.

    1. Yes, the flowers are beautiful and the inner bark is medicinal, thank you for your visit!

  2. Very interesting! When I worked in the natural food industry, I recall that people were interested in Taheebo Tea. Such beautiful blooms. Congratulations on your Liebster Award!

  3. Thank you Charli. I used to drink the tea, and like having the capsules on hand, I use them as an anti-viral, and not many things are...most are anti-bacterial.