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Author Topic: Pau d`Arco - The healthy detox herb and it used to treat cancer...but is poison?  (Read 2821 times)

spaazkaz

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So I've been trying to figure out how to use this bark as a tea, when to use it, and what to use it for.

So far, the sum of my research says this to me; Pau d`Arco is a healthy herb that is used to treat many ailments, including cancer, and more simplistically boosts the immune system. There is very little information on its mechanism of action, and it encompasses a list of potential ailments treatable by this herb that seems a little all-over-the-place and unrealistic. I'm just wondering If anyone has any first hand experience/empirical data as to the healing power of this herb?

Can I use it when I'm getting a scratchy throat?


So I kinda went off on a little tangent there but All of the research I have done thus far says some really great things, but also goes on to say that it might be poisonous. Seems like quite an unreasonable trade-off and I'd like to know more.

Here are a couple sources I am referring to but literally everything I've read makes huge claims and follows them up with its toxicity at therapeutic doses. whaaat thhheee heeeck?
http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-647-pau%20d'arco.aspx?activeingredientid=647&activeingredientname=pau%20d%27arco
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lapacho
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akosi

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Hi Spaazkaz,

I find Pau d'Arco excels at reducing certain types of inflammatory pain (my back in specific) and does not have any real perceivable psychoactive effects, it is more a background type of herb that is just a very beneficial for just about everyone.  The anti-inflammatory effects of Pau d'Arco are because of COX-2 inhibition similar to anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin.  I believe Pau d'Arco also does not share many of the side effects of pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories (ulcurs, liver damage) either, however it may not be as effective as high dose aspirin or even salicin at specifically reducing inflammation.  Definitely works for my back however, which is something I have never used aspirin for (mainly headaches, which I now use Corydalis for).

The other reason to drink Pau d'Arco is because of its anti-bacterial/anti-fungal/anti-parasitical properties.  I find Cat's claw is a good herb to mix with Pau d'Arco for the dual purpose of enhancing the immune system (Cat's claw) and making the environment of my body less habitable for pathogens (Pau d'Arco).

Regarding the apparent toxicity of Pau d'Arco, I believe there is none except in extremely large doses, which may be perused by those seeking an anti-cancer effect.  While I have no experience with cancer, I believe this and other herbs work best at preventing cancer from ever developing through preventative medicine.  That is to say that yes, perhaps Pau d'Arco does have some direct effects at killing off cancerous cells, there is a clear link between the endocannabinoid system and the COX-2 inhibition properties of the herb, and of course there is the link between the endocannabinoid system & cancer, but that the true benefit from the herb comes from stimulating these systems on a daily basis, removing inflammation throughout the body (which in and of itself is strongly linked to tumor growth & other diseases), and by keeping the gut & intestines clear of pathogens.
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akosi

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Hey Spaaz, just wanted to follow up, I did some research at the links provided and didn't find much that leads me to believe Pau d'Arco is harmful at typical dosages.  The warning indicated states that Pau d'Arco is potent at preventing blood clots, and high doses of one of its active compounds, lapachol can increase bleeding as a side effect of this action.  Hydroquinone is mentioned as one constituent, however the amount in Pau d'Arco is most likely miniscule & is mentioned as a minor constituent at that.

Interesting information none the less, as I was not aware of any potential dangers of Pau d'Arco, and I often brew upwards of a half oz in tea at a time when I use it.  It feels extremely neutral and healing, even at these high doses & I have never experienced anything like nausea or diarrhea either.

Now these are merely some personal thoughts, but I do think when effective herbs begin to interfere with the profits of allopathic (modern) medicine that these herbs are cast in a negative light, often the dangers are merely strawmen, false arguments, meant to put the opposition on the defensive but lacking any real substance or merit.

To know for certain, we would need to find out what the hydroquinone content of Pau d'Arco bark is and see if there are any recorded cases in indigenous or modern use that would lead us to the conclusion that the herb itself is harmful.  So far I am not aware of any.
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Eris

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All medicine is potential poison, it is the dosage that makes it so.
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VelvetAwaBuki

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Certainly.

I used pau d'arco to treat a UTI - more than once, for two different people, one having it pretty severe-  and it worked in just two days.

I find dosing with powder is better than the tea, at least for that particular ailment.
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Eris

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Pau Darco is great stuff, the powder does work wonderfully!  I will sprinkle it on food, just pour it on my tongue and let it dissolve.  It tastes sweet!  Some people REALLY like the smell, and I wonder if these people "need" the herb more than others.  It also reduces my back pain significantly!
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plantmind

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Very intriguing stuff here. Ive heard some things about pau d'arco that seem almost too awesome to be true :) I've often wondered about these immune system enhancing herbs... is it possible to beef up the immune system too much and have bad results?
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akosi

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Pau d'Arco isn't really an immune system stimulant, it instead favors the creation of endocannabinoids and anti-inflammatory type compounds over pro-inflammatory cytokines, just like any other COX-2 inhibitor. This has varrying effects on the immune system but it is well regulated by the bodies own endocannabinoid and immune system.  Pau d'Arco also is more of an antifungal and antibacterial than it is an immune system stimulant as well.

An herb that can cause issues for those with compromised immune systems would be cat's claw, as this one does directly elevate the immune system to a strong degree.
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