Pau'd arco, also known as Taheebo or Lapacho, is derived from the inner bark of the Taheebo tree found in South America. The tree can live up to 700 years, and is only "ripe" for extraction after 40 years. The harvesting of Pau'd arco is done in a way that does not harm the tree.
Most often this herb is taken as a tea. It is best to buy the tea in loose form - it looks like bits of bark - as many companies, unfortunately, do not use a pure form, or use other fillers in capsules and tea bags.
Pau'd arco is known for it's potent antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. This makes it perfect for strengthening the immune system and detoxifying the system in general. It improves digestion, reduces fevers and cleanses the blood. It is also a rich source of iron and helps the body to replenish certain vital elements. Do your own research (like always) into these and other uses for Pau'd arco for more detailed information. My primary goals are for pain releif, liver cleansing and treatment of Candida (which is supposed to be very effective in treating Endometriosis).
One of the most popular uses for Pau'arco is in the treatment of Candida Albicans (the yeast that is responsible for woman's discomfort, among a host of other symptoms). Also used for the treatment of cancer (not only stopping the growth but reducing it as well, and/or simply for pain management), diabetes, immune deficiency disorders, cardiovascular problems, parasites, liver diseases and is excellent for pain management. It calms inflammation and pain related to the bowl, ulcers, arthritis and even the common cold. Research is being done on it's anti-malarial action. Because of it's great ability to detox, I would not recommend this for the pregnant or nursing - your baby will end up getting a lot of what you are cleaning out.
Pau d' arco is said to have no contraindications (does not interfere with other medications/ herbs - good news for cancer patients) and is non-toxic. Even so, it may increase the effectiveness of certain drugs (this may be good or bad), especially blood-thinning drugs. It's good to get advice from a Dr. and/or naturopath when taking meds. Apparently combining Pau'd arco with Yarbamate is supposed to increase it's effectiveness (I have not tried this - yet).
At times, as with any cleanse, symptoms may become worse, or new ones appear (headaches are a common one) before they get better. This is referred to as a "healing crisis" or "die off" reaction. This is the herb actually working and causing the yeast, toxins, etc. to be expelled - first into your system, and then eliminated through natural means (including the skin). Thus is it important to have a functioning bowel (at least 2-3 movements a day - 1 is not regular enough), so the toxins don't recirculate. If the "die off" is too much, than reduce the dosage to a tolerable amount and then gradually work back up again. Also, make sure you are drinking enough water. This is a common mistake that often cause a lot of headaches and unnecessary difficulties with cleansing. Water assists the body in flushing out all that junk.
Pau'd arco can also be used topically for inflammatory skin problems such as hemorrhoids, eczema and as an antiseptic for wounds.
The recipe that I use for the tea is 3 tablespoons Pau'd arco to 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil with the lid on, then simmer on low for 25 min. For those of you against boiled tea - you need the heat to draw out all that good stuff into the water.
The next time I make tea I reuse the above 3 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon extra of fresh Pau'd arco. Continue as the first batch.
Strain and I like to drink it cool (room temp). Start out with 2 cups per day, then you can increase to 4 cups a day. Take for 6 weeks, then give your body a 4 week break.