- Anthraquinones, beta-lap, beta-lapachone, Bignonia heptaphylla, Bignoniaceae (family), furanonaphthoquinones, ipe roxo, lapacho (Spanish), lapacho amarillo (Spanish), lapacho colorado (Spanish), lapacho morado (Spanish), lapacho tree, lapachol, naphtho[2,3-b]furan-4,9-dione (compound 1), naphthoquinones, pau de arco, pink ipÃª, purple lapacho, quercitin, red lapacho, Tabebuia, Tabebuia alba, Tabebuia aurea, Tabebuia avellanedae, Tabebuia avellanedae Lorentz ex Griseb., Tabebuia heptaphylla, Tabebuia impetiginosa, Tabebuia impetiginosa (MART. ex DC) Standley, Tabebuia ipe, Tabebuia lapacho, Tabebuia palmeri, Tabebuia rosea, Tabebuia serratifolia, taheebo, taheebo tea, Tecoma curialis, tecoma ipe, trumpet bush, yellow lapacho.
- Tabebuia, commonly called taheebo or pau d’arco, is a genus of tropical plants native to the rainforests of Central and Southern America. Several Tabebuia species are currently threatened, vulnerable, or endangered due to logging and expanding agriculture.
- The indigenous peoples of the South American rainforest have used pau d’arco medicinally for hundreds of years. The traditional use of pau d’arco may predate the Incan civilization.
- Pau d’arco has traditionally been used as a folk medicine to treat bacterial infections, cancer, blood coagulation, inflammatory diseases, and peptic ulcers. The bark of Brazilian Tabebuia is most commonly used for yeast infections, viral infections (flu), immune problems, and cancer.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
*Key to grades:
The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Adults (18 years and older)
- There is no proven safe or effective dose for pau d’arco. A 1,000-milligram capsule three times daily has been recommended. Some herbal experts advocate taking 1-4 grams of pau d’arco daily in capsules or tablets in 2-3 divided doses. One cup of pau d’arco tea (one teaspoon of pau d’arco loose dried bark boiled in one cup of water for 5-15 minutes) 2-8 times daily has also been recommended. Other experts suggest using one tablespoon of the bark per cup (eight ounces) of water and boiling for 20 minutes. Various dosages of pau d’arco tincture (extract prepared from the herb and alcohol, or both alcohol and water) have been used: 20-30 drops, 2-3 times daily; 1-2 teaspoons three times daily; or 0.5-1 milliliters three times daily or one milliliter of a 1:5 tincture 2-3 times daily. Three daily 1-3 milliliter doses of a glycerin based extract have also been recommended. Pau d’arco has been used topically for yeast infections. Traditional herbal practitioners have recommended the use of a tampon soaked in pau d’arco tea, in addition to taking the herb internally for yeast infections.
Children (under 18 years old)
- There is no proven safe or effective dose for pau d’arco in children.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
- Avoid with known allergy/hypersensitivity to pau d’arco, its constituents, or members of the Bignoniaceae family.
Side Effects and Warnings
- Diarrhea, vomiting, stomachache, discolored urine, and dizziness have been reported.
- Avoid in pregnant or nursing women and in the sexual partners of women trying to become pregnant.
- Avoid in patients with blood disorders, those who are having surgery, or those who are taking blood thinners.
- Use cautiously in patients taking anticancer drugs.
- Use cautiously in patients taking drugs that may suppress the immune system.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
- Pau d’arco may cause harm to fetuses. Use is not recommended in pregnant and breastfeeding women.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Interactions with Drugs
- Pau d’arco may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants (“blood thinners”) such as warfarin (CoumadinÂ®) or heparin, anti-platelet drugs such as clopidogrel (PlavixÂ®), and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen (MotrinÂ®, AdvilÂ®) or naproxen (NaprosynÂ®, AleveÂ®).
- Pau d’arco may suppress the immune system. Use cautiously with agents that may also suppress the immune system.
- Pau d’arco may have anticancer activity. Use cautiously with agents that may also have anticancer activity.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
- Pau d’arco may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs or supplements that increase the risk of bleeding.
- Pau d’arco may suppress the immune system. Use cautiously with herbs or supplements that may also suppress the immune system.
- Pau d’arco may have anticancer activity. Use cautiously with herbs or supplements that may also have anticancer activity.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
- This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration ().
- Bohler, T, Nolting, J, Gurragchaa, P, et al. Tabebuia avellanedae extracts inhibit IL-2-independent T-lymphocyte activation and proliferation. Transpl Immunol 2008;18(4):319-323.
- Byeon, SE, Chung, JY, Lee, YG, et al. In vitro and in vivo anti-inflammatory effects of taheebo, a water extract from the inner bark of Tabebuia avellanedae. J Ethnopharmacol 9-2-2008;119(1):145-152.
- de Cassia da Silveira E Sa and de Oliveira, Guerra M. Reproductive toxicity of lapachol in adult male Wistar rats submitted to short-term treatment. Phytother Res 2007;21(7):658-662.
- Felicio, AC, Chang, CV, Brandao, MA, et al. Fetal growth in rats treated with lapachol. Contraception 2002;66(4):289-293.
- Kim, SO, Kwon, JI, Jeong, YK, et al. Induction of Egr-1 is associated with anti-metastatic and anti-invasive ability of beta-lapachone in human hepatocarcinoma cells. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 2007;71(9):2169-2176.
- Kung, HN, Yang, MJ, Chang, CF, et al. In vitro and in vivo wound healing-promoting activities of beta-lapachone. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol 2008;295(4):C931-C943.
- Lee, JI, Choi, DY, Chung, HS, et al. beta-lapachone induces growth inhibition and apoptosis in bladder cancer cells by modulation of Bcl-2 family and activation of caspases. Exp Oncol 2006;28(1):30-35.
- Queiroz, ML, Valadares, MC, Torello, CO, et al. Comparative studies of the effects of Tabebuia avellanedae bark extract and beta-lapachone on the hematopoietic response of tumour-bearing mice. J Ethnopharmacol 5-8-2008;117(2):228-235.
- Twardowschy, A, Freitas, CS, Baggio, CH, et al. Antiulcerogenic activity of bark extract of Tabebuia avellanedae, Lorentz ex Griseb. J Ethnopharmacol 8-13-2008;118(3):455-459.
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to . Selected references are listed below.