Pau D’arco

Botanical Name: Tabebuia spp. | Family: Bignoniaceae

Common name(s): Pau d’arco, Lapacho, Tabebuia


  • Evergreen tree | Grows in the warm parts of Central and South America (found in the forests of Brazil and Argentina) | 125 feet | pink to purple flowers
  • Over-harvesting has endangered this tree


This inner bark of mature trees is harvested and aged to maximize it’s effectiveness. Beware of companies trying to sell the outer bark or bark from immature trees.


Decoction: Simmer 1 ounce in a pint of boiling water. Take 1 cup 3-4x/day for acute conditions, and 1/2 cup 3-4x/day for chronic conditions. Can also apply this tea topically for skin conditions.

Tincture:  25-40 drops, 3+ x/day


Constituents: Quinones (lapachol &beta-lapachone), antioxidants (quercetin)

Actions: Alterative, antibacterial, antifungal, antidiabetic, antiviral, digestive, hypotensive, immune stimulent, bitter tonic, antitumor

Uses: Slowing and inhibiting growth of tumors, skin diseases; used alongside conventional cancer treatment

Combinations: Used in combination with other herbs like echinacea and goldenseal to treat internal infections, like candidiasis

Cautions: Large doses can be toxic. Do not give to children. Do not use when pregnant or nursing. May interfere with blood thinning drugs.


  • Cool energy, bitter flavor


  • Herbal Remedies, Andrew Chevallier
  • The Way of Herbs, Michael Tierra
  • University of Maryland Medical Center
  • photo credit:  this image is used on quite a few herbal pages. The only attribution I could find was a credit to Luis Neto on one of the pages. But when I searched for the image and his name I couldn’t find the source. So, I will remove this image if someone finds it to not be in the public domain for reuse. I downloaded the source from Nat Med Talk Wiki.

A beautiful tree. I hope to see one in person some day! This probably won’t become a go-to herb for me, though, because of the fact that it is becoming endangered and the abundance of cautions concerning its use.