Benefits of Amazon Rainforest Herbs: Pau D'Arco (Tahari or Tahuari),

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About Pau D’arco (Tahari)

Pau d’arco (Tabebuia impetiginosa, Tabebuia avellanedae, Tabebuia palmeri, Tecoma impetiginosa), also known as tahari or tahuari, is an evergreen that grows in Central and South America and has red, pink or purple flowers. While other species of Tabebuia with yellow flowers are sometimes referred to as pau d’arco, experts caution that they do not typically have the same properties and are thus not as effective.

The bark of pau d’arco is made into a tincture, tea or tablets. Formulas with pau d’arco often include other herbs such as garlic or goldenseal. Some pau d’arco teas include other rainforest botanicals such as jatoba, yerba mate, or uña de gato. Pau d’arco can also be obtained in cream or ointment form for topical use.

Pau d’arco is traditionally used for diverse conditions including arthritis, pain, fever, dysentery, malaria, colds and flu, and rattlesnake bite.

Health Benefits of Pau D’Arco

The primary active ingredients in pau d’arco are quinones, mainly lapachol and beta-lapachone.These substances have shown anti-cancer and anti-metastatic activity. In fact, research in Brazil in the 1960s indicated that pau d’arco has incredible healing abilities for cancer patients. But subsequent research of the isolated lapachol compound indicated excessive side effects thus the research was halted.

Pau d’arco shows anti-bacterial ability making it effective against brucellosis, syphilis, staphylococcus, streptococcus, pneumonia and urinary tract infections. It is beneficial for parasites such as dysentery and malaria, stopping multiplication of malaria even when it is resistant to conventional medicines such as chloroquine and quinine. It may be effective against a bacterium that causes gastritis and peptic ulcers, and lapachol can reverse stomach irritation caused by aspriin.

As an anti-fungal and anti-yeast it is often used for systemic candida and for yeast infections. It promotes production of macrophages, which are created by the immune system and destroy bacteria and yeasts. The component lapachol is as effective as the prescription ketoconazole against yeast.

Pau d’arco is effective against viral infections such as flu, herpes, and polio. it also helps fight Chagas’ disease, causes by Trypansoma cruzi, which attacks muscle tissue and bone. It offers an alternative to the prescription nifurtimox, offering comparable benefits without the side effects.


Pau d’arco is not recommended for infants or children. It may also affect the blood’s clotting activity, so consult a physician if you are taking anti-coagulants.

Please read this disclaimer regarding the information contained within this article.

Sources & Resources

University of Maryland Medical Center

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Raintree Nutrition

Prescription for Herbal Healing, Phyllis A. Balch & Robert Rister

Immune Power from the Rain Forest, Kenneth Jones

The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs, Leslie Taylor ND

This post is part of the series: More Amazon Rainforest Herbs

Learn about the health benefits of a series of Amazon Rainforest Herbs, based on traditional use in indigenous communities and on research studies.

  1. Health Benefits of Amazon Rainforest Herbs: Muira Puama
  2. Benefits of Amazon Rainforest Herbs: Pau D’Arco (Tahari)