Rumoured to have been prescribed by the Incas to treat serious ailment, the herb pau d'arco has been investigated as a remedy for infectious diseases and cancer. Although its anticancer properties have not yet been confirmed, it may indeed combat a variety of infections.
What it is
Pau d'arco is obtained from the inner bark of a tree - Tabebuia impetiginosa - indigenous to the rain forests of South America. Native tribes have taken advantage of its healing power for centuries. Pau d'arco is also known as lapacho, taheebo or ipe roxo. In the UK, however, it is always sold as pau d'arco.
The therapeutic ingredients in pau d'arco include a host of potent plant chemicals called naphthoquinones. Of these, lapachol has been the most intensely studied.