This treatment modality is used in place of conventional therapies to treat cancer. Seek advice from a qualified physician before replacing standard cancer therapy with pau d’arco therapy.
What does pau d’arco therapy involve?
Pau d’arco is a tree found in the rainforests of Central and South America. Its common names include lapacho, taheebo and trumpet tree. The inner bark of pau d’arco is used by native tribes to treat cancer, lupus, infectious diseases, wounds, backache, toothache and sexually transmitted diseases. Pau d’arco is available in health food stores as capsules, tablets, alcohol solutions, dried bark and tea. However, pau d’arco must be boiled for at least eight minutes to release the active ingredients, making a tea from the bark ineffective unless properly prepared.
How is pau d’arco thought to treat cancer?
The medicinal value of pau d’arco is thought to reside in certain compounds, called naphthaquinones, in the inner bark. Proponents claim that naphthaquinones enhance the immune system, cleanse the body and stimulate the production of red blood cells, which can increase the amount of oxygen the blood can carry contributing to healing.
What has been proven about the benefit of pau d’arco?
Naphthaquinones, the active commons in pau d’arco bark, have shown potent antifungal properties in laboratory tests. These same compounds also have anticancer properties. Pau d’arco has killed lung cancer cells grown in the laboratory and reduced the rate of lung tumor growth in mice. Unfortunately, it must be taken in very toxic doses for any effects to occur. Because of the toxic effects, the National Cancer Institute did not seek approval to use pau d’arco as an anticancer drug and research has, for the most part, ceased. The American Cancer Society urges patients to avoid pau d’arco as an alternative treatment for cancer until more evidence is available.
What is the potential risk or harm of pau d’arco?
The whole bark has no known side effects. The unrefined bark is much safer than taking extracts of the active ingredients. High doses of naphthaquinones can cause uncontrolled bleeding, nausea and vomiting.
How much does pau d’arco cost?
Costs will vary depending on the health food store where it is purchased. Because health food products are not regulated for quality and purity, the amount of pau d’arco in different products varies. Some may only contain trace amounts of the active ingredients.
For additional information:
American Cancer Society
1599 Clifton Road, N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: (800) ACS-2345
Web site: www.cancer.org
Raintree Nutrition, Inc.
10609 Metric Blvd., Suite 101
Austin, Texas 78758
Telephone: (800) 780-5902
Web site: www.rain-tree.com
Note: Information about therapies is intended to help you make informed choices, not to endorse any particular therapy. The information is courtesy of "Integrating Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Cancer Patients," a handbook written as an independent study project by Heather Morein. For more information, see the full text of the handbook (PDF), including all references and appendices.