The Lapacho tree has been studied for many years by cultures around the globe. It is an evergreen tree from South America that produces a type of bark that has been claimed to cure or prevent cancer, along with other illnesses. The scientific name is Tabebuia avellanedae, and the tea that is made from this bark is often referred to as "Pau d'arco," though many alternative names have been used.
The University of Maryland found that this specific tea, or bark extract, has anticancer properties, as well as anti-inflammatory, antiparasitic, antifungal and antimicrobial properties. There has not been any well-known testing on humans, but studies have already proven that this particular bark provides a stimulation of immune system cells known as macrophages. Additionally, this bark has been reported to kill lung cancer cells and liver cancer cells that were grown and analyzed in a test-tube study.
The tea, often called Taheebo tea, is hard to mix with water, requiring up to 20 minutes of varying heat and boiling measures, but many people have reported this particular tea to have cured them of their health ailments. One website reports a testimonial that claims this tea to have cured a man diagnosed with lymphoma, and who had only a matter of months to live. In 2009, Anna Hodgekiss with the Daily Mail reported a woman who had been diagnosed with Crohn's disease and who took it upon herself to test many different barks for a cure. She did not specify the particular bark she found successful, but she has already sold it to a pharmaceutical company, going to show that bark is a form of treatment in which people can place their trust.
Distributors of this bark reported that a client cured his dog of a skin condition with the tea. The owner himself claims this tea cured colon cancer in his own father. Although this tree is now endangered, the main producers of the tea instructs people to use their signature method when stripping the bark from the tree so that it does not kill the species but leaves it able to produce more bark for future harvests.
Downside of things
One of the drawbacks of this tea is reported by the American Cancer Society (ACS). High levels of the bark extract have the potential to be poisonous. One study, however, conducted in the 70s by the National Cancer Institute, found no toxic effects on liver or kidney tissue. The ACS also claims that many people are selling derivatives and false variations of the bark. There was a study in Canada that tested 12 products claiming to be Pau d'arco and found only one of these products to have contained lapachol, which is the pure ingredient of Pau d'arco.
The University of Maryland cautions consumers that this bark in heavy doses can cause unmanageable bleeding, while some proponents actually claim this is a blood builder. It is hard to tell how beneficial this herb exactly is, but it might prove more helpful than harsher Western medical treatments.
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About the author:
Lindsey Alexander, contributor of health news and information