Pau d’Arco: a natural remedy against fungi, parasites, virus and bacteria

Lapacho, Pau d’Arco or Tabebuia adenophilla can protect us from infection. It can defend us against the fungi, parasites, viruses and bacteria that can enter our body and have the capacity to cause illnesses.

In Japan it is used for its beneficial properties against leukaemia, breast cancer and prostate cancer.

Pau d’Arco (its English name) is a tree that grows in the Amazon rainforest and in other tropical areas of southern and central America.

Pau d’Arco is comprised of naphthoquinones (i.e. Lapachol). Pau d’Arco has the capacity to stimulate our defences and also has a broad spectrum of effect against bacteria, parasites and viruses.

Antimicrobial, antiparasitical, antifungal and antiviral

The naphtoquinones in Pau d’Arco are very powerful against fungi and bacteria – they have a fungicidal and bactericidal action.

Pau d’Arco is especially active against Candida albicans and Trichophyton mentagrophytes as well as the bacteria gram+S. aereus and gram-Salmonella.

Lapachol, the key active ingredient in Pau d’Arco, has been proven to be effective against a large number of disease-causing parasites.

One example of Lapacho or Pau d’Arco’s  anti-parasite activity is that it protects the skin against the infiltration of Schistomas mansonii larvae.

Hydroxy-naphtoquinones have been proven to be active against the flu virus and Lapachol has been proven to be active against the polio virus, Stomatitis, Epistein barr and the Herpes simplex virus because it interferes with the enzymatic mechanisms that allow it to replicate.

Pau d’Arco: Cell protector

Although this investigation has not yet reached its conclusion, Pau d’Arco is the most widely used plant for its cell-protective properties.


A methanolic extract found in the Lapacho bark has been shown to increase the phagocytic response in macrophages, when taken in small doses.

Minimal doses of naphtoquinones can achieve an immunostimulant effect – they boost the body’s defences.

Uses for Pau d’Arco
  • Fungal infections (Candida, yeast and other fungal infections). Its action against fungi is its most powerful action.
  • In Bacterial and viral infections of the upper respiratory tract (colds, flu…)
  • In STDs (syphilis, gonorrhoea etc.)
  • In psoriasis – by hampering keratinocyte formation, and in dermatitis.
  • In leukaemia and breast and prostate cancer, it is used in conjunction with chemotherapy. Pau d’Arco has an antineoplastic and cytotoxic action.
  • It is not recommended when there are haemorrhages or if anticoagulants such as warfarin are being taken.
  • If it is ingested in large qualities, it can cause gastric discomfort or nausea.

Foto: Carla Antonini

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