Pau d’arco is imbibed by many for various supposed health benefits. While I can’t give you professional advice and state what this herbal tea will do for your health, I can mention some of the claims that are offered by its proponents. Let’s begin with a little background.
Pau d’arco is the name given to a tea that comes from a particular tree. The portion of this plant that is actually used is its inner bark. While the tree can be found in various areas, it is commonly located in South America.
Aside from tea, this herbal medicine can also be obtained in forms like tincture and capsules. However, when brewing, a bag is typically brewed in roughly an 8 oz cup of water. If you have loose bark, rather than that which comes in a bag, then you may need to read its directions to see how much is used per cup of tea. It is recommended to allow the tea to slowly boil for half an hour. Sweeteners can be added if you desire.
Use as an antifungal
Now, as for the health claims related to Pau d’Arco, one is as an antifungal. In particular, it is said to be helpful in fighting infections of Candida. These are often simply called yeast infections. They are sometimes located in the person’s mouth, but can also appear in other locations, with female genitals being a common area. Although Candida, a fungus, is normally found in the body, in some situations its population can grow too much, leading to an infection.
It is not known exactly why pau d’arco has such antifungal properties. What is thought at the time is that multiple compounds in it are actually involved.
Use as an antiviral
Additionally, this herb is purported to be useful in treating some viral infections. In some instances, it is thought to slow the viruses, and in others it might actually kill them. Of course, you shouldn’t go out and start using this as a method of treatment without consulting with a doctor.
The herpesvirus is one that is thought to be affected by pau d’arco. Vesicular stomatitis virus is another one – note that this is sometimes shortened to VSV. Epstein-Barr virus, or EBV, is another one that is supposed to be affected by this herbal tea. EBV is commonly known as being the medical cause behind mononucleosis.
Information to think about
What should you consider when taking pau d’arco? Be sure to talk with your doctor first, as he can provide professional information, and also has information on your medical history and may know whether or not this herb is contraindicated for you. For instance, people who are taking a medication that thins their blood should not use this, as it also acts as a blood-thinner.
Also, this tea is not meant for long-term use. A few cups a day (up to 4 at the standard strength) can be taken for a month or a bit more than that (maximum of 6 weeks). Be sure not to drink more than is recommended, which may be a lower amount based on what your physician says, nor to keep using it for longer than you are told to do so.
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