LapachoTabebuia impetiginosa, T. avellanedae
• Pau d'Arco, Taheebo
The inner bark of the lapacho tree plays a central role in the herbal medicine of several South American indigenous peoples. They use it to treat cancer as well as a great variety of infectious diseases.
There has been very little scientific investigation of lapacho as a whole herb. However, an enormous amount of scientific interest has focused on three constituents of lapacho: lapachol, lapachone, and isolapachone. The relevance of these findings to the use of lapacho itself remains unclear.
What Is Lapacho Used for Today?
Based on its traditional uses, lapacho is sometimes recommended by herbalists as a treatment for
. However, there is no reliable scientific evidence that the herb is effective.
Similarly, test tube studies have found that constituents of lapacho (especially lapachone, isolapachone, and lapachol) may be able to kill various microorganisms, including various fungi and the parasites that cause schistosomiasis, malaria, and sleeping sickness.
Similarly, these studies have been twisted to support claims that lapacho is useful for many infections, including
Lapacho and its constituents have also been investigated for potential use in the treatment of pain,
Lapacho contains many components that don't dissolve in water, so making tea from the herb is not the best idea. It's better to take capsulized powdered bark; a typical dose is 300 to 500 mg 3 times daily. The inner bark of the lapacho tree is said to be the most effective part of the plant.
When taken in normal dosages, lapacho has not been found to cause any obvious side effects.
However, full safety studies have not been performed. Furthermore, the anti-cancer actions of lapachone raise serious concerns about the safety of lapacho for pregnant women, because like cancer cells, cells of a developing fetus rapidly divide. Also, a study in animals found that lapachol caused fetal death.
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Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board<![CDATA]>
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