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Tabebuia impetiginosa is a towering deciduous tree native to tropical regions of the Americas. Pau d’arco is used for its inner bark, referred to as “taheebo” or “lapacho”. This tree bark has been employed for thousands of years in the traditional healing practices of native tribes throughout these regions, including the Incas who also made bows out of the tree. Pau d’arco bark can be tinctured, incorporated into topical skin care regimes, or decocted as pau d’arco tea.
One of the best known, but least understood, herbs from the Amazon Rainforest, pau d'arco is a key ingredient in the tribal medicine chest. The pau d'arco tree is a huge canopy tree that grows up to 125 feet high, with pink to violet colored flowers. Its history of use is thought to go back to the Incas, and several tribes have been using it to make bows for centuries. Several native names in fact mean "bow stick" or "bow stem".
Typical preparations include tea and liquid extract. Like cat's claw, pau d'arco tincture should be taken in water with a little lemon juice so tannins can be absorbed through the colon. Tabebuia impetiginosa belongs to the Bignoniaceae plant family.