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Herbal Medicine for Gut Healing and Weight Loss Programs

The Healing Powers of the Sacred Pau D’Arco Tree

Way back before the Incas in the 13th century, the native Americans in South America used the inner bark of the Pau D’Arco tree for the treatment of various gut complaints. They called this herb Taheebo or Lapacho. Of course in those days the ancient healers were not aware of the existence of bacterial infections let alone those of Candida or yeast infections, but this is what they were treating.

The Pau D’Arco tree grows up to 125 feet tall and has delicate pink to purple flowers resembling a hydrangea. But it is the inner bark that has been used by naturopaths and ancient healers to extract the active compounds that have various antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Today we use this amazing herb to treat bacterial infections of the gut and especially those infections caused by Candida, yeast overgrowth, and thrush.

Originally the herb was known as Pau D’Arco Tabebuia but recently the species’ name has been refined to the more active and medicinal name Hydroanthroanthus app.

For Treating Gut Infections, Candida, Yeast, Thrush

Research into the effectiveness of this herb has shown strong in vitro activity against a large variety of infectious pathogens These include bacteria (Gram positive and gram negative), aspergillus, Staphylococcus, streptococcus, Helicobacter pylori, Brucella, Herpes Virus types1 and 2 , influenza, poliovirus, and stomatitis virus. The major chemical compound in this herb has been found to inhibit the growth of methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). (1,2)

Inflammation is a key symptom of any gut condition causing swelling and pain. This inflammation also spreads to the joints causing swelling, pain and stiffness in the joints. Various studies have found that Pau D’ Arco is very effective in inhibiting the general inflammatory response. This is why it is one of the best herbs used for gut detoxification and gut healing programs.

For Helping with Weight Loss Programs

Another action of this amazing herb is that it can inhibit pancreatic lipase, the enzyme that your body uses to digest and absorb fat from the diet. If this enzyme is blocked, the end result would be a reduction of fat digestion and this can result in fewer calories absorbed from fats. The body does need fats for their many nutritional benefits. Another good benefit is that it can be used in the short-term to reduce lauric acid intake in the diet in cases where weight loss is the desired effect. Therefore from a naturopathic angle, I used this herb during the first stage of most weight loss programs. For people desiring to lose weight, I find that they first need a gut healing program so as to reduce their cravings for sugars, sweets and carbohydrates. A high yeast growth in the gut can often cause sugar cravings.

How much to take?

Because Pau D’Arco can block the absorption of fat in the diet one of the side-effects of overdosing on this herb would be an increase in fatty stools, oily leakage onto the underwear and loose bowels. Traditionally the bark was simmered in water for 15 minutes to make a tea that was drunk three times in the day. The tea was made from two or 3 teaspoons of the bark steeped in water for 15 minutes.

However there is not always enough of the beneficial compounds in a teaspoon of dried herb, and therefore the best source of this medicine is from a tincture where the bark has been dissolved in alcohol to draw out its potent chemical compounds. A good liquid tincture extracted from the correct species is strong enough to only require 1 to 2 mls of the liquid tincture three times a day. Modern day processing can also provide this herb in capsule form.

Are there any side-effects?

As with any herbal medicine, long-term consumption is not recommended and neither should it be taken if pregnant for breastfeeding. Some of the side-effects noted are nausea, vomiting, blood thinning, anaemia, reproductive damage, and urine discolouration. It is contraindicated to be given to people who are on blood thinners, or if pregnant or breastfeeding.

One important warning when buying the herb

Only a specific species of this herb is medicinal. There are some Pau D’ Arco trees that don’t contain much of the medicinal chemicals. These trees are used for their wood, and some non-reputable companies will use the sawdust from the timber mills to make copies of the medicinal compounds. Therefore be sure to buy your herbs from a registered medicinal herbal company to ensure that you are not consuming powdered sawdust!

If you are interested in a naturopathic consultation to discuss whether this herb would be beneficial for you, either for gut healing, or for weight loss programs, please click on the Book Now Button on the top right hand corner of the webpage.

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