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 cancer
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.
8. Krishnan P, Bastow KF. Novel mechanism of cellular DNA topoisomerase II inhibition by the pyranonaphthoquinone derivatives alpha-lapachone and beta-lapachone. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2001;47:187-198.
10. Neder K, Marton LJ, Liu LF. Reaction of beta-lapachone and related naphthoquinones with 2-mercaptoethanol: a biomimetic model of topoisomerase II poisoning by quinones. Cell Mol Biol. 1998;44:465-474.
14. Lima NM, dos Santos AF, Porfirio Z, et al. Toxicity of lapachol and isolapachol and their potassium salts against Biomphalaria glabrata , Schistosoma mansoni cercariae , Artemia salina and Tilapia nilotica . Acta Trop. 2002;83:43-47.
17. Miranda FG, Vilar JC, Alves IA, Cavalcanti SC, Antoniolli AR. Antinociceptive and antiedematogenic properties and acute toxicity of Tabebuia avellanedae Lor. ex Griseb. inner bark aqueous extract. BMC Pharmacol. 2001;1:6.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2007 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.