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Common Names: Pink Ipê or Pink Lapacho,Pau d’arco , lapacho, taheebo
Habitat : Tabebuia impetiginosa is a native Bignoniaceae tree of America, distributed from northern Mexico south to northern Argentina. It is a common tree in Argentina’s northeastern region, as well as in southeastern Bolivia. It is said to be indigenous to Trinidad and Tobago.
Tabebuia impetiginosa is a large deciduous tree, with trunks sometimes reaching 8 dm width and 30 m height. Usually a third of that height is trunk, and two thirds are its longer branches. It has a large, globous, but often sparse canopy. The tree has a slow growth rate. Leaves are opposite and petiolate, 2 to 3 inches long, elliptic and lanceolate, with lightly serrated margins and pinnate venation. The leaves are palmately compound with usually 5 leaflets.
Its bark is brownish grey, tough and hard to peel. The wood is of a pleasant yellowish colour, barely knotted and very tough and heavy (0,935 kg/dm³). It’s rich in tannins and therefore very resistant to weather and sun. It is not very useful for furniture since it is so hard to work by hand. It can be found as beams or fulfilling other structural uses where needed outdoors.
Pink Lapacho flowers between July and September, before the new leaves appear. In India, the flowering season is December to January, after the leaves are shed. The flower is large, tubular shaped, its corolla is often pink or magenta, though exceptionally seen white, about 2 inches long. There are 4 stamens and a staminode. The fruit consists of a narrow dehiscent capsule containing several winged seeds.
The flowers are easily accessible to pollinators. Some hummingbirds – e.g. Black Jacobin (Florisuga fusca) and Black-throated Mango (Anthracothorax nigricollis) – seem to prefer them over the flowers of other Tabebuia species, while for others like the Stripe-breasted Starthroat (Heliomaster squamosus) it may even be a mainstay food source
Medicinal Uses: * Candida/yeast * Liver
Properties: * Antifungal * AntiViral * Hepatic * Tonic
Parts Used: Inner bark
Constituents: lapachol, lapachone, and isolapachone, tannins
The Mayans and Incas of South America regarded Tabebuia impetiginosa as an important healing herb, but the scientific study is still very preliminary; the bottom line is that pau d’arco seems to be more promising for fungal infections than malignant cancers.1 There is a great deal of practical evidence, however, that Tabebuia impetiginosa can be used with success to treat colds, flu, sore throat, and yeast infections. Laboratory evidence suggests that the herb contains compounds that protect against tropical diseases, specifically malaria, schistosomiasis, and tropical fevers. The herb is added to ointments to treat psoriasis, and taken orally to relieve ulcers.
The inner bark of Tabebuia impetiginosa is used in traditional medicine. It is dried, shredded, and then boiled, making a bitter brownish-colored tea known as Lapacho or Taheebo. The unpleasant taste of the extract is lessened when taken in pill form, or as tinctures. Lapacho bark is typically used during flu and cold season and for easing smoker’s cough. It apparently works by promoting the lungs to expectorate and free deeply embedded mucus and contaminates during the first three to ten days of treatment.
In the past decades it has been used by herbalists as a general tonic, immunostimulant, and adaptogen. It is used in herbal medicine for intestinal candidiasis.
However, the main active compound lapachol has since turned out to be toxic enough to kill fetuses in pregnant rats and reduce the weight of the seminal vesicle in male rats in doses of 100 mg/kg of body weight. Still, lapachol has strong antibiotic and disinfectant properties, and may be better suited for topical applications. Lapachol induces genetic damage, specifically clastogenic effects, in rats. Beta-lapachone has a direct cytotoxic effect and the loss of telomerase activity in leukemia cells in vitro.
One study has shown that recurrence of anal condylomata after surgical treatment is reduced by an admixture of the plants Echinacea, Uncaria, Tabebuja (sic), papaya, grapefruit and Andrographis.
The ethnomedical use of Lapacho and other Tabebuia teas is usually short-term, to get rid of acute ailments, and not as a general tonic. Usefulness as a short-term antimicrobial and disinfecting expectorant, e.g. against PCP in AIDS patients, is yet to be scientifically studied. Tabebuia impetiginosa inner bark seems to have anti-Helicobacter pylori activity. and has some effects on other human intestinal bacteria
It is also used as a honey plant, and widely planted as ornamental tree in landscaping gardens, public squares and boulevards due to its impressive and colorful appearance as it flowers. Well-known and popular, it is the national tree of Paraguay. It is also planted as a street tree in cities of India, like in Bangalore.
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider