Taheebo (Pau D'Arco/Lapacho)

An ancient remedy for today's ailments

By Ingri Cassel

Taheebo is by far one of the most valuable medicinal herbs to have in your herbal apothecary and should be utilized regularly. This article will detail many of the varied applications of taheebo tea in therapeutic regimens from both my personal experience and the experiences of others.

Taheebo, or Pau d'Arco, is the common name for the inner bark of the Red Lapacho tree. This hardy, deciduous tree grows high in the Andes of the South American rainforest. A Red Lapacho tree can reach heights of more than 90 feet while withstanding severe winds and weather due to its deep roots. In the rainforest many trees surrounding the Red Lapacho are covered with spores leading to a fungal disease that eventually kills them. These spores are never found on Red Lapacho trees. This anti-fungal property carries over into the use of taheebo for candidiasis, pyorrhea, athlete's foot, herpes and a variety of fungal and viral infections. Many people including myself have used taheebo along with black walnut in the successful treatment of these conditions.

The Red Lapacho's purple-colored inner bark was one of the main medicines used by the Incas and has been used for over 1,000 years by the Callawaya tribe, descendants of the Incas. These native tribes use taheebo externally as a poultice or decoction (concentrated tea) for treating a variety of skin diseases including eczema, psoriasis, fungal infections and skin cancers. In fact, it is taheebo's anti-cancer properties that has lead to its popularity in the treatment leukemia, Hodgkin's disease and a wide variety of cancers and tumors. The following is excerpted from an article in a January 1980 edition of The Spotlight, a former watchdog weekly out of Washington, D.C.

Young Girl Cured

The story of the discovery of the cancer-curing properties of the tropical bark begins about 20 years ago, when a Sao Paulo family had a homecoming party after a trip to Rio de Janeiro. During the dinner they told the story of a young relative of theirs -- a girl who was stricken with cancer.

The medical establishment had given up on the girl and told her parents that she did not have long to live. But a great aunt contacted an Indian tribal doctor who said that cancer could be cured with the brew made from the bark of a certain tree. The medicine man gave the woman a little bag of that bark.

The girl and her parents at first disdained the medicine man's concoction. But then the girl had a strange dream. She saw a friar who told her: “Drink tea brewed with the bark the Indian gave you, and you will get well.”

At first she paid no attention to the dream, but as her pain increased, the dream repeated itself.

Finally, she decided to try the tea.

Her pain vanished. Encouraged by the results, she continued to take the medicine every morning. Within a month, she was well, and her regular doctor told her parents that no trace of her cancer could be found. The hosts had brought back a bag of the bark as a souvenir.

A Maverick Medico

One of the guests at the party was a medical doctor from the nearby town of Santo Andre, who showed great interest in the bark and begged a sample.

Dr. Orlando dei Santi -- the guest -- left the party early and went directly to the Municipal Hospital of Santo Andre, another suburb of Sao Paulo, where he was a resident physician. There, his cancer-stricken brother lay, near death. The cancer victim had just had a second operation, and his condition had been declared “inoperable and terminal.” He was beyond Establishment treatment.

In the course of his medical studies, dei Santi had been taught the need to study methodically any empirical remedy, such as those used by Indian tribes, before even thinking of using it. He had learned that the medical researcher must test the extracts in the laboratory on animals, and finally on human volunteers. One must patent the drug and get a respected pharmaceutical manufacturer to produce the resulting pills, extracts, etc.

Only then -- once the medicine is on the market -- could one consider using it on a patient. Otherwise, a doctor would be defenseless against charges of malpractice and face the danger of losing his medical license. That, of course, is the proper procedure, approved by the medical authorities in Brazil and throughout the rest of the civilized world.

Fortunately for the dying cancer victim in the Santo Andre Municipal Hospital, his brother was one doctor who decided to not adhere to the orthodox procedures in this case. Instead, he took the bark, boiled it in white wine, mixed the still hot brew with orange juice and let his brother drink the concoction on an empty stomach. As if by a miracle, the patient's pain disappeared, and he was able to sleep soundly. After a month of uninterrupted treatment with the brew, he was discharged from the hospital. A thorough examination had found no trace of cancer remaining.

Cure Caught On

After this startling development, the physicians at the Municipal Hospital of Santo Andre decided to break the rules for the benefit of other cancer patients, beginning with those of the “terminal” list. This happened near the end of 1960. Since then, the physicians at the small provincial town hospital have noticed that the pain suffered by patients with leukemia or other cancers disappeared within hours after they received the brew made from the inner bark of pau d'arco roxo. They also found that, within 30 days of treatment with this medicine, most patients no longer showed symptoms of the dread disease. They also noticed that many afflictions from which some cancer patients suffered -- such as diabetes -- would disappear even more quickly than the cancer. The physicians were amazed.

Since the early 1960s, the bark has been used regularly at the Municipal Hospital of Santo Andre to treat leukemia as well as numerous diseases where viruses were suspected as the cause. Both the herb stores and the “legitimate” pharmacies in Brazil now carry this bark.

“O Cruzeiro” (March 18 and 25, 1967), the respected Rio de Janeiro weekly, published two long, illustrated articles about this remedy and the Municipal Hospital of Santo Andre where it is being used to cure a host of diseases. One of the pictures shows a patient's chart at the head of his bed. Below the patient's name, age, etc. is the diagnosis: “cancer of the lung.” And, further below, in large handwritten letters, the prescription: “pau d'arco.” Another picture shows a long line, mostly women, waiting to receive small packages of the bark in powdered form and a leaflet explaining how to prepare and administer it. The people standing in line, the paper explained, were not local residents and thus were not entitled to treatment, or “free” medicine at the municipal hospital. The local doctors, however, were paying for the medicine out of their own pockets, with two nurses donating their time to distribute it.

The Municipal Hospital of Santo Andre, where this took place, is a “free” hospital, with its expenses paid out of the budget of that community of 250,000 people on the outskirts of the city of Sao Paulo.

Doctors Amazed

The articles also carried pictures of physicians, whom reporters quoted extensively. One doctor, Professor Wallet Accorst, said: “From my first experiments with it, I learned two important things that greatly encouraged me in regard to cancer: Firstly, red pau d'arco eliminates the pains caused by the disease; and, secondly, it multiplies the amount of red corpuscles.

“Our amazement grew: This bark cured everything! Ulcers, diabetes and rheumatism, the medicine cured them all. And what impressed us most was the time it took to achieve the cure: almost always less than one month!

“Finally, a childhood friend, Col. Amatea, residing in the city of Itu, had an ailing wife. She was on the verge of death: Intestinal cancer. She had been operated on five times in eight months, to little avail. But after just one day of treatment with pau d'arco, she slept peacefully for the first time in eight months. More than that: She was soon cured. That was years ago and she has stayed cured. Anyone who is skeptical should contact Col. Amatea.”

Dr. Octaviano Gaiarsa, a resident physician at the hospital, said: “I didn't follow the cases, as that wasn't part of my duties at the hospital. Many of my colleagues speak of cures of diabetes, of osteomyelitis and even cancer. I personally know of cases of cure of anemia, authenticated with a count of corpuscles, and of various ulcers after 15 days or at most one month of treatment. Dr. Nardelli (the director of the hospital) referred to me a case of  “incurable” osteomyelitis, and it was cured with red pau d'arco, as the examination showed.

“There is also a case of advanced leukemia -- 240,000 leukocytes (white cells) per cubic millimeter (of blood). After one month of treatment with pau d'arco, the number of white cells was down to 20,000, which is considered normal. That one would otherwise have been fatal. Any type of vegetation, when exposed to water and the weather, eventually gets covered with spores that lead to the formation of fungus. This does not occur in the case of pau d'arco, indicating an uncommon resistance. I made a number of such tests, always with the same result.”

Blackout Starts

After the first of these articles appeared in “O Cruzeiro,” the physicians at the hospital received orders forbidding them to make further public statements about the hospital's affairs without prior authorization by the Santo Andre City Council. The Brazilian Cancer Society had gone wild with rage upon reading the account of the cures described in the paper. They wanted to forbid the doctors at the Santo Andre Municipal Hospital from any further use of the Indian remedy.

But the city fathers at Santo Andre would not agree to that: The bark of red pau d'arco was effecting rapid cures among many categories of patients, who had been jamming the municipal hospital and costing the city a lot of money. And now, thanks to the tree bark, the hospital was half empty, the costs were down and the councilmen were able to vote themselves a long-delayed salary hike.

(End of Spotlight story)

Despite the success rate of drinking taheebo tea as a cure for various cancers, humans tend to be stubborn creatures and not at all as instinctual as animals.

I was teaching an herb class in 1994 when one of my students asked if the same naturopathic principles can be applied to animals. I told her, “Absolutely!” She then told me about her German Shepherd/Alaskan Malemute dog that had a reoccurring tumor that the vet would drain periodically.

After the second “draining” of pus from this growth, she was determined to find a better way. Her husband had been complaining about the foul odor emanating from the dog and when I at last met the dog, he actually had bad breath as well as a mangy looking fur coat.

She was instructed to make large pots of taheebo tea and to let the tea cool. The dog was to drink no water but instead drink as much taheebo tea as he wanted to. I also told her to not feed the dog any prepared dog food.

The dog ate brown rice, steamed carrots and raw meat ground together with comfrey leaf. The dog's recovery was dramatic. Within a couple weeks, the tumor disappeared, he no longer had a foul smell or bad breath and his fur shined with health.

More recently, a friend from London contacted me regarding using liquid chlorophyll to treat her daughter's chronic anemia. She had read about chlorophyll in the October, 2001 edition of The Idaho Observer.

When I told her about taheebo, she had never heard of it but was willing to give it a try. Her daughter is now drinking a cup a day and after two weeks the color has returned to her face and she is relaxing more.

The majority of cases of anemia are not caused by a simple iron deficiency but from a biochemical imbalance. Red corpuscles, erythrocytes, are formed in the bone marrow and are replaced in 120-day increments. Red corpuscles are also responsible for the transportation of oxygen and carbon dioxide in our bloodstreams. Our bodies require many nutrients to replenish red corpuscles. Taheebo happens to be rich in calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, cobalt and chromium as well as vitamins A, C and B-complex.

Taheebo is a favorite tonic to add to any tea blend since it doesn't have a bitter medicinal taste and tends to accentuate the power of the other herbs in the blend. This is also why it is great to give to children.

I have often used it along with nettles, horsetail, comfrey leaf, alfalfa and other mineral rich herbs to reconstitute frozen juice blends for children -- stretching the juice into more of an “iced tea.”

A friend mixes taheebo with peppermint and gives it to her children along with lots of vitamin C whenever they are sick with a cold or flu. She has been amazed at how well this tea works in speeding up their recovery from whatever ails them.

Another advantage to using taheebo is, when added to other teas, particularly in the summertime when the days are warmer, it's anti-fungal properties help to prevent them from spoiling.

Other reported ailments that taheebo has been used for include diabetes, liver disorders, AIDS/HIV, immune system problems, and blood impurities.

Due to our current exposure to environmental toxins including chemtrails, pharmaceutical drugs, injected vaccines, and pesticide residues, excitotoxins and preservatives in processed foods, taheebo tea, along with a detoxification program, colon cleanse and enzyme-rich, organic foods is essential for our survival in the 21st century.

*Ingri Cassel is the author of the Idaho Observer's Back to Basics column


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