This article is one of the first printed, years ago, in a U.S. publication about the curing powers of Pau d'Arco. It is reprinted here from "The Spotlight which is a "populist" weekly newspaper published in Washington, D.C.

Could an ancient South America Indian folk medicine cure many types of cancer? Physicians and former cancer patients say yes. This has been widely reported on newspapers Latin America, but not in the U.S.

South American physicians are using Indian folk medicine to successfully treat various forms of cancer - including leukemia - and other debilitating disease, but news of the cures has not made it into the American media.

According to reports published in various South American periodicals prior to the establishment-imposed blackout, the inner bark of two South American trees of the Bignoniacease family are used successfully in the treatment of various diseases, including cancer.

A brew made with the inner bark of Lapacho Colorado (TabebuiaAvellanedae)or Lapacho Morodo (Tabebuia Altissima) seems to attack the cause of the disease, according to medical reports.

Lapacho Colorado or red lapacho - so called because of its scarlet flowers - grows in the warmer part of South America: Brazil, northern Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia etc. It was commonly used by the medicine maen of the Guarani and Tupi-Nambo Indians long before the advent of the Spanish in the New World.

Another name for the lapachos is ipes, a name used in southern Brazil. Red Lapacho is called Ipe roxo. Still another name for the trees is Pau d'Arco means "bow stick"; the natives use the wood to make their bows for archery.

The red lapacho is very common in its range, the tropical lowlands. The Lapacho morado, or purple lapacho, grows in cooler climes - in the Andes, for example. In its range, it is not rare.

Red lapacho was discovered by the white man's medicine some 25 years ago at Americana - a suburb of Sao Paulo, Brazil. That was where several hundred Conferate families homesteaded at the invitation of Emperor Dom Pedro II after the South was lost.


The story of cancer-curing properties of the tropical bark begines about 25 years ago, when a Sao Paulo family had a homecoming party after a trip to Rio de Janeiro. During dinner they told the story of a young relative of theirs - a girl who was stricken with cancer.

The young girl and her parents at first distained the medicine man's concoction. But then the sick girl had a strange dream. She saw a friar who told her: "Drink tea brewed with the bark that the Indian gave you, and you will get well." At first she paid no attention 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.


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 tothe Municipal Hospital of Santo Andre, another suburb of Sao Paulo, where he was a resident physician. There, his cancer ridden brother lay, near death. The cancer victim had just undergone 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 it. He had learned that the medical researcher "must" first try to extract part or parts of the plant claimed to have the therapeutic value.

Then the reseacher 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 - cpould 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 not to 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 patients pain disappeared, and he was able to sleep soundly. After a month of uninterupted treatment with the brew, he was discharged from the hospital. A thorough examination had found no trace of cancer remaining.


After this startling developement, 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 hospital have noticed that the pain suffered by patients with leukimia or other cancers disappeared within hours after they received the brew made fro 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 any symptoms of the dread diseases.

They noticed that many other afflictions from which some of the cancer patients suffered - such as diabetes - would disappear even more quickly than the cancer The physicians were amazed.

Since the earlys 1960's, this bark has been used regularly at the Municipal Hospital of Santo Andre to treat leukimia 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 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, in large handwritten letters, the prescription:

Pau d'Arco

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