When in bloom, the purple ipe enchants due to its exuberant beauty. Its leafy canopy full of flowers is not the only thing that impresses about this tree. Its husks can be used for medicinal purposes, treating gastritis, diabetes and cancer. A real elixir!
Also called pau-d’arco, it has as its scientific name the term Tabebuia avellanedae (or Handroanthus impetiginosus ). And contrary to what many might think, the benefits are not in the leaves or flowers, but in the outside of the trunk.
So if you are curious to know how the purple ipe works in the body, follow this article. Here you will find detailed information about its medicinal power and its main characteristics.
What is purple ipe for?
This plant receives the support of its properties from Anvisa and the Ministry of Health. Antioxidant, analgesic and antibacterial are some of them. ( 1 )
Helps to fight cancer
The anticancer power attributed to the ipe bark is the result of three effects: anti-proliferative, antioxidant and antineoplastic action. First, it is possible to say that the plant prevents cell proliferation of carcinoma, also known as a malignant tumor.
The antioxidant activity, on the other hand, helps the body to fight free radicals, unstable molecules that in excess can cause the degradation of healthy cells. This cellular oxidative stress is one of those responsible for degenerative diseases such as cancer, or skin problems, such as premature aging.
Finally, the antineoplastic performance of this herb, aimed at destroying neoplasms or malignant cells. In addition to helping in the process of inhibiting the growth and spread of tumors. ( 1 )
Prevents the development of bacteria and fungi
Among the various compounds of this tree, lapachol is one of the most important, as it acts as an antibacterial and antifungal. Some studies carried out in the academic world have already proven, for example, that the extract of the ipe bark blocks the bacterial proliferation of Bacillus subtilis, Salmonella typhimurium and Candida albicans. ( 1 , 2 )
Furthermore, lapachol, together with another substance called β-lapachone, helps in combating different types of filamentous fungi. For those unaware, these organisms are found in polluted water and can trigger respiratory problems. ( 1 )
Protects the gastrointestinal system
Tabebuia extract significantly accelerates gastric ulcer healing. What made it gain the status of natural remedy for the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases , mucosal lesions and even gastritis. ( 1 , 3 , 4 )
Assists in healing
Literature has also proven the benefits of this extract in the healing process . In addition to being excellent in the treatment of itching, skin blemishes and burns. In these cases, the most recommended is the use of purple ipe ointments, which are sold in pharmacies. ( 1 , 2 )
Remember lapachol? So, this substance also has anti-inflammatory and analgesic actions. For this reason, it relieves pain caused by inflammation such as osteoarticular problems, such as arthritis, arthrosis, rheumatism, etc. And to enjoy these advantages, just use the tea from the bark of this tree. ( 1 , 2 , 4 , 5 )
Here’s how to minimize back pain through the use of some alternative and at-home methods .
Strengthens the immune system
Also thanks to the therapeutic power of lapachol, pau-d’arco can be used as an immunostimulant. This means that the natural product reinforces the actions of the immune system, thus increasing the body’s defenses. ( 2 )
Contributes to the treatment of diabetes
Type 2 diabetes causes the pancreas not to produce enough insulin, but it is this substance that facilitates the entry of glucose into cells to be transformed into energy, doing the same with triglycerides.
However, high triglyceride levels signal insulin resistance, causing excess insulin and blood sugar. This makes the individual one step away from diabetes. ( 6 )
But after all, how can purple ipe help? Research indicates that the bark extract of this plant prevents the increase in triglycerides. With this, the chances of having diabetes decrease considerably. ( 1 )
How to make purple ipe tea?
Boil a liter of water and add 5 to 10 grams of the dried ipe husks. Leave it on the fire, with the pan covered, for another 5 minutes. After that time, put the liquid to rest for up to 20 minutes. Finally, strain and drink the tea gradually throughout the day, one to three times. ( 2 , 4 )
In addition to tea, you can enjoy the benefits of pau-d’arco in other ways that can be found in pharmacies. Check out!
- Fluid extract : 20 to 40 drops, up to three times a day
- Tincture : from 50 to 100 drops, also up to three times
- Powder : 300 to 500 mg, two to three times a day
- Dry extract : from 200 to 300 mg, three times a day
- Ointment : applying on wounds, itches and stains after cleaning the affected area. ( 1 , 2 )
Side effects and contraindications
High doses of lapachol can cause gastrointestinal problems such as nausea and vomiting. For this reason, it is better to stick with the recommended amount per day of the different remedies made with the plant. ( 5 )
With regard to contraindications, the Ministry of the Environment recommends not using it in children, pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding.
In any case, the use of natural or synthetic remedies must be prescribed, guided and monitored by a specialist. Self-medication is dangerous.
Taheebo, lapacho, pau d’arco purple, peúva and caixeta are other nomenclatures used to refer to the purple ipe. This tree is native to tropical forests and therefore can be found in the United States, Argentina and in the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest regions of Brazil. When flowering, the crowns take on a shade of lilac, and the size of the tree can reach up to 40 meters.