Pau ferro: what are the benefits of this plant?

This content is part of the Alternative Medicine category and may contain information that lacks scientific studies and/or medical consensus.

The pau ferro ( Libidibia ferrea ) is a Brazilian tree used as a medicinal plant to treat respiratory problems, control diabetes and also to promote the relief of symptoms of inflammatory diseases .

The traditional and most common method of use is to prepare a tea from the bark of the tree. This infusion can be consumed up to three times a day and has no toxic effects.

Know the main benefits of it, how to use it and what care is needed to follow.

Main benefits of pau ferro

treat respiratory infections

The tea from this plant is used by traditional medicine to treat flu , colds , bronchitis and tuberculosis. The bark of pau ferro has a powerful antibacterial effect, preventing the proliferation of harmful bacteria to the body. ( 1 )

It is also effective against some types of viruses, which is why it is also used to treat viral infections. ( 2 )

Accelerates wound healing

The plant extract, when applied to wounds, including those of domestic animals, improves healing , accelerating the process , and also enhances the growth of new skin in the region. In addition to preventing the emergence of bacterial infections. ( 3 )

Control glucose levels

The ironwood tea helps to reduce and control blood glucose levels and can serve as a complementary treatment for patients with diabetes mellitus .

The bark of the tree has substances that reduce the amount of sugar in the blood. They act directly on a type of protein that helps regulate the amount of glucose that is absorbed by the liver and muscles.

In this way, pau ferro is able to maintain the energy of cells and prevent the body from absorbing more sugar than it really needs to function. ( 1 )

Protects against disease

The tree bark is rich in antioxidants and substances responsible for the plant’s defense against predators. ( 2 )

Together, these substances manage to act by preventing free radicals, compounds produced by the degradation of cells and which cause cell death and various damages, to act freely in the body.

They serve to keep the body safe from disease, because they “scavenge” free radicals and prevent them from leaving causing tissue damage.

In this way, they help maintain the body and prevent disease. In particular those of a chronic and degenerative nature, such as cardiovascular problems , strokes and diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. ( 4 )

The bark’s antioxidants are able to inhibit the release of enzymes that cause damage to the liver, the organ responsible for detoxifying the body, a process that occurs after contact with toxic substances.

This means that the plant’s antioxidant effects not only help protect against free radicals, but also against negative effects caused by drugs and bacteria. ( 1 )

Relieves the pain

Ironwood tea is also a potent natural analgesic , decreasing contractions and, consequently, relieving pain . ( 5 )

This happens thanks to the presence of several types of organic acids, such as oleic and linoleic acids. They act similarly to morphine, preventing the pain message from being interpreted by the brain, providing quick relief for various discomforts. ( 6 )

Relieves symptoms of inflammatory problems

Another very traditional use of this tea is in the treatment of autoimmune hepatitis , a disease known to cause inflammation in the liver .

Some substances in ironwood prevent the release of inflammatory compounds in the body.

Understand better ! Inflammation is a natural process initiated by the body itself as a way to defend itself against an invader (microorganism or harmful compound), causing the body to react by widening the blood vessels in an attempt to send as much blood and antibodies as possible to the local.

This process causes the pain, burning, and redness characteristic of inflammation.

Pau ferro prevents these substances from being released, but it does not prevent the body from fighting the invaders, only making the reaction less aggressive. ( 7 )

This mechanism of inhibition of inflammatory compounds happens because of the presence of phenolic compounds. Thus, tea is effective in treating inflammation, especially those affecting the skin and respiratory tract. ( 8 )

How to use the iron stick?

The main indication for using pau ferro is in the form of tea . It should be made by cooking bark chips and should be taken daily for the period that lasts the symptoms of the problem for which it will be used. See how to prepare!


  • 2 tablespoons of iron wood bark
  • 1 liter of filtered water.

Preparation mode

Place the skins in a pan together with the water, and bring to the fire. After it comes to a boil, you should let it cook for 10 minutes before turning off the heat.

After this process, cover and let the tea rest for another 10 minutes, before straining and drinking.

Care and contraindications

Pau ferro is considered safe , as research carried out with it did not identify any component that is toxic to the body under normal conditions. Even when consumed in large quantities.

However, the plant can cause problems during pregnancy . For this reason, before using it during pregnancy or breastfeeding, it is important to seek a specialized doctor, who will assess whether it can be used and what is the safe dose. ( 8 )

The same happens with those who use controlled medications. Finally, even though it is non-toxic, it is important to avoid consuming it in large quantities, three cups of tea daily is enough to absorb its properties.

Where to find?

The barks of pau ferro can be found at grass fairs throughout Brazil. If you can’t find it in your city, you can buy the peels on websites specializing in natural and herbal products, ready for use.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.