Lapacho is used in the herbal medicine of several South and Central American indigenous peoples to treat a number of ailments including infection, fever and stomach complaints. The active ingredients such as lapachol have been found to possess significant abortifacient and reproductive toxicity effects for rats.
Taheebo is the common name for the inner bark of the red or purple lapacho tree. This tree grows high in the Andes of the South American rainforest. 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 Kallawaya.
Lapacho is traditionally promoted by herbalists as a treatment for a number of human ailments, including cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, "available evidence from well-designed, controlled studies does not support this substance as an effective treatment for cancer in humans", and using it risks harmful side-effects.
- Gómez Castellanos, J. Rubén; Prieto, José M.; Heinrich, Michael (2009). "Red Lapacho (Tabebuia impetiginosa)—A global ethnopharmacological commodity?". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 121 (1): 1–13. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2008.10.004. PMID 18992801.
- Felício AC, Chang CV, Brandão MA, Peters VM, Guerra Mde O (2002). "Fetal growth in rats treated with lapachol". Contraception. 66 (4): 289–93. doi:10.1016/S0010-7824(02)00356-6. PMID 12413627.
- Guerra Mde O, Mazoni AS, Brandão MA, Peters VM (2001). "Toxicology of Lapachol in rats: embryolethality". Brazilian Journal of Biology. 61 (1): 171–4. doi:10.1590/s0034-71082001000100021. PMID 11340475.
- de Cássia da Silveira E, Sá R, de Oliveira Guerra M (2007). "Reproductive toxicity of lapachol in adult male Wistar rats submitted to short-term treatment". Phytotherapy Research. 21 (7): 658–62. doi:10.1002/ptr.2141. PMID 17421057.
- "Taheebo History". Archived from the original on 2009-03-31. Retrieved 2008-11-26.
- "Lapacho tea as anti-cancer agent" (in German).
- "Pau d'arco". American Cancer Society. January 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-01.