Pau d'Arco and the Immune System

Proponents of Pau d'Arco claim that one of its health benefits is helping in cases where the immune system has been weakened. This can occur in many situations, but let's take a brief look at some of them. In all cases, don't use Pau d'Arco to try to replace any prescription or treatment you may have been given by your doctor, and be sure to ask for professional advice before using this herb due to possible interactions or contraindications.


Patients who have cancer can end up with weakened immune systems. One example of this is lymphoma, in which there could be a T cell deficiency. This is a type of blood cancer that comes from lymphocytes. Another cancer that can impact the immune system is multiple myeloma, which is a malignancy of plasma cells. One other possibility to consider for now is leukemia, which is a term for a collection of cancers that generally have their starting point in the person's bone marrow.

In addition, chemotherapy -- a common treatment for cancer -- can also result in immunodeficiency. So, with these factors combined, it is easy to see how someone in such a situation could have an immune system deficiency.

Cold and Flu

It appears that having the common cold or the flu could impact a person's immune system. These two viral infections appear with similar symptoms in some ways. For instance, tiredness, sore throat, a stuffy and/or runny nose, muscle discomfort, sneezing, coughing, and fever, among others, are all possibilities in both. However, there are differences. For instance, while a fever is relatively common in younger people who have a cold, in adults it is more associated with the flu. Also, the symptoms may be worse in those with the flu (also called influenza). Some people who are infected with the viruses that cause the cold and flu remain without symptoms.


It seems that patients with diabetes could have a weakened immune system, potentially a cause or factor in more frequent infections that they experience. Diabetes involves raised blood sugar levels occurring over a lengthy period of time. Diabetes is a particularly common condition, with an estimate of well over 400 million people worldwide who have it.

Antibiotic Usage

Antibiotics are taken in order to fight off bacterial infections. However, taking antibiotics can weaken one's immunity. Of course, this doesn't mean that you should stop taking such a medication when it was prescribed for you! It is just something to be aware of. For instance, a possible side effect of at least some antibiotics is a resulting Candida infection.

Speaking of Candida...

Not only in the case of some antibiotics, but also in some other situations that weaken the immune system, people may be prone to overgrowth of Candida (a fungus). Pau d'Arco is claimed to be useful in treating this fungal infection. It is thought by some that lapachol -- a compound found in Pau d'Arco -- could be useful as an antifungal.

Further Reading

You can visit the home page for additional reading about Pau d'Arco. Also, there is a page which specifically mentions several claims of health benefits from taking this herb.