How Can Palo Azul Tea Detox Your Body?
Palo azul has "diuretic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties"
Palo azul’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties are among its best known and most studied benefits. Dozens of studies have concluded in their results that palo azul tea exhibited anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and diuretic activity. Because of these properties, studies have shown that palo azul help to remove toxins and inhibit inflammation.
In this article, we will first go in depth about what antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and diuretics are. Then we'll share some studies specifically about palo azul tea. Lastly, we'll briefly go over the health benefits of antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and diuretics.
1. What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are compounds such as vitamins or phytochemicals that inhibit oxidative stress. They protect the tissue from free radical damage and because of this, prevent inflammation in the body.
A 2021 study actually found several phytochemicals (polyphenols) in palo azul such as “flavones, isoflavones, flavanones, phenolic compounds, chalcones and dihydrochalcones” which have been linked to its health benefits, highlighting “diuretic, antidiabetic, antiglycation, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial potential.”
Because of its flavonoid rich content, a 2018 study concluded that a palo azul extract provided “an effective defense against oxidative stress in zebrafish embryos.”
What is oxidative stress?
Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body. Free radicals are atoms with a single valence electron that cause damage to the body associated with diabetes, cancer, aging, atherosclerosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and many other diseases.
This happens because electrons like to be in pairs... and for this reason, free radicals look for "free" electrons in the body. This causes damage to cells, proteins, DNA and these damaged molecules can mutate, grow tumors, and damage the DNA code. Eventually, this cellular damage causes new cells to grow with defects and it will lead to aging and degenerative diseases.
A 2014 study which supports the previous study concluded the following: “Our results in this experiment showed that palo azul has an antidiabetic, antihyperlipidemic, and significant ability to reduce the formation of AGEs and antioxidant activities, which are considered to play important roles in the development of diabetes complications.”
A 2019 study also found that “treatment with dihydrochalcone (a powerful ant-glycation compound isolated from palo azul) protects renal function, prevents kidney injury and ameliorated inflammation."
What is anti-glycation and AGEs?
Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are harmful compounds that are considered to play an important role in the process of aging and in degenerative diseases such as diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cardiovascular disease and others.
Palo Azul vs Oxidative Stress
Over a dozen studies showed that palo azul possesses considerable antioxidant and anti-glycation activity.
A 2021 study found that palo azul tea "can reduce the oxidative stress caused by the imbalance between reactive oxygen species (ROS) because of its free radical scavenging activity."
A 2018 study also found that "palo azul extracts showed antidiabetic and anti-hyperlipidemic activities, an ability to reduce the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), and an antioxidant capacity in-vitro."
2. What are anti-inflammatories?
Anti-inflammatories are precursors of molecules responsible for signaling out the resolution of inflammation. In other words, they reduce inflammation by blocking inflammatory signals.
For example, Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory, and without them, we have less ability to fight inflammation due to our inability to block inflammatory signals.
Palo Azul vs Inflammation
Numerous studies concluded in their results that palo azul induced a significant inhibition of inflammation and showed anti-inflammatory activity.
A 2021 study found that palo azul's "flavanones ameliorate edema and trigger downregulation of the pro-inflammatory cytokines", meaning that it reduced inflammation.
Moreover, a 2016 study found that palo azul "exhibited significant anti-inflammatory activity" and the researchers concluded that "the results of this study demonstrated that the bark of palo azul acts as an anti-inflammatory agent."
A 2015 concluded a similar result: "Our data indicate that palo azul exhibited significant anti-inflammatory activity in all the trials of paw and ear edema induced exhibiting also anti-arthritic activity.”
Lastly, a 2018 study found that palo azul ameliorated markers of inflammation and that it “exerted in-vitro anti-inflammatory effects.”
3. What are diuretics?
Diuretics are substances which promote diuresis, which is another word for urination. You might think that drinking palo azul tea will promote excessive urination and dehydrate your body...and you'd be right if palo azul was an aquaretic diuretic such as green tea or coffee. But palo azul is no ordinary diuretic...😉
A 2016 study found that palo azul is a "potassium-sparing diuretic", which means that it flushes out toxins without electrolyte loss because it spares potassium, so it doesn't lead to dehydration.
A 2022 study which mentions that "this plant (palo azul) contains polyphenols, flavonoids and alkaloids, which could be effective in preventing the process of stone formation. These beneficial effects might be associated with diuretic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties."
How can antioxidants help you?
One study analyzed 2754 twins and found that the group that consumed the most flavonoids:
- Had less percentage of fat
- Burned more fat in the abdomen
Specifically, the researchers found that the twins with the highest consumption of flavonoid-rich foods (onions, tea, apples, pears, and cocoa) “had a 3-9% lower FMR (fat mass ratio) than that of their co-twins.”
Moreover, the researchers found that the “women who ate a lot of flavonoid-rich foods had a lower percentage of body fat than women who ate less. The amount of abdominal fat also differed significantly between the two groups.”
The researchers of this study also point out that “It is important to note that abdominal fat is an important risk factor for diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart problems.”
Another study looked at 124,000 people and found that "flavonoids increase energy expenditure, decrease fat absorption and function as anti-inflammatories. The researchers in this same study found that "increased consumption of most flavonoid subclasses was associated with reduced weight gain.”
They also mentioned that the participants that consumed more flavonoids maintained their weight better and even lost some weight and they concluded the following:
"Our results suggest that choosing fruits and vegetables that are high in flavonoids, such as apples, pears, berries and peppers, can help with weight control."
Several articles mention that palo azul tea has been used for hundreds of years to protect, boost and support liver function. A 2021 study on mice found that “diabetic mice treated with palo azul extracts showed significant recovery and revival of the central vein of the liver.”
Another 2021 study mentions that “palo azul is widely used in folk medicine as a diuretic and for the treatment of kidney diseases, urinary tract irritation, kidney pain, bone pain (analgesic) and as a blood purifier against liver diseases.”
A 2022 study done on mice concluded in their results that palo azul’s “extract significantly reduced oxidative damages in both the kidneys and the liver, and such effect has been related to the high antioxidant capacity.
Lastly, these findings were supported by a study published in 2014, whose “results suggest that EP prevents oxidative stress, acts as a suppressor of liver, kidney and pancreas cell damage.” This same study found that “palo azul showed anti-glycation, liver-protective and hypoglycemic (lower blood sugar levels) actions that could be potentially beneficial against type 2 diabetes."
Victoria Lewis, a doctor of dermatology mentions in an article that “antioxidants are often considered the fountain of youth by skin-care professionals and experts.”
“Not only do they (antioxidants) scavenge free radicals—the number one skin-aging culprits—to promote a brighter, more even complexion, they’re also the superstars at nixing fine lines and keeping skin looking fresh.”
This is due to its ability to eliminate oxidative stress and free radicals. Oxidative stress causes damage to our cells, and this damage eventually leads to aging and wrinkles in our skin.
Another doctor of dermatology, Dr. Mack, writes that “antioxidants protect your skin from this (oxidative stress) and help reduce pigmentation and fine lines and wrinkles.” He goes on to mention that in his opinion, “an antioxidant serum is a must for your skin-care routine.”
For this reason, many pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies supplement their skin care products with tea extracts!
According to the findings of two medical reviews (1) (2) that analyzed 327 studies conducted specifically on flavonoids (antioxidants), it is well established that oxidative stress can lead to cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and aging. Therefore, one of the reviews concluded that "diets rich in antioxidants diminish the cancer-promoting action of free radicals and oxidative stress."
Moreover, a 2019 study that looked at 1522 breast cancer cases and 1547 frequency control subjects from June 2007 to July 2018 in Guangdong, China. The results of this study indicated that consumption of “flavonoids and most flavonoid subclasses intakes were inversely associated with breast cancer risk.”
* Here’s a very interesting finding: “Moderate wine drinkers also seem to have a lower risk to develop cancer of the lung, endometrium, esophagus, stomach, and colon.”
Thank you flavonoids!
Finally, one of the medical reviews says that “the critical relationship of fruit and vegetable intake and cancer prevention has been thoroughly documented. It has been suggested that major public health benefits could be achieved by substantially increasing consumption of these foods.”
In other words... oxidation in our body leads to cancer and other diseases, therefore we should consume lots of antioxidants to stay healthy.
By this point you're probably dying to know... What the heck are flavonoids!?
Flavonoids are natural products found in vegetables, fruits, plants, bark, flowers, wine and teas like palo azul. Hundreds of studies on flavonoids have found a ton of health benefits which are attributed to their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-aging, anti-hypertensive, anti-bacterial and anti-mutagenic properties.
For example, one epidemiological study showed an “inverse correlation between dietary flavonoid consumption and chronic degenerative diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancers.”
According to a medical review, flavonoids’ powerful health benefits have made them “an indispensable component in a variety of nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, medicinal and cosmetic applications.”
We think this might be the healthiest compound on planet Earth!
Flavonoid-rich foods: apples, pears, onions, strawberries, blueberries, celery, peppers, and teas
How can flavonoids help you?
One study done on flavonoids concluded that “flavonoids in tea may lower blood cholesterol concentrations and blood pressure, thereby providing some protection against cardiovascular disease.” The researchers also found that the antioxidant property of flavonoids " inhibits the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.”
Finally, a 2014 study concluded that: “Palo azul (EP) reduced the blood glucose, increased serum insulin, body weight, marker enzymes of hepatic function, glycogen, HDL, GK and HK while there was reduction in the levels of triglyceride, cholesterol.”
One study mentions that "epidemiological, clinical and animal studies reveal that “flavonoids may exert protective effects against various disease conditions including cardiovascular disease and cancer.” The authors of this study also write that “flavonoid intake is inversely correlated with mortality from cardiovascular disease.”
The researchers concluded the following: "Antioxidant, antithrombotic, anti-inflammatory, and hypolipidemic properties play a significant role in the lower cardiovascular mortality illustrated by increased flavonoid consumption.”
Various epidemiological studies show that “flavonoids in tea may lower blood cholesterol concentrations and blood pressure, thereby providing some protection against cardiovascular disease.”
This is due to its ability to "inhibit the oxidation of LDL through a mechanism involving the elimination of free radicals that plays a key role during atherosclerosis.”
Finally, the scientists in one study observed that the “consumption of them (flavonoids) is associated with improvement in endothelial function (blockage of arteries) via vascular endothelial nitric oxide synthase and protein kinase B (Akt) activation.”
What is endothelial function?
The endothelium is a thin membrane that lines the inside of the heart and blood vessels. Endothelial cells release substances that control vascular relaxation and contraction, as well as enzymes that control blood clotting, immune function, and platelet adhesion.
Endothelial dysfunction has been shown to be important in predicting stroke and heart attacks due to the inability of the arteries to dilate completely. Dysfunction can result from high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and smoking.
Studies have shown that endothelial dysfunction precedes the development of atherosclerosis, a chronic disease characterized by abnormal thickening and hardening of the artery walls. This can cause a stroke or a heart attack.
In other words...Endothelial dysfunction causes a blockage in the arteries that can lead to hypertension, stroke, or heart attack. This is why you should take care of your cholesterol levels by consuming flavonoid-rich foods and eliminating inflammatory and oxidative foods.
A medical review about flavonoids revealed that "dietary flavonoids are associated with a decreased risk of hypertension and CVD (cardiovascular disease).” The researchers also observed that “the blood pressure level was reduced in patients with hypertension” after greater consumption of flavonoids.
A clinical study analyzed a group of 49,281 men and 80,336 women in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and found that “the participants in the highest quintile of total flavonoids had a 40% lower PD (Parkinson’s Disease) risk than those in the lowest quintile.” The researchers from this study concluded the following:
“Our findings suggest that intake of some flavonoids may reduce PD (Parkinson's Disease) risk.”
Another study found that flavonoids have “favourable biochemical and antioxidant effects associated with various diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease (AD), atherosclerosis, etc.”
FInally, a study concluded the following: “Flavonoids contained in berries may have a positive effect against Parkinson's disease and may help to improve memory in elderly people. Intake of antioxidant flavonoids has been inversely related to the risk of incidence of dementia.”
Results from a 2018 study "showed that “flavonoid consumption 50 mg/day reduced the risk of erectile dysfunction by 32%.” Moreover, the study found that "men with erectile dysfunction reported a lower monthly average of total flavonoid intake."
Another study supported these results, as it concluded that "flavonoid-rich foods are associated with a reduced incidence of erectile dysfunction.” Due to the antioxidant capacity of flavonoids, another study concludes that flavonoids "may ameliorate erectile dysfunction by inhibiting oxidative stress."
How can anti-inflammatories help you?
The main cause for sciatic nerve pain is commonly caused by the accumulation of uric acid in the blood and palo azul is an active reducer of uric acid levels. Inflammation is another common cause of sciatic nerve pain and we have already discovered that palo azul is a powerful anti-inflammatory. For these 2 reasons, palo azul has been traditionally used for centuries to treat sciatic nerve pain and also joint pain.
One medical study concluded the following: The inhibition (of inflammation) leads to a reduction in pain behavior and inflammation following chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve.
A 2019 article mentions that “any cause of irritation or inflammation of the sciatic nerve can produce the symptoms of sciatica.”
In addition to this, one study found that “the plant (palo azul) has been used in traditional treatments of nephrolithiasis or urolithiasis , lumbalgia, arthritis, rheumatism, sciatica, and as blood depurative because it eliminates uric acid, of which application the palo azul derives its diuretic and antirheumatic fame.”
Various studies have found that flavonoids and palo azul’s antiinflammatory capacities are effective for treating arthritis and pain management.
A 2018 study found that “palo azul and its flavonoids-rich fractions inhibited secondary inflammatory reactions in arthritic rats." This study also mentions that “many plant constituents, including flavonoids, have proven effective against arthritis by reducing cartilage degradation, diminishing leukocyte infiltration in the synovial space, decreasing serum cytokine levels, and other mechanisms.“
Finally, one study concluded the following: “Our findings support the use of Eysenhardtia polystachya bark (palo azul) for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and pain management.”
A study found that flavonoids (found in vegetables, fruits and teas like palo azul) “have the most potential of dietary components for promotion of bone health beyond calcium and vitamin D.” This same study mentions that "recent epidemiological studies show flavonoid consumption to have a stronger association with bone than general fruit and vegetable consumption.”
Lastly, a 2021 study mentions that "palo azul tea is widely used in folk medicine as a diuretic and for the treatment of kidney diseases, urinary tract irritation, kidney pain, bone pain (analgesic)."
Potent Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant foods: vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, olive oil, turmuric, cocoa and teas
Inflammatory and oxidative foods: foods that are heavily processed and have high fructose content, trans fats and refined carbs
How can diuretics help you?
Numerous studies have found that palo azul had beneficial effects on kidney stones. Therefore, one study concluded that it can be "recommended as a preventive medication in the formation of kidney stones.”
Another study found that "flavonones in palo azul have been identified with antibacterial and antifungal activity.” Therefore, it could be used for “kidney problems, urinary tract pain, kidney calculi, and as a deflamatory."
This finding is corroborated by a 2022 study which mentioned that "this plant contains polyphenols, flavonoids and alkaloids, which could be effective in preventing the process of stone formation."
The researchers suggest that palo azul's "beneficial effects might be associated with diuretic activities, as well as an inhibitory effect on crystallization, nucleation, and aggregation of crystals." This study concludes that "molecular mechanisms involving these effects could be related to antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties."
Lastly, another 2022 study concluded that palo azul's "extract significantly reduced oxidative damages in both the kidneys and the liver, and such effect has been related to the high antioxidant capacity."
Since diuretics increase urinary flow, several studies recommend their use to improve urinary tract health. In addition, a study found that the palo azul extracts were effective against bacteria which are “the most frequent causal agents of urinary tract infection.”
Finally, a book about botanical medicine writes the following statement about palo azul:
“If prone to acidic, overly concentrated urine, associated kidney stones and urinary tract sediment then Kidneywood (palo azul) will be of use. Because of the plant’s alkalinizing nature, acidic precipitants dissolve back into the urine, thereby reducing pain and urinary tract irritability associated with lithic deposits. Kidney wood (palo azul) is soothing to kidney and urinary tract irritability.”
In summary, palo azul can help to detoxify your body form toxins because it's a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, diuretic anti-glycative and it's rich in flavonoids. Because of these properties, palo azul may help to inhibit oxidative stress, scavenge free radicals, downregulate inflammatory cytokines, remove toxins and inhibit bacteria, all of which are associated with a wide variety of health benefits.
* Palo azul is commonly referred to by its scientific name: Eysenhardtia polystachya / E. polystachya / E.P - Cyclolepis genistoides / C. genistoides - kidney wood - palo dulce
(March 28, 2019) 3′-O-β-d-glucopyranosyl-α,4,2′,4′,6′-pentahydroxy-dihydrochalcone, from Bark of Eysenhardtia polystachya Prevents Diabetic Nephropathy via Inhibiting Protein Glycation in STZ-Nicotinamide Induced Diabetic Mice
(Summer, 2018) Silver nanoparticles synthesized with a fraction from the bark of Eysenhardtia polystachya with high chalcone and dihydrochalcone content effectively inhibit oxidative stress in the zebraﬁsh embryo model