What is Palo Azul Good for?
Are you missing out on palo azul's magical health benefits?
Palo azul tea has been used as a traditional medicine since the 16th century in South America and it was transported to Europe for its diuretic efficacy. Since that time, palo azul has been popularized as a diuretic for promoting kidney and urinary tract health. Palo azul tea has also been commonly used as an anti-inflammatory for improving conditions such as sciatica, arthritis, joint health and rheumatism.
Palo azul is also widely known for its powerful antioxidant and anti-diabetic properties, which according to some studies, could have beneficial effects on weight loss, maintaining healthy cholesterol, supporting liver function, and cardiovascular health.
Thanks to the work of the researchers who have published their findings about palo azul's health benefits, we now have evidence of palo azul's effectiveness for its traditional medicinal uses. Below this summary, we delve deeper into the specific findings from all the studies.
- Cleanse toxins and maintain healthy kidney & urinary tract function
- May help to reduce kidney stone growth
- Promotes weight loss
- Supports liver function
- Fight free radicals that cause oxidative stress
- Promotes bone & joint health
- Improves sciatica and arthritis health
- Helps to maintain healthy levels of cholesterol and blood pressure
- Promotes healthy levels of blood glucose and insulin sensitivity
- Supports immune system
- Effective against bacteria that cause UTI, respiratory infections, fever, sore throat, diarrhea, cavities, tooth decay, periodontitis, bad breath.
Palo Azul Benefits
Diuretics are substances that promote diuresis, which means they increase water excretion (makes you urinate more). Interestingly, a 2016 study showed that palo azul tea is a "potassium-sparring diuretic", meaning that it prevented electrolyte loss during urination because it spared potassium...as opposed to aquaretic diuretics like coffee and green tea.
Due to the popularity of palo azul as a diuretic, several studies have evaluated its efficacy and found it to be highly effective at reducing kidney stone growth and alleviating pain in the kidney and urinary tract.
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 drug in the formation of kidney stones."
In addition, 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." This same study suggests 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." Lastly, this study concludes that "molecular mechanisms involving these effects could be related to antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties."
Since diuretics increase urinary flow, several studies recommend their use to improve urinary tract health. Moreover, a study found that palo azul extracts were effective against bacteria which are “the most frequent causal agents of urinary tract infection.”
Also, 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.”
Numerous studies concluded that palo azul induced a significant inhibition of inflammation and showed anti-inflammatory activity. One study in particular concluded the following: "The results of this research show that palo azul's flavonoids induce an anti-inflammatory effect in chronic inflammation."
Studies have found 2 main reasons why palo azul can help to improve sciatic nerve health.
- The first reason is due to the fact that sciatica is commonly caused by a buildup of uric acid in the blood and palo azul is an active reducer of uric acid levels.
- The second reason is due to inflammation, as this is another common cause of sciatica and many studies have demonstrated palo azul's anti-inflammatory ability.
One study concluded that “the inhibition (of inflammation) leads to a reduction in pain behavior and inflammation following chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve.”
Another medical article mentions that “any cause of irritation or inflammation of the sciatic nerve can produce the symptoms of sciatica.”
Finally, a study concluded the following: “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.”
A 2018 study found that the ethanol extract of 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 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)."
Palo azul also contains flavonoids, which have proven to be beneficial for joint health. One study found that flavonoids “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.”
Several studies have found that palo azul helped to improve insulin sensitivity, insulin secretion, glucose metabolism and increase muscle mass. A study showed that extracts from palo azul showed a "significantly decreased blood glucose levels." Another study published in 2018 concluded that palo azul had “good anti-diabetic activity.”
A study published in 2021 which supports these findings, found that palo azul extracts "demonstrated a significant decrease in fasting blood glucose level." This study concluded that palo azul's extracts "had good antidiabetic potential and could be an appropriate nanomedicine to prevent the development of diabetes."
Here's a surprising result from a 2016 study: “In conclusion, palo azul may increase muscle mass in the body and improve insulin resistance conditions by facilitating the formation of myotubes by promoting myocyte differentiation.”
A 2018 study explains the biological mechanism of palo azul's effects on diabetes:
“Chalcones, flavonoids, and dihydrochalcones in palo azul promote pancreatic β-cell survival, insulin secretion-enhanced hyperglycemia, and hyperlipidemia in glucose-induced diabetic zebrafish. These findings suggest that EP (palo azul) could be used to prevent the development of diabetes.”
Aditionally, it is well documented that oxidative stress can cause cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and aging. Therefore, antioxidants such as palo azul can “interfere with radical-producing systems and increase the function of endogenous antioxidants, protecting the cells from damage by these free radicals.”
Palo azul also contains flavonoids and a 2014 study mentions that “numerous epidemiological studies show an inverse correlation between dietary flavonoid consumption and chronic degenerative diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancers.”
Another 2014 study even found that in a large cohort of women, a clinical trial has shown that "flavonoids are protective against type 2 diabetes.” The researchers explain that "flavonoids have a role in the treatment of diabetes by virtue of their ability to protect against hyperglycemic and alloxan-induced oxidative stress in experimental animal models.”
Antioxidants are compounds such as phytochemicals or vitamins that inhibit oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a chemical reaction that produces free radicals that scavenge "free” electrons in the body.
This chemical reaction causes damage to cells, proteins, and DNA that is associated with diabetes, cancer, aging, atherosclerosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and many other diseases.
Fortunately for us, over a dozen studies have concluded that palo azul possessed significant antioxidant activity, inhibited oxidative stress and inhibited the formation of AGEs. Some of these studies found compounds in palo azul such as flavonoids, which induce powerful antioxidant and anti-glycation activities.
For example, 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 "showed antidiabetic and anti-hyperlipidemic activities, an ability to reduce the formation of advanced glycation end products, and an antioxidant capacity."
What is anti-glycation and AGEs?
Anti-glycation is the ability to protect against AGEs (advanced glycation end products), which are harmful compounds that are considered to play an important role in the process of aging and in degenerative diseases. This is why you should be eating your vegetables, fruits, and drinking tea every day!
A 2014 study which evaluated palo azul's antioxidant and anti-diabetic properties found that palo azul's extract "showed a significant decrease of body weight in diabetic rats and produced significant loss in body weight as compared to normal animals during the study." Moreover, they found that palo azul "reduced the blood glucose, body weight, glycogen, HDL, levels of triglyceride and cholesterol."
A 2016 study which supports this study ended with this interesting statement: "In conclusion, palo azul may increase muscle mass in the body and improve insulin resistance conditions.”
Moreover, a 2017 study analyzed 2754 twins and found that the group that consumed more flavonoids (antioxidants) “had lower percentage of body fat ” and “burned more fat in the abdomen.” The researchers also found that the twins who consumed more flavonoids “had a 3-9% lower FMR (fat mass ratio) than that of their co-twins.”
Another study analyzed 124,000 people and found that "flavonoids increase energy expenditure, decrease fat absorption and function as anti-inflammatories.” This same study found that "increased consumption of most flavonoid subclasses was associated with reduced weight gain.”
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, which are “the number one skin-aging culprits.”
Another dermatologist, 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.”
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.”
Finally, one of the medical reviews concluded 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.”
By now you must be dying to know... What are flavonoids!? Flavonoids are phytonutrients produced by plants in order to fight off bacteria, viruses, inflammation, and oxidative stress.
Flavonoids are a family of polyphenolic compounds and they're found in vegetables, fruits, plants, bark, flowers, wine and teas such as palo azul. A 2021 study even mentions that several types of flavonoids have been identified in palo azul including "flavones, isoflavones, flavanones, chalcones, dihydrochalcones and polyphenols."
This is great news for us palo azul lovers because thousands of studies have shown that flavonoids are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-aging, anti-hypertensive, anti-bacterial, anti-mutagenic, anti-viral and anti-carcinogenic.
For example, an epidemiological study found 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.”
A 2014 study on palo azul, found that "palo azul reduced the blood glucose, increased serum insulin, body weight, marker enzymes of hepatic function, glycogen, levels of triglyceride, and cholesterol."
Another study found that “flavonoids in tea may lower blood cholesterol concentrations and blood pressure, thereby providing some protection against cardiovascular disease.” Moreover, the researchers found that the antioxidant property of flavonoids "inhibits LDL (cholesterol) oxidation.”
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.”
Finally, they 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 consuming “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.”
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.
An epidemiological 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.”
This is what the researchers concluded: “Our findings suggest that intake of some flavonoids may reduce PD (Parkinson's Disease) risk.”
Another study about flavonoids found that they 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."
One study showed the efficacy of flavonoids “in the treatment of hepatobiliary dysfunction and digestive complaints, such as sensation of fullness, loss of appetite, nausea, and abdominal pain.”
Additionally, loss of appetite is commonly attributed to bacteria and viruses, and many studies have demonstrated the antibacterial activity of palo azul and its flavonoids.
A medical review found that flavonoids proved to be “potent antimicrobial and viral inhibitors.” Therefore, they have shown to be effective against many infectious diseases such as E. coli.
One study tested 47 different plants for the treatment of dental diseases such as toothache, dental caries, periodontal disease and gingivitis.
As it turns out, palo azul was among the plants that showed the "highest inhibitory effect" against certain bacterial diseases! For this reason, it was among the plants most frequently used for ailments such as tooth pain, gum diseases, cavities, and bad breath.
A 2018 study even found that palo azul “showed good antimicrobial effects in E. coli.”
* Here is an interesting finding: “Flavonoids are known to be synthesized by plants in response to microbial infection.” It’s due to their potent antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral activity that flavonoids “show inhibitory activity against E. coli."
A medical review which analyzed the findings of 166 studies mentions that "many flavonoids show activity against several types of virus including HSV, respiratory syncytial virus, polio virus and Sindbis virus.”
* Here is another interesting finding: This review concluded that flavonoids “are an important source for the discovery and the development of novel antiviral drugs.”
A study published in 2020 which found that “flavonoids block attachment and entry of viruses into cells, interfere with various stages of viral replication processes or translation and polyprotein processing to prevent the release of the viruses to infect other cells.”
Moreover, they found that “these biomolecules (flavonoids) can act at different stages of viral infection, particularly at the molecular level to inhibit viral growth.” They found that flavonoids have inhibitory effects against Ebola, herpes, HIV, Influenza and coronaviruses.
Lastly, the researchers mention that flavonoids are “becoming a more focused topic to explore their potential as antivirals in the current era.”
After reading dozens of studies on palo azul, we realized that its antinociceptive property had been reported on several occasions. What does this mean?
Antinociceptives block the detection of a painful or harmful stimulus by sensory neurons. In other words... they inhibit the sensation of pain by blocking signals from neurons.
A 2018 study mentioned that palo azul “decreased the serum levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and showed antinociceptive activity. These findings support the use of Eysenhardtia polystachya (palo azul) in Mexican folk medicine for treating rheumatoid arthritis and pain management.”
Another 2018 study found that palo azul “showed antinociceptive and antidiarrheal effects with similar potency compared to standard drugs.”
* Although we do not recommend replacing standard medications, these findings establish the importance of having a diet full of natural medicines with potent health benefits.
Finally we’ve covered all the health benefits of palo azul! We hope you enjoyed our article and that you share it with your loved ones so that they can also benefit from palo azul. :)
* Palo azul is commonly referred to by its scientific name: Eysenhardtia polystachya / E. polystachya / E.P - Cyclolepis genistoides / C. genistoides - kidney wood - palo dulce
Anti-Oxidant & Anti-Inflammatory
(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
Antiviral & Antibacterial
Sciatic Nerve, Back Pain and Arthritis
If you’re reading this, I have to say I’m impressed! Feel free to text me at 754-422-3361 and ask me anything…like how long it took me to write this perhaps. I’ll probably send you some free palo azul since I can see you like it so much!
- Julian Tcherassi