What is Palo azul Good for?
Are you missing out on palo azul's magical health benefits?
Palo azul tea has been used since the 16th century in South America and in 1565 it was transported to Europe for its diuretic efficacy.
Since that time, palo azul has been popularized as a diuretic for treating kidney and urinary tract problems, kidney stones, bloody diarrhea and colic pain. Other natural diuretics include coffee, green tea, black tea, and cranberry juice. Palo azul tea has also been commonly used as an anti-inflammatory to cure sciatic nerve pain, arthritis, joint pain and rheumatism.
Thanks to the work of the researchers who have published their findings about palo azul's health benefits, we now know that the traditional medicinal uses of this plant are actually effective. Here, we summarized all the research of each one of palo azul's health benefits.
Below, we’ve summarized the health properties that studies have found in palo azul tea and what they are good for:
- Detox your body and fight free radicals that cause oxidative stress
- Improve joint health and wellness
- Relieves sciatic nerve pain and arthritis
- Lower your cholesterol
- Reduce your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and atherosclerosis
- Cleanse your body from toxins and promote kidney & urinary tract health
- Prevents and reduces kidney stone growth
- Improves your insulin sensitivity and reduces blood glucose level
Antiviral and Antibacterial
- Protects against cavities, toothache, gum diseases, bad breath, and E. coli
- Relieves abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea
Palo Azul Benefits
Palo Azul’s diuretic property is probably its most popular and recognized benefit. In case you don't know what diuretics are, they’re substances that promote diuresis, which means they increase water excretion (makes you urinate more). Other common diuretics are 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 in significantly reducing kidney stone growth and relieving pain in the kidney and urinary tract.
Alleviates kidney pain and reduces kidney stone growth
We reviewed 6 studies that found that palo azul stopped the formation of kidney stones (calcium oxalate crystals) and significantly decreased the size of 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."
Alleviates urinary tract pain
Since diuretics increase urinary flow, several studies recommend their use to treat urinary pain. In fact, the results of 4 different studies suggest that palo azul can “reduce irritability in the urinary tract.”
Another study found that the methanolic extracts of palo azul 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 case you're wondering, antioxidants are compounds such as 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 leads to damage to cells, proteins, and DNA that is associated with diabetes, cancer, aging, atherosclerosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and many other diseases.
In other words, consuming antioxidant-rich foods and teas can reduce your risk of all these degenerative diseases!
Fortunately, the antioxidant property of palo azul is one of its most studied and powerful benefits. In fact, we reviewed 13 studies whose results concluded that palo azul "exhibited an antioxidant effect.”
Some of these studies found compounds in palo azul such as flavonoids, dihydrochalcone and methanol that induce potent antioxidant and anti-glycation activities.
The anti-glycation property protects against AGEs (advanced glycation end products), which are harmful compounds (such as free radicals) that contribute to the aging and degenerative diseases such as diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's, etc.
Helps you lose weight
One study analyzed 2754 twins and found that the group that consumed more flavonoids (antioxidants) “had less percentage of 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.”
The researchers in this same study found that "increased consumption of most flavonoid subclasses was associated with reduced weight gain.”
Promotes skin health
Victoria Lewis, a doctor of dermatology mentions 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.”
"Decrease cancer promoting action"
According to the findings of two medical reviews 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, "diets rich in antioxidants decrease the cancer-promoting action of free radicals and oxidative stress."
Moreover, we read a 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 fact: “Moderate wine drinkers also seem to have a lower risk to develop cancer of the lung, endometrium, esophagus, stomach, and colon.”
By this point you must be dying to know... What are flavonoids!?
Flavonoids are natural antioxidants found in vegetables, fruits, plants, bark, flowers, wine and teas such as palo azul.
There are hundreds of studies that have been done on them and they’ve found a ton of health benefits. Researchers have attributed their health benefits to their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-aging, anti-hypertensive, anti-bacterial, anti-mutagenic, anti-viral and anti-cancer properties.
For example, many epidemiological studies show an “inverse correlation between dietary flavonoid consumption and chronic degenerative diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancers.”
These are the most flavonoid-rich foods: apples, pears, onions, strawberries, blueberries, celery, peppers, and teas such as palo azul
They lower your cholesterol
One study found that “flavonoids in tea may lower blood cholesterol concentrations and blood pressure, thereby providing some protection against cardiovascular disease.”
Another study found that the antioxidant property of flavonoids " inhibits the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.”
Finally, another 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.”
Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease
Epidemiological, clinical and animal studies reveal that “flavonoids may exert protective effects against various disease conditions including cardiovascular disease and cancer.”
Some studies even demonstrated that “flavonoid intake is inversely correlated with mortality from cardiovascular disease.”
Finally, a study concluded the following: "Antioxidant, antithrombotic, anti-inflammatory, and hypolipidemic properties play a significant role in the lower cardiovascular mortality illustrated by increased flavonoid consumption.”
Reduce your risk of atherosclerosis
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.”
One study established the importance of the oxidation of LDL cholesterol by writing that “oxidative modification of LDL cholesterol is thought to play 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.”
Reduce your risk of hypertension
Two medical reviews composed of findings from 327 different studies conducted specifically on flavonoids, and their findings revealed that "dietary flavonoids are associated with a lower risk of hypertension and CVD (cardiovascular disease).”
The publishers of these reviews also observed that “the blood pressure level was reduced in patients with hypertension” after greater consumption of flavonoids.
Finally, one study concluded the following: “Flavonoids in tea may lower blood cholesterol concentrations and blood pressure, thereby providing some protection against cardiovascular disease.”
Reduce your risk of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and dementia
We read a very interesting study which 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.”
Reduce your risk of erectile dysfunction
Results from one study "showed that “flavonoid consumption 50 mg/day reduced the risk of erectile dysfunction by 32%.” Another study supported these results, as it concluded that "flavonoid-rich foods are associated with a reduced incidence of erectile dysfunction.”
Moreover, another study found that "men with erectile dysfunction reported a lower monthly average of total flavonoid intake."
Due to the antioxidant capacity of flavonoids, another study concludes that flavonoids "may ameliorate erectile dysfunction by inhibiting oxidative stress."
Improves nausea, abdominal pain, digestive issues and loss of appetite
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 potent antibacterial and antiviral activity of Palo Azul and its flavonoids.
The powerful anti-inflammatory property of palo azul is responsible for some of its most popular uses! Namely, it can improve sciatic nerve health, reduce back pain, arthritis, and joint pain.
Six different studies concluded in their results that palo azul induced a significant inhibition of inflammation and/or showed anti-inflammatory activity.
Reduces sciatic nerve pain
Studies have found 2 main reasons why palo azul can reduce sciatic nerve pain.
1. The first reason is due to the fact that this pain is commonly caused by a buildup of uric acid in the blood and palo azul is an active reducer of uric acid levels.
2. The second reason is due to inflammation, as this is another common cause of sciatic nerve pain and we already know that palo azul is a potent anti-inflammatory.
One medical 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.”
Reduces back pain and arthritis
One 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 (9).”
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.”
Reduces joint pain
Like sciatic nerve pain, joint pain is commonly caused by inflammation. But the anti-inflammatory activity of palo azul is not the only reason it can improve your joint health.
One 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 finding is supported by epidemiology (population) studies which have shown “flavonoid consumption to have a stronger association with bone than general fruit and vegetable consumption.”
Several studies have found that extracts from palo azul “significantly reduced blood glucose levels” and showed “good anti-diabetic activity.” In fact, 3 different studies have found that palo azul can improve insulin sensitivity, insulin secretion, glucose metabolism and/or increase muscle mass.
Another study concluded the following: “The results indicate that EP (Palo Azul) has good antidiabetic activity and therefore could be used to prevent the development of diabetes.”
A medical review analyzed a large cohort of women and demonstrated that "flavonoids are protective against type 2 diabetes.”
Asides from all this, 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.”
Antiviral & Antibacterial
A medical review which analyzed the results of 161 studies that mentioned that flavonoids (found in palo azul) proved to be “potent antimicrobial and viral inhibitors.”
Therefore, they are found to be effective against many infectious diseases (bacterial and viral) such as E. coli.
Protects against bacteria and 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 treating tooth pain, gum diseases, cavities, and bad breath.
Another study even found that it “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."
Protects against viruses
Another 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: One medical study concluded that flavonoids “are an important source for the discovery and the development of novel antiviral drugs.”
We recently read 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 hundreds 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. For example, general anesthesia and morphine are antinociceptives.
One 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.”
Here's an interesting finding: 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. :)
*Note: Palo Azul is commonly referred by its scientific name: Eysenhardtia polystachya / E. polystachya / E.P or Cyclolepis genistoides / C. genistoides
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