5 Reasons Why Palo Azul May Improve Arthritis Health

woman with back pain

Studies "support the use of palo azul for the treatment of arthritis and pain management"

Ever since the 1600s, palo azul tea has been a popular traditional medicine for improving inflammatory ailments such as arthritis, sciatica, rheumatism, lumbago and gout. Recently, studies have observed palo azul's potent anti-inflammatory properties and the studies have supported palo azul's efficacy for these traditional uses.

In fact, according to the Arthritis Foundation, "tea is one of the most-studied drinks when it comes to its benefits for arthritis patients. Teas are rich in polyphenols – compounds from plants that have strong anti-inflammatory effects."

Palo azul tea is indeed rich in polyphenols, which contribute to its anti-inflammatory fame. A 2021 study even 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.”

polyphenols flavonoids family tree

 

1. Anti-inflammatory

omega 3 antiinflammatory

2016 study found that palo azul "exhibited significant anti-inflammatory activityand 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.”

Another study which supports these findings found that palo azul "showed a significant inhibition of the carrageenan-induced inflammation" and the authors concluded that "these results give support to the use of this plant as an anti-inflammatory in traditional medicine.

 

2. Anti-arthritic

woman with arthritis pain

The previously cited 2016 study also found that palo azul had a "significantly dose-related anti-arthritic activity in M. tuberculosis-induced adjuvant arthritis test in rats, which is considered close to simulating human rheumatoid arthritis."

Because of this property, 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)."

2018 study similarly concluded the following: "Our findings support the use of Eysenhardtia polystachya bark (palo azul) for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and pain management."

 

3. Uric acid reducer

woman healing sciatic nerve pain

In addition to palo azul's anti-inflammatory activity, studies have also shown that palo azul can reduce uric acid levels. Accumulation of uric acid levels is commonly associated with inflammation, arthritis, sciatica and gout.

2008 study mentions that 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.” 

Moreover, a 2019 study on palo azul which supports this finding, explains that "the accumulation of uric acid generates the production of monosodium urate crystals that can cause inflammatory and pain response, leading to renal and hepatic injuries."

This study found that “groups treated with the dihydrochalcone (palo azul extract) showed a significantly decreased uric acid.”

 

4. Rich in flavonoids

palo azul and fruits flavonoids

Numerous studies have found that palo azul tea is rich in flavonoids, which are natural phytonutrients found in plants, vegetables, fruits, and teas. You can learn all about flavonoids in our article here, but for now...just know that thousands of studies have shown their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-aging properties.

This 2018 study explains the specific anti-arthritic biological mechanisms of palo azul's flavonoids:

“We evaluated the anti-arthritic and antinociceptive properties of an ethanolic extract of E. polystachya (palo azul) bark and its rich-flavonoids fractions in murine models. 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."

What is cartilage degradation, leukocyte infiltration and cytokines?

cool skeleton

Cartilage degradation, or Osteoarthritis, occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of bones in your joints gradually deteriorates.

Leukocyte infiltration contributes to the development of tissue injury associated with inflammatory diseases. Leukocytes are activated to secrete a variety of substances such as growth factors, chemokines and cytokines, which are considered to be one of the primary sources of the tissue injury

Cytokines are involved in the up-regulation of inflammatory reactions.

In other words... flavonoids showed the ability to reduce bone deterioration and tissue injury because of their anti-inflammatory activity.  

palo azul vs milk

* Here's a surprising finding! A study found that flavonoids “have the most potential of dietary components for promotion of bone health beyond calcium and vitamin D.” The researchers mention that "recent epidemiological studies show flavonoid consumption to have a stronger association with bone than general fruit and vegetable consumption.”

2012 study explains the beneficial biological mechanisms of flavonoids in bone health:

“Flavonoids have been reported to enhance bone formation and to inhibit bone resorption through their action on cell signaling pathways that influence osteoblast and osteoclast differentiation.”

What does bone formation/resorption and osteoblast/osteoclast mean?

bone health

Bone formation, also called ossification, is the process by which new bone is produced.

Bone resorption is the destruction of bone tissues that promotes bone loss, that is, a decrease in bone mass and bone density.

Osteoblasts are cells that are involved in the formation and mineralization of bones

Osteoclasts are the cells that degrade bone to initiate normal bone remodeling and mediate bone loss in pathologic conditions by increasing their resorptive activity.

In other words...flavonoids showed the ability to promote new bone formation and to prevent bone loss or destruction. For these reasons, flavonoids may be even more beneficial for bone health than calcium or vitamin D!

Flavonoid-rich foods: apples, pears, onions, strawberries, blueberries, celery, peppers, and teas

applepearsonionsstrawberries and blueberriescelerypalo azul tea cup


5. Antinociceptive

woman with back pain

Several studies have also shown that palo azul exhibited antinociceptive activity. Antinociception means that it inhibits the sensation of a painful or harmful stimulus by blocking signals from neurons.

For example, the previously cited 2018 study found that palo azul “decreased the serum levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and showed antinociceptive activity."

This 2009 study mentions that "pro-inflammatory cytokines are involved in the up-regulation of inflammatory reactions, and there is abundant evidence that certain pro-inflammatory cytokines are involved in the process of pathological pain."

In other words...palo azul showed the ability to decrease pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are associated with inflammation and pain. 

palo azul and fruits with flavonoids

* Here's an interesting finding: 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, the researchers of this study concluded the following: "The results here presented corroborate the folk medicinal use of palo azul in the treatment of infections, diarrhea, inflammation, and pain."

Conclusion

In summary, palo azul tea may help to improve arthritis health because it's anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, antinociceptive, it reduces uric acid, and it's rich in flavonoids. Evidence suggests that all these properties could help to improve bone health associated with arthritis, sciatica, joint pain, rheumatism, lumbago and gout.

  

magiktea palo azul logo

Get some antinociception...
and decrease your pro-inflammatory cytokines! 😉
 
 
 

Clinical Studies

* Palo azul is commonly referred to by its scientific name: Eysenhardtia polystachya / E. polystachya / E.P - Cyclolepis genistoides / C. genistoides - kidney wood - palo dulce

 

(April 2021) Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of South America: Cyclolepis Genistoides

Arthritis Foundation: Best Drinks for Arthritis

(Winter 2018) The Ethanolic Extract of Eysenhardtia polystachya (Ort.) Sarg. Bark and Its Fractions Delay the Progression of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Show Antinociceptive Activity in Murine Models

(2013, Dec 29) (Medical review: 166 studies) Chemistry and Biological Activities of Flavonoids: An Overview 

(May 25, 2011) Anti-inflammatory properties from isolated compounds of Cyclolepis genistoides 

(Feb 29, 2015) Evolution of anti-inflammatory activity of the bark of Eysenhardtia polystachia in experimental animal models

(2012) Flavonoid intake and bone health

(2009) Chapter 18 -  Flavonoids and Cardiovascular Health

(2016, Dec 29) (Medical Review: 161 studies) Flavonoids: an overview 

(Dec 1, 2011) SEPARACIÓN Y EVALUACIÓN DEL EFECTO ANTIINFLAMATORIO Y ANTIOXIDANTE DE LOS FLAVONOIDES DE Eysenhardtia polystachya (Ort.) Sarg. 

(Oct, 2018) Pharmacological and toxicological study of a chemical-standardized ethanol extract of the branches and leaves from Eysenhardtia polystachya (Ortega) Sarg. (Fabaceae) 

(2013, Dec 29) (Medical review: 166 studies) Chemistry and Biological Activities of Flavonoids: An Overview 

(2003) Lupin

(2014) Chapter 23 - The Role of Direct and Indirect Polyphenolic Antioxidants in Protection Against Oxidative Stress 

(2014)  Chapter 32 - Anti-Inflammatory and Immunomodulatory Properties of Dietary Flavonoids 

(2009) Cytokines, Inflammation and Pain