Our gardener Richard has planted a taheebo plant about two years ago. He says I could make it as a tea but I never did because it was only tiny plant in a pot. Besides, why would I want to cut off the beautiful white-spiked flower?
I’ve read a few health benefits of pau d’arco from some of my books these past few years. All I know is that they’re available as a tea and as a capsule in health food stores but never thought of buying them as they are out of the budget.
About last two months ago, I found out that the taheebo and pau d’arco are the same and they are actually abundant in our garden. I live here and not even know that they are flourishing back there. There are dozens of different species of pau d’arco and this less popular taheebo (Orthosiphon aristatus or balbas pusa) is what we have in the Philippines. I believe it is one of the native plants of this country. Even if it is not used as a wonder drug compared to other varieties, it shares its many wonder of herbal cure.
Although taheebo is known for its anti-fungal and antibiotic properties including as an immune-booster herb, this type of taheebo is an effective diuretic and cure for kidney and urinary problems. The leaves are supposed to contain a lot of potassium salts.
But let me go further. If you search for the synonyms of damp, you will find that it also means moist, humid and wet. In Chinese medicine, Dampness creates signs of stagnation and sluggishness which makes someone easily tired and heavy. Dampness is also related to edema and water accumulation in all or parts of the body; excess mucus, tumors, cysts, parasites, yeasts and excess body weight. Bitter herbs are good in removing Dampness from the body and that’s what tabeebo does, it drains excess fluid (hence, the word diuretic).
Taheebo leaves are boiled and drank as a tea. It is the only preparation you could do unless you buy them as capsules. They do have a long bitter aftertaste but not as cruelly bitter compared to chaparral or bitter gourd leaf tea.
I don’t drink them on a daily basis because, honestly, I don’t enjoy drinking bitter herbs. I sometimes add honey to sweeten it but the lingering bitter taste is strong. But since they are plentiful, I might as well take the advantage of having access to it.
Cheers to pau d'arco/taheebo.