Teas are probably the single most comforting and healing drink to me. Now there’s a bold statement if I ever heard one. But I mean it. I can’t think of a time when I didn’t turn to one tea or another to help me recover from some health issue Iced Matcha Green Tea Latte while providing great taste in the process.
As a rule, I tend to drink more herbal teas in the Fall and Winter when I feel most vulnerable to viruses. Things seem more chaotic and pressured then. It’s just too easy to abandon common sense and start pushing good health boundaries. A little extra immune support by way of healing herbal teas is a great option for chasing away those blues and bugs. And one of the teas I turn to first is Pau d’Arco.
Pau d’Arco (pronounced pow-dee-ar-co) tea first came under my radar in the 1980’s and has been there ever since. At that time it was a fringe tea touted by “health nuts” for its miraculous healing powers for a number of serious ailments. Since I didn’t want to be left out of the affiliation, I quickly introduced this stunning tea into my tea collection. The qualities were simply too intriguing to ignore.
Pau-d’Arco has a very pleasant taste. I would describe the steeped flavor of this exotic tea as Earthy and different, yet mild and soothing. In fact, I like to drink it plain as well as in my recipes below. Because of its origins, Pau d’Arco tea is especially delicious when infused with warming spices.
Here are a few factoids you may want to check out about this weighty herb:
- Pau d’Arco is a natural grown herb that is derived from the inner bark of the Tabebuia Avellanedae or Tabebuia Impetiginosa (Taheebo) tree grown in South America.
- Pau d’Arco tea has been used for many centuries by the Indio tribes of South America. The ancient Incas and Aztecs were probably the first to be familiar with the healing powers. Stories abound telling of its miraculous curing powers. The main active healing principles are lapachol and quercetin and other important flavonoids.
- Pau d’Arco tea can be useful for managing diabetes, fibromyalgia (FMS), candida and lupus (SLE) and is especially helpful during the cold and flu season. It’s also an expectorant; it promotes “coughing up” in order to free mucus and contaminants that have been lodged in the lungs.
- Pau d’Arco tea is considered especially helpful for cancer patients, anywhere from alleviation of chemotherapy symptoms to complete remission of tumors without any side effects.
Two ways I love to enjoy this incredible tea are in a latte and in a cider type beverage. Both drinks provide needed profound healing and either warm me up or cool me down, tasting great either way. To make the tea, I steep the Pau d’Arco in very warm water to gently extract the nutrients and qualities of the tea. I also think this method produces a richer flavor but you can use hot or boiling water and steep in less time if you want.
For the Apple Spice Tea – I added fresh enzyme-rich apple juice, warm spices, and zesty lemon juice. It tastes similar to sweet cider and can be served either warm or chilled. Fireplace is my space alongside my cider.
For the Passion Latte – I added warm spices and natural sweetener, all of which were blended up with rich and creamy coconut butter. Sweet, creamy and soulful, it can be served fresh out of the blender while still frothy over ice, or right into a mug as a warm relaxing drink. Sigh. Healthy foods are such a gift aren’t they?
I hope you enjoy both of these delicious tea-based drinks and experience the unique and exceptional qualities they both bring. Once you’ve tried Pau d’Arco tea, it’s sure to grace your cup regularly. It’s one of the oldest herbal teas known to man providing both healing power and flavor, and affords us a glimpse into the potent world that surrounds us. Pau d’Arco tea anyone?
Both recipes are dairy/nut/gluten-free, and serve 1 – 2 persons.
Pau d’Arco Apple Spice Tea
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 cups apple juice (filter if you want very clear tea)
- 3 Pau d’Arco tea bags or 3 tsp bulk tea
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- few cloves
- stevia or other sweetener to taste
- slice of lemon for each serving
- Add warm water to a large container or jar with tea, cinnamon stick and cloves.
- Let steep for 30 – 60 minutes, depending on how strong you want the flavors.
- Remove the cinnamon stick, cloves, and bulk tea or tea bags, squeezing out any excess moisture back into the tea.
- Add the apple juice, lemon juice and sweetener (if using) and stir well.
- Serve warm or chilled with a slice of lemon.
- Yields about 3 cups.
- Can be stored refrigerated up to 3 days.
Pau d’Arco Passion Latte
Substitutions for the coconut butter/coconut cream include:
1/3 cup cashews or macadamia nuts, soaked in water for 2 – 8 hours then drained and rinsed
1/2 cup fresh coconut meat
1 cup full fat coconut milk (omit 1 cup warm water)
- 2 cups warm water
- 3 Pau D’Arco tea bags or 3 tsp bulk tea
- 1/3 cup coconut butter/coconut cream
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon to taste
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- pinch of ground cloves (optional)
- 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla or vanilla-flavored stevia to taste
- 2 – 3 Tbsp coconut/palm sugar or honey or other sweetener of choice to taste
- Add warm water (no more than 118 degrees) to a large jar or glass container with the tea.
- Let steep for at least 15 – 20 minutes or longer depending on how strong you want it.
- Remove bulk tea or tea bags, squeezing out any excess moisture back into the tea.
- Add to a blender with remaining ingredients.
- Blend until very warm and frothy.
- Serve immediately warm or over ice cubes.
- Yields about 2 1/2 cups.
- Can be stored refrigerated up to 3 days. Blend or shake until frothy before serving.