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Insights from an Expert: Health Benefits and Side Effects of Palo Azul Tea

Isn’t it fascinating how our world is full of surprises, especially when it comes to the incredible variety of plants and animals? One tree that might not be on everyone’s radar is Palo azul, also known as Eysenharditia Polystachya or kidneywood. It’s native to Mexico and parts of the United States, and this part I got to know only during my stint in Guadalajara.

Naturally, I was surprised to know that for centuries, its bark, leaves, and berries have been harnessed to address an array of ailments. In recent years, palo azul tea has become popular as a natural remedy for kidney and urinary tract problems. Nature sure has some amazing tricks up its sleeve!

In specific cultural practices, purification rites include the use of incense crafted from Palo Azul wood, known for its symbolic and spiritual significance. Nevertheless, the predominant method of incorporating Palo Azul into daily life involves the preparation of a soothing tea.

This traditional brew is typically made by steeping either the bark or leaves of the Palo Azul plant in hot water, a process that has been embraced for its potential health benefits and wellness properties.

There is substantial evidence that it has been utilized as a herbal treatment by indigenous people for hundreds of years (SalinasHernández, 2008). Here, I am about to share everything I came to know about the potential health benefits and also the side effects to look out for when consuming Palo Azul.

What Is Palo Azul?

Palo Azul, scientifically known as Eysenhardtia polystachya, is a small tree belonging to the Fabaceae botanical family, and it goes by various common names such as Coate, palo azul, palo cuate, and more. This native of Mexico and Southwestern North America has been utilized for centuries, with its wood, branches, and leaves being integral components.

A distinctive aspect of Palo Azul lies in its transformative influence on water when its wood chips are steeped; the resultant tea takes on a striking blue hue, a phenomenon attributed to a unique chemical compound called tetrahydromethanobenzofuro[2,3-d]oxacine.

I would like to point that medicinally, Palo Azul has a rich history among indigenous peoples, particularly in Mexico and Central America, with applications ranging from treating urinary tract diseases and kidney inflammation to alleviating fevers and colics. So now you know one of the reasons those people were so hardy.

Additionally, studies have highlighted its potential acaricidal effects against cattle ticks and its antioxidant, liver-protective, and hypoglycemic properties, suggesting promising applications against conditions like type 2 diabetes. Moreover, Palo Azul exhibits antimicrobial, cytotoxic, and insecticidal properties, showcasing its diverse and multifaceted contributions to traditional medicine.

Since the 16th century, South Americans have relied on palo azul tea for medicinal purposes, and the remarkable fluorescence of this tea is what originally drew Europeans to it. Its diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant characteristics have made palo azul a popular supplement for improving kidney, liver, and urinary tract health since then. The alkalinizing benefits of palo azul are well-known and have been theorized to improve digestion and dental health.

How To Make Palo Azul Tea?

Palo Azul Tea Health Benefits And Side Effects Explained

Palo Azul comes as small pieces of wood. About 1-2 ounces of Palo Azul are used to make the tea. Using a tea infuser, filter bag, or strainer, heat 1 gallon of filtered water and 1 pound of Palo Azul for 1 hour (steep longer for optimal benefits) Serve cold or warm, and drink over the course of a few hours. The result is a tone that is smooth, warm, friendly, and has earthy tones.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Palo Azul Tea?

According to research, natural products and their derivatives make up a significant proportion of the drugs in use today. In fact, it is estimated that more than 50% of all drugs in clinical use are derived from or inspired by natural products, with higher plants contributing about 25% of this total (Si-Yuan, 2013).

In recent years, modern medicine has made progress in understanding the science behind the therapeutic benefits of natural substances, recognizing that plants can be powerful sources of medicine.

Research studies on palo azul have provided some information on the potential medicinal properties and benefits of this plant which include:

May Improve Kidney Health

Buildup of bacteria and toxins in the urinary tract is a common cause of urinary tract infections and kidney stones. Palo Azul’s diuretic properties allow for more frequent urination, which washes away harmful substances and bacteria from the kidneys and the urinary system. This diuretic impact has been shown to have beneficial effects on kidney function and urinary tract health, including decreased inflammation and decreased risk of kidney stones and infections.

Palo Azul Tea Health Benefits And Side Effects Explained

May Help In Weight Loss

Because it aids digestion and speeds up the metabolism, Palo Azul tea can be useful for losing weight. Palo Azul’s active components help the body produce more of the fat- and carbohydrate-digesting enzymes it needs. This procedure assists weight loss by improving nutrient absorption, blocking the formation of new fat cells, and decreasing overall body mass.

As an added bonus, Palo Azul has been shown to speed up metabolism, which in turn aids in calorie expenditure and hence, weight loss. Because it is a diuretic, Palo Azul can assist with water and toxin elimination, which can therefore lead to a smaller waistline.

Has Anti-inflammatory Properties

Due to its high flavonoid content, palo azul tea has been shown in many studies to have strong anti-inflammatory effects. For example, this 2018 study found that “EE (palo azul) and its rich-flavonoids fractions inhibited secondary inflammatory reactions” and “also decreased the serum levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines.”

A study from 2011 also found that “fractions rich in flavonoids in palo azul reduce inflammation in chronic inflammation.”

Has Antioxidant Properties

Many studies have also shown that palo azul tea is good for you because it is high in flavonoids and polyphenolics. So, they’ve shown that palo azul tea stopped oxidative stress, free radicals, and the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and reactive oxygen species (ROS).

For example, a 2021 study found that palo azul tea, which is high in polyphenols, “can reduce the oxidative stress caused by the imbalance between reactive oxygen species (ROS) because of its ability to get rid of free radicals.”

Has Anti-Diabetic Properties

A study done by Japanese researchers focused on the anti-diabetic effects of Palo (Cyclolepis genistoides D. Don). The research aimed to elucidate the mechanism behind its anti-diabetes activity, particularly with a focus on insulin resistance. The findings indicated that Palo promoted adipocyte differentiation and regulated adipokine profiles, which are relevant to diabetes.

It also demonstrated positive effects on muscle cell differentiation and activation, which is significant for managing diabetes-related issues. Therefore, the study provided insights into how Palo’s various actions contribute to its anti-diabetic effects, particularly by targeting insulin resistance and associated metabolic pathways.

May Improve Heart Health

Palo Azul tea has the potential to improve cardiovascular health by reducing cholesterol and blood pressure. The flavonoids in Palo Azul tea may help lower bad cholesterol and prevent the formation of plaque in the arteries, which can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The tannins in Palo Azul tea can also relax the muscles around the blood vessels, improving blood flow and reducing strain on the heart. By incorporating Palo Azul tea into your diet, you may be able to enjoy these potential benefits.

May Improve Digestion

Palo Azul tea may improve digestive health by stimulating digestion and preventing constipation. The tannins in the tea may stimulate digestive enzymes that help break down food, while the flavonoids may increase bile production, which helps with the digestion of fatty foods and prevents indigestion.

Overall, incorporating Palo Azul tea into your diet may help with digestion and prevent digestive issues such as constipation. However, it is always important to speak with a healthcare professional before adding any new supplement or natural remedy to your healthcare routine.

May Help In Arthritis

A recent study showed that Palo Azul could stop Rheumatoid Arthritis from getting worse. They found that the flavonoids in Palo Azul stopped the inflammatory pathways, lessened the changes in the joint capsule’s histopathology, and lowered the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the blood.

Palo Azul Side Effects

Palo Azul tea is generally considered to be safe, with few reported side effects. However, some people may experience gastrointestinal distress after consuming the tea. It is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women, as there is limited research on the potential impacts of Palo Azul tea on pregnancy and lactation.

Oh, and while Palo Azul tea is a relatively safe beverage, I would always recommend to speak with a healthcare professional before adding any new supplement or natural remedy to your healthcare routine.


Rahul is a sports and performance consultant. Over the course of his 15-year career in the fitness sector, he has held positions as a strength and conditioning instructor, gym owner, and consultant. He is deeply committed to assisting people in finding happiness and feeling good about themselves. Rahul has a master's degree in exercise science and is a certified NSCA CSCS and CISSN.

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