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What is palo azul used for?

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Quick Answer

Palo azul is a herb that has traditionally been used to treat kidney problems, diarrhea and diabetes. It was also believed to prevent miscarriages. In modern markets, it is frequently marketed as a detoxification and diuretic agent.

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Full Answer

Palo azul is a native Mexican shrub that can grow to be as small as 3 feet or as high as 20 feet. Its scientific name is Eysenhardtia polystachya, and it is a member of the legume family. Gardening guides recommend it as an ideal plant for dry gardens with rocky soil. It is also a common food source for livestock and wild animals, and its flowers attract pollinating bees.

The palo azul herb is usually consumed as a tea brewed from both the leaves and the stems of the shrub, as well as drying it and turning it into powder, which can then be consumed. The plant likely got its name, which means "blue stick" in Spanish, as a result of the blue dye derived from its wood. It is also known as kidneywood, a direct reference to its medicinal value, palo santo and palo dolce. First mentions of the plant in writing come from the 16th century, when a scholar purported it to be a cure for hiccups. It was first suggested as a cure for kidney ailments in the 18th century.

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