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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. 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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