Botanical name: Larrea tridentata
Other names: Creosote bush
This thorny shrub, also known as ‘creosote bush’ for its potent aroma, is native to the deserts of North and South America, where native tribes have long used chaparral as a cure-all.
In recent times, it has become known as a natural cancer treatment. Chaparral contains Nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA), a powerful antioxidant with anti-cancer effects. Antioxidants help inhibit the formation of dangerous substances in the body called free radicals which disrupt normal cell function. Free radicals are believed to be responsible for certain types of cancerous tumours and premature ageing.
Chaparral is also highly antibacterial and antifungal, making it useful for warding off and fighting infections, parasites, UTIs and diarrhoea. It is considered an alterative as well as an anti-inflammatory, helping to purify the blood and relieve the pain of arthritis and rheumatism.
Traditional uses include treating sexually transmitted diseases, skin conditions and food preservation. Other medicinal uses include kidney stones, gallstones, urinary tract infections, rheumatism, arthritis, diabetes, cancer and liver ailments. However, this herb may harm the liver in some people. It is recommended to only use Chaparral under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
Preparation: 1 tsp per cup, simmer 15 minutes. 2 – 3 times daily.
Reference: Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992, Deni Brown (2002), New Encyclopedia of Herbs & Their Uses pp.251-252., Prajapati, Purohit, Sharma & Kumar (2012). A Handbook of Medicinal Plants: A Complete Source Boo,k p. 306. Mills & Bone (2005), The Essential Guide to Herbal Safety, p.332.
Chapparal Common Uses
Absolutely avoid when pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have a past history of liver disease. May harm the liver in some people- best to use under supervision of a herbalist or doctor.