Chaparral (Creosote Bush)
Dried Leaves and Twigs of Organically Grown Chaparral, Larrea tridentata, imported from USA.
Traditional Uses: Chaparral tea has been suggested for the treatment of bronchitis and the common cold. It also was used to alleviate rheumatic pain, stomach pain, chicken pox, and snake bite pain. American Indians used chaparral for arthritis, bowel cramps, gas, colds, and chronic skin disorders. Chaparral has been used internally to treat stomach problems, menstrual disorders, premenstrual syndrome, diabetes, gall bladder and kidney stones, diarrhea, urinary tract infections, and upper respiratory tract infections. Skin application has been promoted for rheumatic and autoimmune conditions, arthritis, back pain, minor wounds, and skin infections, such as impetigo and gingivitis. Chaparral has also been used as a deodorant applied to the feet and armpits. A strong tea from the leaves has been mixed with oil as a burn salve. It is an ingredient in some nonprescription weight loss teas.
In 1943, chaparral was approved by the Meat Inspection Division of the US War Food Administration as a food antioxidant. It was used as a fat and butter preservative until better preservatives were introduced; it was then removed from the FDA's GRAS (generally recognized as safe) list.
In 1959, the National Cancer Institute received reports that several cancer patients claimed beneficial effects from drinking chaparral tea. Years later, a similar treatment was brought to the attention of physicians at the University of Utah. Reports subsequently appeared in the lay literature describing the virtues of chaparral tea as a cancer treatment.
General Uses: Chaparral contains immune stimulating polysaccharides and a key ingredient nor-dihydroguaiaretic acid (NGDA), which has been shown to have some antitumor properties. It is often employed in alternative cancer therapies as a blood purifying remedy. Chaparral is primarily used for the treatment of cancer, acne, rheumatism, and diabetes. It has also been promoted for its antioxidant effects, and as a blood purifier and a weight loss agent.
Caution: It is not certain whether chaparral is effective in treating any medical condition. Medicinal use of this product has not been approved by the FDA or TGA. Chaparral should not be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor.
Contraindications: Increased risk for liver toxicity is expected in patients with poor liver function. Chaparral is not recommended for use in patients with poor kidney function due to a risk of toxicity, or in poor kidney function. Do not use in pregnancy and lactation. May cause allergic skin reaction.
1. Chaparral. Review of Natural Products. Facts & Comparisons [database online]. St. Louis, MO: Wolters Kluwer Health Inc; March 2011.
Disclaimer: The above information is for general educational purpose and does not aim to serve as a treatment guide or therapeutic claim.