Chaparral

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Chaparral (Larrea tridentata) is a particular herbaceous woody shrub that grows in the southwestern region of the United States and the northern region of Mexico. It is also called creosote bush or greasewood. Chaparral is an herbal preparation made from a desert shrub and used for its antioxidant properties. Chaparral is used orally for the following:

  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Venereal disease
  • Tuberculosis
  • Bowel cramps
  • Colds
  • Chronic cutaneous disorders
  • Weight loss
  • Detoxification
  • As a tonic
  • As an antiparasitic
  • As an antiflatulent
  • As a "blood purifier" for genitourinary and respiratory tract infections
  • Musculoskeletal inflammation
  • Skin diseases
  • GI conditions
  • CNS conditions
  • Chickenpox
  • Snakebite pain

Also known as:  Creosote Bush, Créosotier, Greasewood, Hediondilla, Jarilla, Larreastat

Diseases and Conditions

There is insufficient reliable information available about the effectiveness of chaparral for the following:

  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Venereal disease
  • Tuberculosis
  • Bowel cramps
  • Colds
  • Chronic cutaneous disorders
  • Weight loss
  • Detoxification
  • As a tonic
  • As an antiparasitic
  • As an antiflatulent
  • As a "blood purifier" for genitourinary and respiratory tract infections
  • Musculoskeletal inflammation
  • Skin diseases
  • GI conditions
  • CNS conditions
  • Chickenpox
  • Snakebite pain

Safety

Chaparral is likely unsafe when taken orally because it has been associated with serious poisoning. Due to the toxicity of chaparral, it is unsafe for children, pregnant, and breastfeeding women. Adults may take chaparral orally and topically for medicinal purposes under the supervision of a physician. Adverse reactions from chaparral include liver and kidney damage, acute hepatitis, irreversible renohepatic failure, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, stomatitis, and fever.

Medication Interactions

Chaparral has a moderate interaction with hepatoxic drugs. In theory, chaparral might have additive adverse effects on the liver when used with hepatotoxic drugs. Some drugs that can adversely affect the liver include acetaminophen (Tylenol), amiodarone (Cordarone), carbamazepine (Tegretol), isoniazid (INH), methotrexate (Rheumatrex), methyldopa (Aldomet), and many others.

Supplement and Food Interactions

Chaparral may have an interaction with hepatotoxic herbs and supplements. In theory, chaparral might have additive effects with herbs that cause hepatotoxicity. Other products that might affect the liver include bishop's weed, borage, uva ursi, and others.

Dosage

The correct dosage of any supplement requires a comprehensive analysis of many factors including your age, sex, health conditions, DNA, and lifestyle.

  • The recommended dosage for general use of chaparral is two five hundred milligram capsules or tablets per day for two to three weeks. The chaparral product was not intended for long-term use. At least three informational Web sites that did not sell products cautioned against the use of chaparral capsules because several adverse event reports were associated with this form. There have been reports of painless jaundice, fatigue, and pruritus, as well as subacute hepatic necrosis, and toxic acute hepatitis and hepatic fibrosis. Exposure to lignans, which may yield toxicity, appears to be greater from capsules or tablets than from decoctions of chaparral tea; small doses of tea or tincture have been associated with less toxicity and possibly contain fewer allergenic compounds than found in capsules or tablets.
  • The common dose of chaparral tea is one to three cups (made by steeping one teaspoon of chaparral leaves and flowers in one pint of water for fifteen minutes) taken for one to three weeks.
  • Chaparral in the form of oil, lotion or powder has been applied over affected area several times daily for minor wounds, skin infections (i.e., impetigo, chicken pox, genital herpes simplex), skin cancer, arthritis, and rheumatism.
  • NDGA (the major lignan in chaparral leaf) has been used topically and a topical form (masoprocol cream) is currently approved for use in the US. Clinical trials for topical uses of NDGA (in actinic keratosis, mild-moderate psoriasis, and several types of skin cancer) were approved.
  • In children, chaparral is not recommended for use due to potential toxicity described in reviews and case reports.

Foods

Chaparral may be used in a tea.

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References

  1. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/references.aspx?productid=791
  2. http://naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/nd/Search.aspx?pt=100&id=791&fs=ND&searchid=62550246&cs=&s=ND
  3. https://torreypine.org/nature-center/plants/chaparral/
  4. https://livertox.nih.gov/Chaparral.htm

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