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Chaparral


    Scientific Names

    Chaparral
    • Larrea divaricata L.
    • Larrea tridentata
    • Zygophyllaceae

    Common Names

    ivyChaparro (Mexican name)
    ivyCreosote bush
    ivyDwarf evergreen oak
    ivyGobonadora
    ivyGreasewood
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    Parts Usually Used

    Leaves and stems
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    Description of Plant(s) and Culture

    Chaparral belongs to a group of desert Artimesia. The dark green stems and leaves (if drought season, pale or yellowish-green) provide a 4-8 foot miniature desert-forest. Distinguished from the usual gray color of the other desert species. The strong-scented leaves are opposite and are divided into two leaflets. The bright yellow, five petal flowers, 1/2 inch or more across, appear in spring and winter. The fruit is rounded, up to about 1/4 inch long, and is covered with white hairs.
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    Where Found

    It is a Native American term referring to over 100 different botanical plant types growing in alkali soil, from narrow strips to over 100 sq. miles in the south-western part of the United States. Beginning at La Joya, California, extending eastward through California, across Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. Australia and northern Argentina in South America have similar plants.
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    Medicinal Properties

    Alterative, antitumor, laxative
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    Biochemical Information

    Nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA) (has pronounced antioxidant and anticancer effects), sodium, sulfur, and zinc. Gums, resins, protein, partially characterized esters, acids, alcohol, a small amount of a mixture of sterols, sucrose, and a very small amount of volatile oils. No alkaloids detected and it is non-toxic.
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    Legends, Myths and Stories

    The American pioneers learned about this versatile herb from Native Americans. Containing a powerful antioxidant, nordihyroguaiaretic acid (NDGA), Chaparral can be applied directly on wounds and injuries. Antioxidants inhibit the formation of dangerous substances in the body called free radicals, which disrupt normal cell function. Free radicals combine at random with components of healthy cells and interfere with normal cell growth. Free radicals are believed to be responsible for certain types of cancerous tumors and premature aging. Antioxidants prevent free radicals from doing their damage, thus helping to slow the growth of tumors and perhaps even retard the aging process. A biochemist of Louisville, Kentucky, who tested the effects of NDGA on female mosquitoes, reported that he was able to double their average life span from 29 days to 45 days. This herb also helps the body ward off infection, fights parasites, and is useful for urinary tract infections and diarrhea. An anti-inflammatory, Chaparral also relieves pain and swelling caused by arthritis and rheumatism.

    In 1967, after 3 previous surgically removed growths, an 85 year old man refused further medical treatment on the 4th similar growth, documented to be malignant melanoma. He favored “Chaparral tea”, an old Native American remedy. He drank 2-3 cups of this tea every day. Eleven months later he was re-examined by medical professionals caring for him previously. They found the growth had decreased from the size of a large lemon to that of a dime. No other medication was used, only the Chaparral tea. In that 11 months he gained a needed 25 lbs., with improvements in general health. Previous to the Chaparral tea treatment, he was pale, weak and lethargic.
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    Uses

    A bitter herb that acts as a free radical scavenger. Protects from harmful effects of radiation and sun exposure. Good for skin disorders, boils, leg cramps, cystitis, diarrhea, rids the body of excess water weight, rheumatism, and arthritis. Relieves pain, purifies the blood, increases adrenal ascorbic acid levels, and protects against the formation of tumors and cancer cells. Improves kidney, lung, and liver function.

    Chaparral has been used to treat cancer, and a mouthwash used on a daily basis will prevent dental caries (cavities).

    Useful in acne, warts, and blotches, backache, worms, increases hair growth, improves eye sight, increases bowel elimination (though not a laxative), helps kidney infection, leukemia, prostate gland trouble, skin cancer, sinus, stomach cancer, sore throat, bronchial and pulmonary conditions, and weight reducing.
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    Formulas or Dosages

    Infusion: place 1 tbsp. of Chaparral leaves and small twigs into a glass screw-top jar. Pour 1 pint of boiling water over this, cover and let stand overnight. Do not refrigerate, do not remove surface settlement. Drink a quarter of the liquid 1/2 hour before each meal and at night time.

    To some, the strong taste of creosote is unpleasant as a tea. Different strengths of tablets are available.

    Tablet form: take 1 before each meal and 1 at bedtime.

    When using the loose tea in the above amounts, approximately 40% of the available properties is extracted with total daily intake around 200-500 mg. Herbalists combine other herbs with Chaparral as case requires.

    Tincture: take 20-30 drops.

    Extract: mix 10 to 30 drops in liquid 3 times daily. May apply extract directly on injured skin.
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    How Sold

    Tablets

    Capsules: take 1 capsule 3 times daily.
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    Bibliography

    Buy It! 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

    Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

    Buy It! Earl Mindell's Herb Bible, by Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D., Simon & Schuster/Fireside, Rockefeller Center 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020

    Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements, by James F. Balch, M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C., Avery Publishing Group, Inc., Garden City Park, NY

    Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

    Buy It! Webster's New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

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