Dec 032012


Earth Medicine 

by Eddie D Katz 


Do not consume seeds

Do not consume seeds

Desert Chaparral/Creosote

Desert Chaparral/Creosote



Chaparral is very inexpensive and can be purchased in many forms
at your local health food store. I like to wild-craft Chaparral after the

Winter rains and before it goes to seed. Through my many years of using
this herb, I have found no adverse side effects. The
FDA attempted to take it off the market in the early 1990s claiming
that it caused damage to the liver. It has since been vindicated
enough to be available today. The pharmaceutical industry has long
been envious of products that grow wild in your own yard since they
cannot patent them. As long as natural, inexpensive remedies in the
form of herbs or weeds are growing around us, we need to learn how
to utilize them just as our great grand parents did.


Also Known as Greasewood, or Hediondilla

Larrea Tridentata

Chaparral is about the most powerful Herb in antioxidant, cleanser, anti-tumor agent, pain killer, and antiseptic.


Alpha-pinene, amino acids, beta-pinene, cobalt, gossypetin, limonene, nordihydroguaiaretic acid or NDGA, zinc.

Parts Used

The part you want is the leaves, but only after you’ve dried them for two months. It’s toxic to the liver if not dried for two months. During the two months it will oxidize and become safe to consume. (With most foods, we’re aiming to prevent oxidization. In this case, we’re doing the opposite.)

Build your Immune System!

Chaparral is medicinally powerful for antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti fungal, antiviral purposes.    


Chaparral (Larrea Tridentata) is a prominent species in the Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan Deserts of western North America, and its range includes those and other regions in portions of California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and western Texas in the United States, and northern Chihuahua and Sonora in Mexico. It is closely related to the South American Larrea divaricata and was formerly treated as the same species.

CHAPARRAL (Larrea Tridentata) Especially known for its actions with arthritis and cancer. The Native American Indians considered it a panacea. Cleansing to the lower bowel and toning to the peristaltic muscles. Considered to be a blood purifier and cleansing to the liver. Useful in treating diseases such as eczema, gall stones, gonorrhea, fevers, scarlet fever, high blood pressure, psoriasis, arthritis, and cancer (especially skin and lymphatic cancers). Use externally as a wash for wounds and sores. Beneficial to the lymphatics and to the urethral tract via toning the systems and rebuilding the tissues. Very bitter but works fast. Considered a blood-purifier; helps with leg cramps, boils and acne. May be used with therapies for the kidneys.


 About the safety of Chaparral. Many years ago a couple of people grossly overdosed on chaparral and had liver problems. They thought, “A little’s good, a lot’s better.” This is like thinking that since cooking something at 350 degrees for 30 minutes makes it come out well-cooked, cooking it at 700 degrees for an hour will make it much better. Learn and Know your dosage.

Professional herbalists presently agree that judicious use of chaparral is safe and effective.Regarding the toxicity of Chaparral, Dr. Ara Der Marderosian, Professor of Pharmacognosy and Medicinal Chemistry at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science wrote, “No cases of toxicity have been reported with the use of Chaparral tea.” (Der Marderosian and Liberti, 1988).

Treat Chaparral like the most strongest anti bacterial… use it for a week or two then stop. Let your body adjust. I wait for times like before winter to take it to build the immune system up. I was on Cipro for two weeks for infection that did not clear so I started chaparral and that worked after one week.

Cowboys who rode through this desert ecosystem realized they needed protection for their legs from the stiff bushes growing several feet high in this region, and they evolved leather leggings to wear, which they called “chaps,” after chaparral.

Wildcrafting Chaparral

The best time to harvest is after the winter rains. The NDGA resin travels up from the roots to the leaves and has a shiny glow. Harvest before the flowers turn to seed and never consume the seeds as they have possible toxicity. 

Do not consume seeds

Shiny resin of Creosote


The Creosote bush serves many medicinal purposes: cure of fever, influenza, colds, upset stomach, gas gout, arthritis, sinusitis, anemia, and fungus infections (CRC Ethnobotany, June 12, 1999). Creosote also has antimicrobial properties, making it a useful first aid. It is also beneficial in the treatment of allergies, autoimmunity diseases, and Premenstrual Syndrome.  Creosote serves as an analgesic, antidiarrheal , diuretic, and emetic. When used as a tea, the leaves and small twigs must be gathered, washed, and dried in the sun. The usable parts must then be ground into a powder and stored in a glass container because of the oils produced. (information provided by Nellie Chavez, Employee of Vita-Man Nutrition Center). Creosote can be used on the skin as a tincture or salve, has a natural SPF to protect and preserve the skin and can be taken internally as a tea or capsule. Although there are such a variety of medicinal purposes the Creosote serves, use of this plant is controversial to some. According to research “chemical constituents in Creosote bush may inhibit the growth of cancerous cells, but other studies have shown exactly the opposite” Another reason for the controversial use of Creosote bush is because of its “potential toxic effect on the liver”. The toxicity is from using the seed, which has high amounts of Turpene. Do not consume the seeds!

Use 6-12 drops of extract or tincture in juice, water, under the tongue or as desired. May be taken 3 times daily. Shake well. Store in cool dark place. Keep out of reach of children. I  Sprinkle Tblsp of dried leaf on steeping water for 15 minutes, drain through screen, drink up within 5 minutes because it gets stronger tasting if left to long. Powder the leaf and fill capsules, take up to 3 a day. Know that the bitter flavor can become most tolerable when you know how medicinal Chaparral Is.


Creosote Bush Flowers


They only “breathe” in the mornings

Rain is rare in the desert, and any plant has to be able to get as much of it as it can while losing as little of it as possible. The problem all plants face is that they must “breathe” in carbon dioxide through openings on the underside of their leaves called stomata, but doing so means they lose water. This becomes a big problem when it is especially hot and dry as it always is during the day in the desert. So the creosote bush only opens its stomata in the mornings when the humidity is relatively high and the loss of water is the lowest.  It is during this time that creosote bush undergoes photosynthesis, and shuts it down when the sun rises higher.



Chaparral (Larrea Divaricata)(Larrea Tridentata) is a desert shrub that grows in Mexico and the southwestern United States. It is also known as greasewood and creosote bush, because of the distinctive tar-like fragrance of its tiny leaves. The odor is very strong after a rain, a unique and pleasing desert smell. Native Americans made tea from the leaves of this plant to treat chicken pox, colds, diarrhea, menstrual cramps, pain, snake bites, skin disorders, and rheumatism. Others have promoted it for an even longer list of ailments ranging from acne to dandruff, diabetes, PMS, sciatica, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcers, urinary tract infections, and cancer. Chaparral is available today in capsules and tablets as well as tincture form.

Chaparral contains a powerful antioxidant called NDGA ( Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid) that has been used as a food preservative and may account for some of its medicinal properties.  Although it has been linked to rare cases of kidney and liver dysfunction, it appears to be generally nontoxic. It does not cause hepatitis, as some sources state. But the tea tastes terrible and tends to give you nasty burps, and I haven’t seen any scientific evidence showing that it is effective for any of the conditions for which it is so often recommended, including cleansing the body of toxins. I do recommend chaparral for topical use. Mexican herbalists have long valued it for healing eczema and other kinds of skin irritation and inflammation, and I find that it works well, better than many pharmaceutical products. You can buy chaparral lotions or salves from stores that sell herbal preparations. If you live in an area where chaparral grows, you can make your own remedies from it. To make a poultice, steep leaves in hot water until the liquid has a strong smell, then soak a cloth in it and apply it to the affected area. If a large portion of the skin is involved, add a liter or so of strong chaparral tea to a bath that you can soak in.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid (NDGA) is a potent antioxidant compound found in the long-lived creosote bush. It is believed that NDGA reduces cell damage by free radicals, so under the free-radical theory of aging, could be responsible for the bush’s long life. NDGA is one of the most medicinal resins of all herbs. Chaparral growing in the Mohave desert has been Radiocarbon date tested to be around 11,000 years old!

A 1986 study involved feeding female mosquitoes NDGA to test the effect on their average life span. While the usual mosquito life span was 29 days, the NDGA-fed mosquitoes lived an average of 45 days—an increase of 50 percent. A 2008 study reported that nordihydroguaiaretic acid lengthened the lifespan of male mice, but not of female mice.The plant has been used to treat a variety of illnesses including infertility, rheumatism, arthritis, diabetes, gallbladder and kidney stones, pain and inflammation but its use is controversial. It was widely used during the 1950s as a food preservative and to preserve natural fibers but was later banned after reports of toxicity during the early 1960s. Recently, it has been used as a nutritional supplement, however renal and hepatotoxicity are reported for chronic use of creosote bush and NDGA.  Treat this herb like powerful medicine. Only use for up to 2-3 weeks and take a break for 2 weeks. A routine respectfully given to all medicinal herbs.

Chaparral should always be backed up by using Probiotics and fermented foods. Separate the two by 4-8 hour intervals.   click here for more Science on Chaparral

Chaparral contains lignans that are very similar to estrogen, giving it an effect on the skin similar to that of soy taken internally. Applied to the skin, chaparral can have a remarkable healing effect on eczema, herpes, cold sores, psoriasis, and contact dermatitis.


(NaturalNews) If you search for natural cancer remedies, you’ll eventually find information about chaparral — a powerful healing herb that grows in the desert regions of the American Southwest (among other places). (In fact, where I used to live in Tucson, chaparral just grows wild all over the place The chaparral plants just seem endless…) But it’s not just good against cancer: Chaparral is also a powerful anti-bacterial and anti-viral medicine.

In the paragraphs below, you’ll find an amazing collection of supporting quotes about chaparral’s anti-cancer properties from some of the best natural health authors in the industry. Read and enjoy this unique compilation of evidence that supports the natural medicinal properties of this traditional Native American herb.

Chaparral vs. Cancer

11700 yrs old from cloning itself/King Clone

11700 yrs old from cloning itself/King Clone

Chaparral [Larrea tridentata), also known as creosote bush, has been used by Native Americans to treat a variety of illnesses, including cancer. Chaparral contains an ingredient called nor-dihihydroguairetic (NDGA), a potent antitumor agent. NDGA inhibits aerobic and anaerobic glycolysis (the energy-producing ability) of cancer cells. The flavonoids present in chaparral have strong antiviral and antifungal properties.
Herbal Medicine, Healing and Cancer: A Comprehensive Program for Prevention and Treatment by Donald R. Yance, j r.,C.N., M.H., A.H.G., with Arlene Valentine

More than twenty years ago, a Native American healer from Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, traveled the Rocky Mountain West, successfully treating cancer patients with chaparral as the primary remedy. Chaparral, extremely bitter, contains NDGA (nordihydroguaiaretic acid), an anticancer substance. It is also thought to possess more of the antioxidant enzyme SOD than any other plant. Herbs used widely in South America for cancer, even by medical doctors, are pau d’arco (Tabevulia) and Suma (Pfaffia paniculata). These herbs are less bitter than chaparral, and work by tonifying immunity.
Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition by Paul Pitchford

Chaparral contains a potent antioxidant constituent that probably accounts for its observed anticancer action. Chaparral has been the subject of a few studies that have resulted in both tumor regression and tumor stimulation. Chaparral has also been used as an antihistamine and as an anti-inflammatory. Chaparral is toxic to the liver. It can also cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and stomach pain at high dosages.
Complementary Cancer Therapies: Combining Traditional and Alternative Approaches for the Best Possible Outcome by Dan Labriola

The plant is the creosote bush, or chaparral, also known as greasewood, and is a member of the oak family. All tests on chaparral indicate that it is positively non-toxic and has never shown any side effects on patients and if present research is successful it will offer the first anti-cancer drug. The Indians have used chaparral herb for many internal body malfunctions as well as for rash and acne-type skin eruptions, for hundreds of years. Chaparral has antibiotic and antiseptic properties along with immune stimulating substances.
Miracle Medicine Herbs (Reward Books) by Richard Melvin Lucas

California yew and chaparral teas are also great cancer fighters. Trifolium (red clover) and scrophularia herb formulas are shown to work in fighting cancer. Carctol, a mixture of eight herbs, is known in Great Britain and India as a completely safe herbal supplement and has up to a 40% success rate with terminal cancer patients. There is a variety of some 2.5 million herbs categorized as cytotoxic (toxic to cancer cells). These herbs date back some 5,000 years. At least 3,000 of these herbs have anti-cancer properties of some kind.
Defeat Cancer by Gregory, A. Gore

Evidence shows that some people with certain types of cancer in certain stages of development may benefit from Chaparral, but it is not clear who may benefit, which cancers are most susceptible or at which stage of cancer development the herb is most effective. One study in rats found that NDGA (nordihydroguaiaretic acid), the purported active principle in Chaparral, produced almost complete inhibition of aerobic and anaerobic glycolysis and respiration in some kinds of cancer cells while normal cells were not affected.
The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine: How to Remedy and Prevent Disease with Herbs, Vitamins, Minerals and Other Nutrients by Daniel B. Mowrey, Ph.D.

With this in mind, it seems like a good idea to take one chaparral capsule after consuming a Big Mac and french fries in order to offset some of the damage all of those free radicals you’ve ingested are capable of doing. And while chaparral may not hold quite the same promises expected of ginseng for longevity, it can certainly help to slow down the aging process quite a bit from the foods we eat on a daily basis. The medical doctor most involved with the limited success that chaparral has achieved with some kinds of cancer, is Charles R. Smart, M.D.
Heinerman’s Encyclopedia of Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs by John Heinerman

Certainly chaparral wouldn’t be a good herb to take if a person has a diseased liver. Nor would it be advisable to take chaparral with alcohol or acetaminophen. Hopefully, the extract of chaparral will proceed through successful clinical trials and contribute as a meaningful cancer remedy in the near future. Pure NDGA from chaparral is a topical drug (Masoprocol) that is used on the skin and some studies indicate it may be effective as an oral anti-diabetic agent as well.
You Don’t Have to be Afraid of Cancer Anymore by Bill Sardi

The chaparral (Larrea tridentata) that grows over hundreds of square miles in Arizona and California contains a powerful antioxidant called NDGA (nordihydroguaiaretic acid). NDGA was used to prevent oxidation from spoiling foods during World War II. It appears to work against cancer cells by preventing them from “eating” the blood sugar they need to survive – in other words, it starves them to death. Chaparral also contains polysaccharides, which stimulate the immune system. Chaparral is generally taken as a tea.
Sam Biser’s save your life collection: A Layman’s course in curing last-stage diseases by Sam Biser

Nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA), a compound found in chaparral, is a powerful antioxidant that helps to prevent the kind of cell damage that can lead to cancer. It also has an antitumor effect. Chaparral is used as a mouthwash to prevent cavities. Benefits of chaparral for specific health conditions include the following: Arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. The major traditional use of chaparral in Mexican herbalism is as a bath or liniment to relieve the inflammation and pain of arthritis, sometimes in combination with osha.
Prescription for Herbal Healing: An Easy-to-Use A-Z Reference to Hundreds of Common Disorders and Their Herbal Remedies by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC

In 1959, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) was informed through lay correspondence that several cancer patients claimed beneficial effects on their cancers from drinking chaparral tea. Years later, a similar treatment was brought to the attention of physicians at the University of Utah, when an 85-year-old man with a proven malignant melanoma of the right cheek with a large cervical metastasis refused surgery and treated himself with chaparral tea. Eight months later he returned with marked regression of the tumor.
Guide to Popular Natural Products by Ara Dermarderosian

Dr. Andrew Weil recommends the use of chaparral tea as a douche (a teaspoon of tincture of chaparral to a quart of warm water) for the precancerous condition, cervical dysplasia. In addition one can take beta-carotene and folic acid supplements by mouth. He gives the following ‘recipe’ to prepare the douche: simmer a small handful of leaves or four capsules in a quart of water, covered, for fifteen minutes.
Cancer Therapy: The Independent Consumer’s Guide To Non-Toxic Treatment & Prevention by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.

Tea and tincture of chaparral have an extremely strong taste considered disagreeable by most people, which restricts the amount they can tolerate before feeling nauseous. Capsules bypass this protective mechanism and should therefore be avoided. Since human studies have shown that large amounts of chaparral tea and injections of NDGA in people with cancer do not cause liver or kidney problems, it is likely the cases of toxicity represented individual reactions.
The Natural Pharmacy: Complete A-Z Reference to Natural Treatments for Common Health Conditions by Alan R. Gaby, M.D., Jonathan V. Wright, M.D., Forrest Batz, Pharm.D. Rick Chester, RPh., N.D., DipLAc. George Constantine, R.Ph., Ph.D. Linnea D. Thompson, Pharm.D., N.D.

It is chaparral which is used as a medicinal tea. Reports of cancer cures surround chaparral, also known as the creosote bush, but so do reports of its toxicity. Numerous cases of liver toxicity over the years have been well documented. What is a cancer patient to think? The information surrounding this herb is an example of the misinformation surrounding many herbal remedies. The pro-toxic drug, anti-herbal stance of the FDA is unconscionable.
You Don’t Have to be Afraid of Cancer Anymore by Bill Sardi

The FDA hasn’t banned grapefruit juice; it just instructs users of drugs to avoid simultaneous consumption of grapefruit with certain drugs. Chaparral may be unfairly characterized as a liver toxin when it is no more harmful than grapefruit. This may explain the inconsistent reports of liver toxicity. A 78-page report issued by the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council on chaparral in 2004 explains many of the promises and problems associated with chaparral, but it is probably too lengthy a document for cancer patients to wade through.
You Don’t Have to be Afraid of Cancer Anymore by Bill Sardi

Reports subsequently appeared in the lay literature describing the virtues of chaparral tea as an antineoplastic treatment. Nordihy-droguaiaretic acid (NDGA) is believed to be responsible for the biological activity of chaparral. Up until 1967, when more effective antioxidants were introduced, NDGA was used in the food industry as a food additive to prevent fermentation and decomposition. It is theorized that any anticancer effect of chaparral tea is caused by the ability of NDGA to block cellular respiration.
Guide to Popular Natural Products by Ara Dermarderosian

Another herb in question is chaparral. People take it because it contains NDGA (nordihydroquaiatetic acid), a strong antioxidant and anti-cancer agent. Herb industry surveys show that more than 200 tons were sold in the United States between 1970 and 1990. And during this time, there was not a single complaint of side effects arising from the use of this herb. When two to three cups of chaparral tea or the isolated NDGA were given daily to more than 50 cancer patients, the only side effects were occasional nausea or diarrhea. Very large doses resulted in lowered blood pressure.
Herbs for Health and Healing by Kathi Keville

First, for those with colon cancer (and even prostate or uterine/cervical cancer), one of the important things you can do is to use the blood-cleansing teas (red clover, chaparral, and even bowel herbs covered in this chapter) as a strong tea in a rectal implant (an enema with herb tea you retain as long as possible.) Basically, clean out the colon first with water enemas. That way, it will be easier to retain the herbal implant. Wheatgrass is another important rectal implant. Later on in this lesson, I will give you the herbal formulas everyone needs, especially cancer patients.
Sam Biser’s save your life collection: A Layman’s course in curing last-stage diseases by Sam Biser

Further human trials failed to establish the Chaparral connection. However, close analysis of those trials revealed gross deficiencies in procedure, and so the effectiveness of the herb remains un-disproven, awaiting further clinical trials. Animal studies, meanwhile, strongly suggest that Chaparral or its main constituent, NDGA (nordihydroguaiaretic acid), is toxic against cancer cells (not normal cells). It produces almost complete inhibition of aerobic and anaerobic glycolysis and respiration in some kinds of cancer cells.
The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine: How to Remedy and Prevent Disease with Herbs, Vitamins, Minerals and Other Nutrients by Daniel B. Mowrey, Ph.D.

Lymphoma and skin cancer have responded well to treatment with this herbal formula, which contains red clover, buckthorn bark, stillingia root, barberry bark, chaparral, licorice root, cascara amarga, and prickly ash bark, along with potassium iodide. Other anticancer herbs to consider include African cayenne, bilberry, blood-root, comfrey dandelion root, goldenseal, pau d’arco, and suma. Goldenseal should be taken for short periods of time, and not taken during pregnancy.
The Complete Encyclopedia of Natural Healing: A Comprehensive A-Z Listing of Common and Chronic Illnesses and Their Proven Natural Treatments by Gary Null, Ph.D.