Chaparral- Larrea tridentata

Student Materia Medica Article- Chaparral- Larrea tridentata by Erin McVittie

Materia Medica Outline

Latin Name: Larrea tridentata

Common Names: Chaparral, Creosote bush, Greasewood, Hedionilla

Family: In the family of Zygophyllaceae.  The entire bush above ground is used for medicine.

Uses : Powerful anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties.  Can be used externally and internally (limited and cautious use)

Chaparral-Larrea tridentata
Chaparral-Larrea tridentata

External: Rashes, eczema, Poison Ivy, Acne, Athlete’s foot, boils, growths, herpes, most skin conditions, arthritis, shampoos, body wash, mouthwash,

Internal: Blood cleanser, parasite cleanse, cancer, liver cleanse, healing the body from the inside out, slows down the ageing process, douche for cervical dysplasia, treats inflammation (internally and externally), menstrual cramps.

Constituents : NDGA (nordihydroguaiaretic acid-anti tumor), cobalt, fossypetin, limonene, zinc, beta pinene, amino acids, alpha pinene.


Oil or water infusions are excellent.  Use a small handful (or ½ c) in 1 qt of water.  Do not boil, because this destroys some important nutrients.  You can use the oil or water infusions as a base for external or internal uses.  Tinctures are rarely used, as are capsules.  Capsules can be dangerous because one of the bodies alerts to too much Creosote is nausea.  Capsules can disguise this.

Chaparral Tea:

½ c chaparral leaves

1qt water

-Let sit overnight

-drink 1-3 glasses a day (dilute if you need to-Chaparral is incredibly bitter.  It takes a while to get used to the taste)

-each time you drink water from the quart jar, replace it with fresh water.   The leaves will remain fresh for 21 days.

Chappy Lotion

2 oz olive oil                                     2 oz STRONG chaparral tea

2 oz almond oil                               1 oz sea salt saline water

1 oz grapeseed oil                          20 drops Magnesium Chloride oil

1tbs bees wax                                 Pinch of Borax

-Heat in separate pans

-when they are around the same temp (145 F) slowly stir together w/ a whisk

-pour into a glass container

-add 6 drops of an essential oil

-keep refrigerated and shake well before use.


Internally: Watch for nausea.  This is the body’s alert that you are getting enough/too much in the system.  Do not take in capsule form.  This can cover up the nausea response.  There is a lot of conflicting information about Creosote.  Some say it causes toxicity in the liver and kidneys.  Most say it does not.  To be on the safe side, if the person has any kidney/liver disease, do not recommend.  As per all herbs, start out with small doses.  Small doses go a long way with this herb.  I would only recommend being on the herb regularly for 1 month, then stopping for a week or two.  Do not take with alcohol or acetomenyphen.  Both of these can harm the liver.

Your impressions or experiences with the plant: YO!  It tastes HORRIBLE!  That’s why capsules seem like such a nice alternative, but (from what I have read) this is not a great idea.  The taste is growing on me, though.  I haven’t used it externally, but I intend to try the lotion recipe to see if it helps with bug bites.



Disclaimer: For educational use only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Educational programs are available through Heart of Herbs

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