Chaparral (Creosote Bush) (Larrea mexicana, a.k.a. L. tridentata)

Family: Zygophyllaceae

Parts commonly used: Leaf and stem.

Properties/energetics: Alterative, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, antimicrobial, diuretic, expectorant/Cold, dry; very bitter, salty, spicy.

Systems predominantly affected:  Digestive, skin, circulatory, eliminative, respiratory, genitourinary.

Uses: This intense-flavored desert plant is a potent healing aid to the entire body, working well for difficult conditions. It tones systems and rebuilds the tissue. It cleanses the lower bowel and tones peristaltic muscles. It is used to treat liver congestion, arthritis, rheumatism, stony deposits, stomach disorders, bladder problems, kidney troubles, hemorrhoids, and inflammation of wounds. Chaparral has shown itself to be a free radical inhibitor, helping protect the liver and lungs from these destructive agents. It is applied to all nature of wounds and skin conditions as an antiseptic and healer.

Combinations: Chaparral’s flavor can be improved somewhat by combining it with Licorice root. Combines well with Goldenseal and Echinacea for antibiotic effects, and with Elecampane, Yerba Santa, and Gumweed for protecting the lungs. Combines with Angelica root, Black Cohosh, and Wild Yam for relieving joint pains, rheumatic and arthritic conditions. Combines well with Turmeric as a salve for chronic skin conditions.

Affects on specific body types: The key word for this herb is intensity, earmarking it one of the Warrior’s prime companion plants. With its cold, very bitter energetics, this plant can help cool and lighten the steamy Warrior nature. Strongly anti-inflammatory, Chaparral clears heat and toxins from the respiratory, intestinal, and urinary tracts and detoxifies and decongests the liver with great alacrity. This desert herb is employed effectively for treating chronic skin and arthritic disorders that show pain, swelling, and redness. Chaparral’s bitter, spicy qualities are compatible with the Monarch nature, too, given its ability to remove digestive accumulations and promote regular bowel movements, combined with its ability to improve liver functions, glandular secretions, and general metabolism.

Preparations/dosage: Tincture: Begin with 15 to 30 drops three times a day; for difficult conditions, build up to 1 teaspoon per dose. Capsules: 2 #00 capsules three times a day as a normal dose. Decoction: Drinking this herb as an infusion or decoction is almost incomprehensible to those who have tasted Chaparral tea; however, 1/2 cup three times a day is the dose for the stoical and the courageous. External: Applied as a liniment, salve, or tincture. Used for first aid or long-term applications.

Precautions: Avoid internal use in cases of hepatitis or overt liver disease, pregnancy, and breastfeeding and with children.

By James Green, Herbalist, copyright 2008

For more information please refer to James Green’s book, The Male Herbal, 2nd Edition