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HERBS: Chaparral


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Chaparral

Chaparral

Scientific name

Larrea tridentate, Larrea divaricata

Other names

Creosate bush, greasewood, hediondilla

Purported uses

NOTE: No scientific evidence supports the use of chaparral for any of the following uses, and serious side effects (such as liver and kidney damage) are associated with the use of chaparral.

  • To treat arthritis
  • To treat bronchitis and the common cold
  • To prevent and treat cancer 
  • To reduce inflammation 
  • To alleviate menstrual cramps 
  • To promote urination
  • To stop muscle spasms

Warnings

Chaparral has been associated with severe hepatotoxicity, with some cases requiring liver transplantation.

Adverse reactions

Reported: Fatigue, jaundice, cirrhosis, hepatotoxicity, acute hepatitis, contact dermatitis, kidney failure, and renal cell carcinoma

Drug interactions

MAO Inhibitors: Excessive doses of chaparral may interfere with monoamine oxidase inhibitor therapy due to the documented amino acid constituents.

References

1. Newall CA, et al. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 1996.

2. Cunningham DC, et al. Proliferative responses of normal human mammary and MCF-7 breast cancer cells to linoleic, CLA and eicosanoid synthesis inhibitors in culture. Anticancer Res 1997;17:197-203.

3. Pavani M, et al. Inhibition of tumoral cell respiration and growth by norhidydroguaiaretic acid. Biochem Pharmacol 1994;48:1935-42.

4. Sheikh NM, et al. Chaparral-associated hepatotoxicity. Arch Intern Med 1997;157:913-9.

5. Tyler V, et al. The Honest Herbal. New York: Pharmaceutical Press; 1993.

6. Heron S, Yarnell E. The safety of low-dose Larrea tridentata (DC) Coville (creosote bush or chaparral): a retrospective clinical study. J Altern Complement Med 2001;7:175-85.

7. Batchelor WB, et al. Chaparral-induced hepatic injury. Am J Gastroenterol 1995;90:831-3.

8. Gordon DW, et al. Chaparral ingestion. The broadening spectrum of liver injury caused by herbal medications. JAMA 1995;273:489-90.

9. Smart CR, et al. Clinical experience with nordihydroguaiaretic acid -- "Chaparrel tea" in the treatment of cancer. Rocky Mt Med J. 1970 Nov;67(11):39-43.

10. Gordon DW, et al. Chaparral ingestion. The broadening spectrum of liver injury caused by herbal medications. JAMA 1995;273:489-90.

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Overview of Herbs | Alfalfa | Aloe Vera | Burdock | Capsaicin | Cascara | Chamomile | Chaparral | Comfrey | Echinacea | Garlic | Ginger | Ginseng (Asian) | Ginseng (American) | Gotu Kola | Hawthorn | Licorice | Ephedra | Milk Thistle | Sassafras | Blue-Green Algae