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Chaparral Leaf

  • Larrea tridentata
  • Origin: Mexico
Chaparral Leaf


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Common Name

Standardized: chaparral
Other: creosote bush

Botanical Name

Larrea tridentata (Sesse & Moc. ex DC.) Coville
Plant Family: Zygophyllaceae


Larrea mexicana



Now found throughout the Southwestern US, chaparral actually originated in Argentina several thousand years ago. The stems and leaves of the bush are covered with a sticky resin that screens leaves against ultraviolet radiation, reduces water loss, and poisons or repels most herbivores. This resin is used in herbal medicine and to protect wood from insects. It received its name "creosote bush" due to the smell that comes from it when it rains. Its extremely bitter taste keeps it safe from animals that would otherwise graze upon it. It is also regarded as one of the most adaptable desert plants in the world; it was one of the first to grow back in Yucca Flats after the 1962 nuclear bomb tests done there.


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

Parts Used

Above-ground parts of the plant.

Typical Preparations

Tinctures used to make creams and lotions for external use. Seldom found encapsulated or as an extract.


Chaparral contains lignans that are very similar to estrogen, giving it an effect on the skin similar to that of soy taken internally.


Specific: Not for use in pregnancy except under the supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner. Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner before use if you have any history of liver or kidney disease. Discontinue use if nausea, fever, fatigue, or jaundice occur.
General: We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.