Chaparral is a dwarf tree or shrub generally growing 4 - 12 feet in height. It thrives in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico region. The resin on the leaves is a natural creosote, which is why this bush is also called the creosote bush. The turpenes have properties similar to turpentine, which gives it a strong taste and smell.

Many refer to Chaparral as "Nature's Detergent" due to the foamy residue produced from the saponins when the leaves are shaken in water. It is known as a "cure-all" having medicinal properties that assist in the overall well-being of the body and in the healing of a variety of maladies.


Chaparral boosts the immune system and helps keep the body in an alkaline state that allows it to naturally fight against infection, microbic invaders and many forms of dis-ease. It is generally used as a tea that allows it to begin working as soon as it is ingested. If one does not like the taste or gets stomach upset from the tea, it can be encapsulated in powder form.

Read more about this wonderful gift from nature to discover ways to boost your immune system, purify your blood, prevent a host of maladies and for assistance in recovering from a wide range of dis-eases.


Chaparral in Bloom

Chaparral Blossoms Opt

Chaparral Blossoms

Chaparral Helps Heal These Maladies

Abscess                                     Impetigo

Alcoholism                               Inflammation

Allergies                                   Itching

Anemia                                     Kidneys

Antibiotic / Antiseptic            Liver               

Arthritis                                    Mucous Congestion

Athlete's Foot                         Parasites       

Blood Poisoning                     Pets / Animals

Blood Purifier                          Poisoning

Boils                                          Poison Ivy / Oak

Bursitis                                     Prostate                                  

Cancer                                      Rheumatism

Chemical Poisoning               Ring Worm

Cholesterol                              Scabies

Colds and Flu                          Scalp              

Congestion                              Sinusitis

Cysts                                         Skin

Digestion                                  Sores

Eyes                                           Stomach

Female Discomfort                Sty

Fever                                         Tumors

Fungus                                      Urinary Tract

Gout                                          Venereal Disease

Growths                                   Venereal Warts

Herpes                                      Wounds

Immune System                     Yeast Infection     

Chaparral Field Trip 052710 Opt


Throughout the year, I lead herb walks in the Sedona, Arizona region.
If you would be interested in joining us or would like to have me lead your group, please fill out the form on the Contact page.

Collecting Chaparral

Although you can pick chaparral any time, I prefer to pick it just
after it blossoms in the springtime. You may also use the flowers and fuzzy seed pods, as long as there is a higher proportion of leaves used.


The small stems can also be included to make tea. Collect by
breaking off the ends of a branch, generally a foot in length.




Storing Chaparral

If you wish to save chaparral for future use, gather the woody ends of several branches. Tie them together with string or rubber bands and hang upside to dry. When the moisture is gone from the leaves, they can be stored in glass jars or pulverized into powder before storing.


The powder can then be packed into capsules or saved to make tea and tinctures.



Where to purchase Chaparral


Chaparral grows in abundance in the deserts of the southwestern United States. For those unable to collect locally, chaparral can readily be obtained at most natural health food stores. I also sell chaparral that I have collected myself.
Contact me for more information.  Their products can be purchased locally ( Sedona, Arizona) at Mt. Hope, New Frontiers and Healthy Thymes.  Good quality, fresh, aromatic and at a great price.

Nature's Detergent for the Body
              by Ingri Harkins

The Cure-All: Chaparral (Larrea Tridentata)

Chaparral is one of the best non-toxic blood purifiers on earth.
The history of chaparral dates back to ancient Indian times when medicine men administered chaparral tea brewed from the leaves of the desert creosote bush.  Read More...


Chaparral tea has many medicinal purposes and can be used internally, as well as externally. It has a unique taste which may need to be acquired. If the tea tastes too strong, then dilute it. Drinking1-3 glasses a day will assist the body in maintaining a balanced pH.


When the body's pH level remains in an alkaline state,
              many diseases, including cancer cannot take root.


How To Make Chaparral Tea 

Place about half a cup of Chaparral leaves (this can include blossoms and stem pieces) in a quart jar.
Fill the jar with room temperature water.


Cover and let sit on counter overnight. You can do this any night,
but there seems to be a more energetic charge to the tea when set
outside or on a window sill during the full moon. 


Each time you pour off some of the tea, replenish with the same  amount of fresh water.

Strain the tea as you pour it into a cup, then place the leaves back in the jar.


If kept refrigerated, the tea should last about 21 days before it loses
potency and starts to get funky.  


** Boiling water damages the essential nutrients in chaparral.

** Hot water makes the tea very strong with an oily residue (turpenes)
floating on the top. Drain this off before drinking or dilute to taste.
Chaparral is an excellent detoxifier and if ingested when very strong
it can create temporary unpleasant side effects.


Don't underestimate the power of this herbal remedy.
Like any new substance, start slow and pay attention to any possible side effects.



The largest organ of the human body is the skin. Anything you place
on your skin including lotions, sunscreen, insect repellent, soap and
perfume is readily absorbed by the body.


Read labels carefully before applying anything to your skin. If it is not
favorable to human consumption, it should not be placed on the skin.


Have you considered the possibility that the rise of skin cancer may
be attributed to toxic sunscreens and lotions?




Be creative and discover your favorites!


2 ounces olive oil
2 ounces almond oil
2 ounces grapeseed oil
1 ounce castor oil
1 level tablespoon beeswax granules

In a pan, slowly warm the oils to 140 - 150° Fahrenheit, allowing the
beeswax to melt.


(I strongly suggest not using a microwave for any product
that will be ingested by humans, animals or plants. Check out
research on the effects of microwaving food and water!)


At the same time, in a separate pan, heat the following ingredients:


2 ounces Chaparral tea, previously prepared (make a strong batch)
1 ounce seawater or sea salt saline solution
20 drops magnesium chloride oil
A pinch of borax


When the ingredients in both pans are about the same temperature,
slowly stir the contents of the 2nd pan into the oil mixture, while briskly
mixing the combined ingredients with a whisk.


Using a funnel, pour the lotion into plastic or glass heat resistant
bottles. Add 6 drops of rosemary or your favorite essential oil and


Fill a tub or sink full of cool water. Set the bottles into the water, gently
rolling the bottles keeping the oils from separating during the cooling


Keep refrigerated. Shake well before using.

Makes 10 ounces of  Chappy Lotion.


Site collection will make a difference in the chemical makeup
of any particular plant. 

Below is an excerpt from the following website:

Chaparral contains a sizable amount each of gums, resins, esters, acids, alcohol, sterol, sucrose, and volatile oils, and the New Mexico Agricultural Experimental Station claims that chaparral contains nearly as much protein as alfalfa, along with an abundance of sodium and potassium.

The Herb Shop in Springville, Utah analyzed a specimen of chaparral and the chemical contents included:

12.2% Protein                   .37% Calcium                      21.6% Fiber
3.8% Ash                            27.2% Carbohydrate        3.1% Fat 
.62% Phosphorus            .49% Potassium                .12% Sodium
.08% Chlorine                   .11% Magnesium              .0007% Iron
12. mg/lb Manganese     2. mg/lb Copper               .81% Resins
6.8% NDGA                        .37% Volatile oils

Also included in the chemical make-up were tannic acid, gallic acid, pyrogallic acid, tricosanone, 2,methyl, and 1,4naphthoquinone. Chaparral also contains Nordihydroguiaretic acid (NDGA) which is known to be a cancer and tumor inhibitor.


In 1992, the FDA issued a warning regarding the use of chaparral
tablets and capsules saying it was possibly linked to five cases of
hepatitis (liver inflammation).

Other organizations including the World Health Organization(WHO),
the National Cancer Institute and researchers at the University of
Illinois at Chicago have determined there are no hepatotoxicity (toxic
to the liver) properties in Chaparral.

In 2005, Health Canada (The Canadian equivalent to the FDA in the
United States) warned consumers to not ingest any products that
contained Chaparral and banned importation of the herb after
receiving ONE report of acute hepatitis associated with chaparral

Given the widespread use of chaparral and its documented
historical use by indigenous tribes for centuries, it appears to be
quite safe.

Chaparral sensitivity symptoms include, nausea, vomiting, dark urine
and/or abdominal pain. If your eyes or skin become jaundiced
(turn yellow), stop using chaparral immediately, this is a sign of liver

We encourage you to do your own research and make educated
choices regarding your health care. Choose doctors knowledgeable
in the use of herbs and nutrition and those who will take time to
answer your questions




Like any herb or substance you ingest, use with caution.


Every body is unique; it is not uncommon for some people to be
sensitivite to a substance that is  highly energizing to others.


Stressors such as anxiety, medications, sleep deprivation,
acidic pH, toxic overload from foods and environmental
contamination, weakened immune system and dis-ease all can 
contribute to adverse reactions when ingesting any substance,
including native plants.


Be wise, use your intuition and observation skills to note if any
substance or combination is affecting you adversely.