Health Benefits of Chaparral

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Chaparral Quick Facts
Name: Chaparral
Scientific Name: Larrea divaricata
Origin Southwestern South America
Chaparral belongs to a group of desert Artimesia. It is an Indian term referring to over one hundred different botanical plant types growing in alkali soil, from narrow strips to over 100 sq. miles in the south-western part of the United States. Beginning at La Joya, California, extending eastward through California, across Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.

The dark-green stems and leaves (if drought season, pale or yellowish-green) provide a 4–8 ft. miniature desert-forest. Distinguished from the usual grey green colour of the other desert species. The strong-scented leaves are opposite and are divided into two leaflets. The bright yellow, five petal flowers, ½ in. or more across, appear in spring and winter. The fruit is rounded, up to about ¼ in. long, and is covered with white hairs.

Australia has a similar plant, also northern Argentina in South America. The leaves and stems of Chaparral contain a generous supply of gums and resins, protein, partially characterized esters, acids, alcohol, a small amount of a mixture of sterols, sucrose, and a very small amount of volatile oils. No alkaloids were detected and it is non-toxic.

Facts About Chaparral

Name Chaparral
Scientific Name Larrea divaricata
Native Southwestern South America
Common/English Name Chaparral, Chaparro, Greasewood, Creosote Bush, Gobonadora, Dwarf Evergreen Oak, Creosote Bush, Greasewood, Créosotier, Hediondilla, Jarilla, Larrea tridentata, Larrea divaricata, Larreastat, Larrea mexicana, Zygophyllum tridentatum
Name in Other Languages Spanish: Jarilla
Stem Cylindrical
Leaf Small, dark green, elliptical
Medicinal parts The leaves and stems
Flower Yellow, 1/2 inch across


It is a slow growing shrub which grows to the height of 3 meters (10 ft). Stems are cylindrical. Leaves are small, dark green and elliptical, resinous and grow in opposite pairs. Flowers are yellow and five petals which appear in October and November. Fruits are dry capsules which contains hairs and five seeds.


Externally: Boiled leaves and branches for bruises as well as rheumatism. In some areas  was added to the boiled herb for the above. Apply dry heated leaves and branches as a poultice for chest and other body pain.

Veterinary: After the resins have been obtained for commercial use as a preservative, the leaf residue is fed to livestock. It contains as much protein as Alfalfa.

Traditional uses

  • Tea made from Chaparral tea is used for treating bronchitis and common cold.
  • It is used for alleviating stomach pain, rheumatic pain, snake bite pain and chicken pox.
  • American Indians use it for bowel cramps, arthritis, chronic skin disorders, colds and gas.
  • Use it internally for stomach problems, premenstrual syndrome, kidney and gall bladder stones, diabetes, upper respiratory tract infections and urinary tract infections.
  • Use it as a deodorant for feet and armpits.
  • In United States and Mexico, it is used for treating digestive and gastrointestinal problems.
  • Leaves decoction and infusions are used for treating upset stomach and diarrhea.
  • Pima tribe applied it to gum orally or chewed and swallowed for treating gastrointestinal complaints.
  • Native American tribes use the leaves or twigs infusion for relieving stiffness and pain in limbs and joints.
  • Apply the poultice made from heated leaves to alleviate pain from rheumatic diseases.
  • Native American uses it for treating pulmonary, respiratory and throat problems.
  • Apply it externally for lacerations, bruises, bites, dandruff and stings.
  • Tea prepared from leaves is used for treating throat conditions.

Culinary uses

  • It is used in form of tea.
  • Once it was used as a preservative for oil  and food.

Side effects

  • It may result side effects such as stomach pain, weight loss, nausea, fever, kidney damage and diarrhea.
  • It may cause rashes and itching.






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