We stand in awe of the centuried Redwoods of the Pacific coast and the twisted, giant Saguaros of the high desert, but compared to the Chaparral bush they are mere infants. Botanically known as Larrea tridentata, the common chaparral plant can live up to 12,000 years! The fact this waxy-leaved bush can thrive in the harsh Arizona desert and dominate it's neighbors without being eaten or infected is testimonial to the potency of its chemical arsenal. The Native Americans of the Southwest long ago discovered this medical resource and used chaparral to treat everything from respiratory infections to arthritis.
To date, researchers have identified dozens of flavonoids in chaparral which act as cellular enhancers, as well as a powerful antioxidant called NDGA. Recently, researchers at Arizona State University discovered that chaparral demonstrates strong antiviral activity particularly on the Herpes family of viruses.
Chaparral may have an advantage over drug therapy for treatment of viruses by inhibiting the viral genes without damaging your living cells. Drugs work by interfering with the reproduction of viral DNA, but also inhibit synthesis of your own DNA, which suppresses your immune system. Chaparral seems to attack the virus and enforce the immune system with antioxidant flavinoids.
Other Medical Connections Cancer researchers first became interested when an 87 year old man cured a facial cancer by consuming chaparral. Scientists at the University of Nevada investigated the activity of NDGA and found that it was a potent inhibitor of mitochondrial enzymes, which in turn inhibits cancer growth. While no clinical data exists to support using chaparral for cancer therapy, thousands of testimonials credit it for tumor remissions and complete cures. Other medical evidence indicates chaparral is an anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial agent and a possible treatment for asthma. Research continues to uncover it's mode of action and other potential therapeutic uses.
Current Status in the Marketplace After allegations in 1992 of liver toxicity associated with chaparral consumption, manufactures voluntarily restricted sales until the reports were investigated. Following a lengthy review, a panel of medical experts concluded " no clinical data was found... to indicate chaparral is inherently a hepatic toxin. " In late 1994 this report was submitted to the FDA and the product was subsequently given a clean bill of health by the American Herbal Products Association AHPA . After comparing the quantity of chaparral consumed each year to the number of product complaints, industry regulators concluded chaparral did not pose a significant threat to consumer safety.
Good chaparral supplements usually contain about 500 mg. pure, dried leaf per capsule, or combine it with Vitamin C or other antioxidants. Arizona natural offers chaparral in both tablet and capsule form.