Imagine the vast plains of the Southwest US, a desert where few plants grow… An old medicine woman bends down, pulling up a plant with bright yellow flowers and thick green leaves. Chaparral is a traditional native American medicine with fantastic health benefits… And banned in over 50 countries.
What Is Chaparral?
This beautiful bush looks similar to St John's Wort, and many claim its benefits. It contains a large amount of nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA), a particularly potent antioxidant link to tumor regression.
However, certain studies also show NDGA can have serious health effects, including hepatotoxicity when improperly used.
But, this herb has been used for centuries without problems, and you'll find that most of the side effects came not from the herbs used but other severe health conditions.
Today, most of the preparations are lotions and salves, teas, essential oils, and homeopathy. Certain supplements contain healthy amounts of chaparral, but they should be used with caution. Teas and homeopathy tend to be safer to take when used correctly. However, the tea tastes terrible, and some people report awful burping afterward.
We definitely recommend going with lotions and salves, because it delivers fantastic health benefits without risking liver damage.
What is Chaparral Good For?
There aren't many good studies done on chaparral, mainly due to the stigma of being dangerous. Still, a few adequate studies show that chaparral is something to consider.
Many people claim that chaparral is great for weight loss. There is some evidence to show that this herb's antioxidant capacity works great for reducing the oxidation of fats and oils within our bodies. That could help eliminate many of the fats from our system without them being stored. However, there's no direct evidence to show that chaparral directly influences weight loss or gain.
Cleansing Of Blood
Traditionally, chaparral was used as a blood cleanser, helping to remove toxins and impurities. As an antioxidant, we can see where this comes from. Native Americans used it in many of the snake bite and blood parasite remedies. While we don't recommend adding it into a detox formula without professional guidance, you can gain some health benefits.
Anecdotal evidence and studies on mice show that NDGA helps improve arthritis-related inflammation. It's believed that it can stop the free radical damage that destroys the fats and cells, particularly chronic diseases.
That dreaded antioxidant NDGA links directly to tumor regression. It can help reverse a tumor's growth. One study significantly lowered tumor-promoting agent (TPA) that increased the development of various tumors. Unfortunately, all of the studies are on mice. Because of how certain chemotherapy drugs work, it can repress liver function, which can be dangerous when combined with NDGA.
Chaparral contains lignans, which help block virus reproduction. It was tested beneficial against HPV and HIV and suspected of being able to stop the replication of COVID (unconfirmed at time of writing).
Because chaparral is so good at fighting infection and works much better as a topical treatment, it does incredible for all types of skin infections and skin problems. Here's where you see this herb really shine.
Traditionally, the Native Americans of the Southwest would use the sap as part of a mix for sunscreen, and it does block some ultraviolet radiation. It contains saponins and large amounts of antioxidants that can help reduce dandruff, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, ringworm, and other skin problems. You can use the lotion to help relieve dryness around joints and gain the anti-inflammatory benefits.
How Do I Get A Good Chaparral Supplement?
It's not going to be easy to find a quality supplement. Because of the ban in so many countries, many of the supplements come online, where quality can be a big concern. Additionally, you should be very concerned about taking this as an internal supplement.
We highly recommend topical applications or consulting a physician or naturopath familiar with chaparral for internal use.
Always choose a supplement that has quality backing from either an outside independent testing source or comes with documentation. Also, be very careful with wildcrafted sources, as this is a protected plant, and many of them grow in former nuclear testing sites, increasing the risk of contamination.
You can purchase chaparral leaf and make your own lotions and salves from places like Mountain Rose Herbs. No matter what you choose, use caution with chaparral, understanding what you're using and the side effects. It can be a great benefit to your health regime when appropriately used.