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What is chaparral? What is it used for?
Chapparal is the name given to a bush that grows in the desert
regions of the southwest United States and northern Mexico.
The bush consists of long, thin stems with green leaves and
yellow flowers. The leaves and flowers are used medicinally.
The major active ingredient in chaparral is nordihydroguaiaretic
acid, a potent anti-inflammatory. Chaparral also contains
several flavonoids and antioxidants, which help strengthen
immunity and reduce cellular damage due to oxidation.
Chaparral has been used for thousands of years for a variety
of purposes. Taken internally as a tea, it may relieve intestinal
cramps, joint pains and parasites. Externally, it is used
to reduce inflammation and pain and heal minor wounds.
How much chaparral should I take?
Many herbalists recommend taking one teaspoon of chaparral
flowers and leaves and steeping it in one cup of hot water
for 10-15 minutes. People should drink three cups a day for
a maximum of two weeks unless otherwise directed. Patients
can also take a chaparral tincture (0.5-1.0ml).
What forms of chaparral are available?
Dried chaparral leaves and flowers are available at many
specialty food stores. Many nutritional stores also sell chaparral
tinctures or powders. Chaparral capsules are also available,
but they should be avoided.
What can happen if I take too much
chaparral? Are there any interactions I should be aware
of? What precautions should I take?
There have been some reports of patients developing liver
or kidney problems after taking chaparral; however, most of
these cases involved either the use of chaparral capsules
or excessive amounts of tea, or use of the herb by patients
with pre-existing liver disease.
Chaparral should not be taken internally for more than two
weeks unless under the supervision of a health practitioner.
It should be avoided by women who are pregnant or lactating.
As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions with
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