Chaparral herb side effects by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
March 20 2014

Chaparral refers to three herb species: Larrea tridentata, Larrea divaricata and Larrea mexicana, which may also be called creosote bush, greasewood, or hediondilla.

February 2006 - Health Canada is warning consumers not to ingest the herb chaparral in the form of loose leaves, teas, capsules or bulk herbal products because of the risk of liver and kidney problems. The chaparral shrub grows in the Western United States and parts of Mexico and is used traditionally by the indigenous people of these regions to treat such conditions as arthritis, cancer, tuberculosis, bowel cramps, venereal disease, colds and bronchitis. No chaparral -containing products are currently approved by Health Canada for any use. Health Canada warns consumers not to take products containing chaparral. News release, Dec 21, 2005.

Chaparral Research, safety, side effects
Toxic acute hepatitis and hepatic fibrosis after consumption of chaparral tablets.
Scandinavian J Gastroenterol. 2004.
Department of Internal Medicine, Oulu University, Oulu, Finland.
In this report we describe a young, previously healthy woman who developed severe acute hepatitis after consumption of chaparral tablets, a commonly used herbal product. In this case, the elimination-rechallenge event and the exclusion of other possible aetiologic factors strongly supported true causality between the herbal product and the liver damage. Primary liver biopsy showed severe toxic hepatitis consistent with previous reports of chaparral-induced liver damage. Later, 6 months after the liver function tests had normalized, permanent hepatic fibrosis could still be seen.

The safety of low-dose Larrea tridentata Coville (creosote bush or chaparral): a retrospective clinical study.
J Altern Complement Med. 2001. Heron S, Yarnell E.
Naturopathic Family Health Care, Sedona, AZ, USA.
To determine whether internal use of low doses of Larrea tridentata tincture or topical applications of this traditional herbal medicine are safe. DESIGN: Retrospective review of all people prescribed Larrea for internal or for topical use over a 22-month period. A general naturopathic practice in Sedona, Arizona. Thirteen patients were identified for whom chaparral tincture for internal use was prescribed. An additional 20 female and 3 male patients were identified for whom an extract of Larrea in Ricinus communis (castor) oil for topical use was prescribed. No patient had any history of liver disease. Larrea was prescribed as part of the usual care of each patient. In all cases it was given as either part of a complex herbal formula individualized for each patient containing less than 10% Larrea tincture or as an extract in Ricinus oil for topical use. Serum liver enzyme levels as well as blood urea nitrogen and creatinine levels, glucose levels, electrolytes, bilirubin levels, iron levels, ferritin levels, lipid levels, and complete blood count (CBC) were available for analysis in four patients; general clinical history and physical examination findings were relied on in all other cases. The four patients with complete before and after blood chemistry panels and CBC had no indication of liver damage from use of Larrea. This included one patient who was taking medications with significant potential for hepatotoxicity. No patient in the study, whether using Larrea for short term or long, internally or externally, showed any sign of organ damage during the period of follow-up. Relatively small intakes of chaparral tincture, or topical application of extracts in Ricinus oil, are safe when prescribed by a clinically trained botanical prescriber. Larrea should be used with caution in persons with a history of previous, or current, liver disease. It may be preferable to avoid the use of Larrea capsules because they have been associated with potentially dangerous overdosing.

Some people misspell this word as chapparal, chapparral, or chaparal.

Emails
My grandmother drank tea with chaparral along with other members in our family including me, and we never had any adverse effects.In my opinion, if something can help someone that doesn't cost an arm and a leg and takes away from the high cost of prescriptions, the FDA will find a way to ban it, because it takes away the money they could be making.