Larrea tridentata

Larrea tridentata                                  Common name: Chaparral

Family: Zygophyllaceae

Part used: Aerial

Constituents: Flavone aglycones (18 different ones); Dihydroflavonol; Larreic acid; Guaiuretic acid lignins including nordihydroguaiuretic acid (NDGA), Quercetin bioflavonoids

Actions: Antimicrobial, hepatic stimulant, hypolipidemic, anti-hepatoxic, anti-peroxidant, anti-rheumatic

Medical uses: 

It will enhance the absorption of dietary fats via its choleretic action while lowering LDL and VLDL levels.  The hepatic stimulation combined with the antioxidant actions make it useful in various arthralgias including osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis. Is bacteriostatic and bacteriocidal and is useful in the treatment of gastroenteritis, vaginitis, impetigo, folliculitis and various dermatophytic infections.  It must be taken or applied frequently to produce results, but rarely fails to reduce or eliminate the infection. Is used by some practitioners as an anti-cancer therapy. May be most useful in the prevention of cancer, particularly melanoma cancer (high sensitivity to the anti-carcinogenic and anti-neoplastic effects of chaparral).


  • Ability to inhibit aerobic glycolysis in the mitochondrial of its own cells, responsible for antimicrobial properties
  • Proposed mechanism of action for anti-cancer effects is based upon the inhibition of anaerobic respiration (primary respiratory pathway of cancerous cells) by inhibiting mitochrondrial NADH oxidase and succinoxidase and folic acid dehydrogenase. Antioxidant properties of chaparral prevent carcinogenic oxidants from initiating cancerous cellular changes and NDGA blocks chromosome damage caused by tumor promoters.



Toxicity: Avoid long-term use due to the presence of alkaloids.  A 1-2 month vacation every 2-3 months is advisable to avoid any long-term toxicity.

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