Chaparral is a truly fascinating plant.
It is discussed in the appendix of my book.
There are a hundred or more varieties of plants that are called
chaparral. The one that is used medicinally is Larrea divaricata.
It grows mainly in the deserts of Arizona, New Mexico, and
The most famous chaparral account revolves
around an 87-year old man who had had three operations for
melanoma (on his face) before deciding to try another approach
to his situation. He was completely cured by use of chaparral
in a tea form. It took several months, but he regained his
vitality and recovered the weight he had lost.
There is not much consensus as to what produces
these remarkable results. Most researchers attribute the effects
to nordihydroguaiaretic acid or NDGA. This is an antioxidant
that is often added to oils to prevent rancidity, but it seems
to have other benefits, including protecting tissue from damage
when exposed to carcinogens. Studies show that NDGA may also
inhibit cell proliferation as well as DNA synthesis.
Chaparral may also be useful in combatting
certain bacteria and viruses and has shown much promise with
herpes. Dr. Christopher felt that chaparral acted on the fermentation
processes that nourish morbid conditions in the body. He also
believed that it stimulates reproduction of healthy cells in
such a way as to drive out unhealthy ones. The late Dr. William
Kelley, a dentist who has contributed much to holistic cancer
theories, felt that chaparral is a natural chelator that helps
to remove toxins from the liver and pancreas.
There are lots of theories, some of them quite
esoteric, but the fact is that Native American medicine men
and women as well as Hispanic curanderos have been using chaparral
for centuries, this for a wide range of conditions from asthma
to cancer, especially melanomas and leukemia, but I have seen
it very successfully used for breast and ovarian cancer as
Status in the Marketplace:
After allegations in 1992 of liver toxicity
associated with chaparral consumption, manufacturers 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 the chaparral
is combined with Vitamin C or other antioxidants.
The quote is from Arizona
Dr. William Kelly:
"I've found that chaparral is
very effective in 7% of the cases of malignancy. The action
is not as many researchers believe—a specific activity
against the cancer cell, but rather an indirect one. In about
7% of the cases of malignancy, the pancreas and the liver
as well as other tissue of the body are so congested with
poisons such as medications, sprays, drugs, metallic poisons,
and pollutants, that these tissues cannot carry on normal
activity. This is basically an antagonist to the enzyme and
vitamin and mineral metabolism that goes on in the body.
In cancer specifically, we find that the pancreatic enzymes
are locked with the antagonists and are rendered totally
ineffective. By chelating these antagonists from the pancreatic
enzymes, we find that normal activity takes place and the
person's own cancer defenses take over and destroy the tumor
in malignant conditions. It has been found further and should
be seriously investigated by the Federal Government that
Chaparral works well in chelating the toxins out of the bodies
of those who have been drug addicts. We recommend taking
two Chaparral tablets before each meal. This seems to be
an effective way of chelating antagonists from the body that
otherwise could not be accomplished."
From The Kelly Research Foundation
in Grapevine, Texas
While Dr. Kelley's remarks suggest many
possible uses for chaparral, the 7% figure he uses to define
its effectiveness with respect to cancer is not going to cause
too many people to rush to buy chaparral. I am not in any position
at all to support or refute Dr. Kelley's number or findings.
I would simply like to put this into an entirely different
First, if you or someone you love happens
to be one of those in the 7% category, this is cause
for elation. While I personally only know a handful of people
who attribute their cures to chaparral, I can say that for
those for whom it worked, it performed a service beyond anyone's
Second, this figure is more than twice as
good as the one used for certain other treatments. For instance,
laetrile, according to Dr. Contreras, is effective in 3%
of cases but helps 12% of patients in indirect ways.
Third, if chaparral is effective in treating
a condition as serious as melanoma, this is important because
conventional medicine is hugely ineffective in the treatment
of this condition.
Therefore, while no one is claiming that chaparral
is some kind of panacea, it is one of those products that we
might say is worth a try. It's very inexpensive and, as such,
is no doubt within the means of anyone who wishes to give it
See also Essiac
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