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 California.

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 well.


Current 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.

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."


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 context.

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 expectation.

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 a try.


See also Essiac




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