Chaparral is best known for its ability to treat cancer effectively. The antitumor effects of chaparral have been verified in studies conducted by the universities of both Nevada and Utah. One of the things that makes chaparral unique in its ability to treat cancer is the fact that it “attacks” the cancer through multiple mechanisms. Since the majority of cancers have a microbial origin the first mechanism is through the destruction of viruses, bacteria and fungi. Chronic inflammation has also been linked to the formation of cancers meaning that chaparral’s anti-inflammatory properties can inhibit some cancers. Chaparral can inhibit cancers triggered, or aggravated, by free radicals and toxins due to its antioxidant and cleansing properties. Chaparral’s liver cleansing properties makes it helpful for hormonal induced cancers since the liver is responsible for the breakdown of excess hormones. And finally, chaparral inhibits mitochondrial enzymes, which in turn inhibits the cellular division of cancer cells. In short, this means chaparral can inhibit cancer growth.
Chaparral’s ability to kill microbes makes it useful for a number of diseases linked to microbial infections. These include cancers (viral, bacterial, and fungal forms), heart disease (chlamydia bacteria), hepatitis (viral, bacterial, and fungal forms), rheumatoid (chlamydia bacteria) and other forms of infectious arthritis, multiple sclerosis (human herpes virus type 6), ulcerative colitis (mycoavium complex bacterium), Crohn’s disease (mycoavium complex bacterium), type 1 diabetes (viral), pneumonia (viral, bacterial, and fungal forms), bronchitis (viral, bacterial, and fungal forms), etc. One of the most interesting areas of study for the use of chaparral is in the treatment of herpes infections where studies are looking very promising.
Chaparral is very resinous and so is not easy to prepare as a tea. Resins and water do not mix and the resin will separate out and stick to the pan wall when trying to make the tea. Therefore, I recommend not using this herb as a tea. I personally prefer the powder mixed with other herbs. By combining the powder with other powdered herbs the other powdered herbs will help prevent the resins in the chaparral from clumping the powder in to a big “gumball” when it comes in to contact with water. This helps maintain a larger surface area thereby increasing the absorption and effectiveness of the herb. In addition, the addition of other herbs can increase the effectiveness of each herb . For instance, chaparral combined with red clover blossom increases the antitumor activity of both herbs. Combining chaparral with pau d’ arco (lapacho, taheebo, ipe roxo) increases the antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal activities of both herbs.
Again, the FDA tried to claim that chaparral was linked to 13 cases of hepatitis though medical reviews subsequently found no evidence that the chaparral was linked to the cases. In fact, it was shown that many of the patients were found to have pre-existing liver failure or were taking pharmaceutical drugs well known for causing liver damage. On the other hand, fresh chaparral does contain unstable alkaloids that may damage the liver if ingested for a length of time. Therefore, chaparral should be dried and aged several months before use to destroy these alkaloids.