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Creosote Bush , Chaparral

Compilation by Armando Gonzalez Stuart, PhD

Scientific Name:

Larrea tridentata

Other Common Name:

“Chaparral”, Gobernadora, Guamis, Hediondilla, Jarilla.

Parts of the plant used:

The leaves and twigs.

How is it used?

In Mexican traditional medicine, the leaves and twigs are stepped in boiling water for just a few seconds to make a tea. The tea made from this plant has a very strong, bitter taste, which usually limits its consumption. The tea is usually taken only for short periods of time, rarely more than 2 weeks. Fairly recently, however, marketing schemes recommend the use of tablets and capsules made from creosote bush leaves for internal use. The capsules and tablets have not been the usual form of consuming creosote bush for medicinal purposes, and convey a much more concentrated form of the plant and its active chemicals in comparison to the tea. For this reason, pills and capsules made from this plant are potentially more dangerous to use. Because of this, the FDA banned the sale of these products in the United States.

What is it used for?

Internally as tea for gall bladder stones, kidney stones, venereal (sexually transmitted) diseases and some types of cancer. Factual data as to its efficacy against most of these ailments is lacking. Externally, it is employed as a wash for athlete’s foot, ringworm and other fungal skin infections, venereal disease and as a foot deodorant.


Safety / Precautions


  • Creosote bush may cause liver and kidney damage with concentrated or prolonged usage, especially in pill or tablet form.
  • This plant may cause kidney irritation and damage, according to concentration, dose and length of treatment.
  • Do not use in any form during pregnancy or lactation.
  • Avoid use in small children.
  • Do not use internally in patients with liver cirrhosis or hepatitis, since large doses of the capsules, pills or tea may cause liver necrosis. •External application may cause allergy (contact dermatitis) in susceptible individuals.

Before you decide to take any medicinal herb or herbal supplement, be sure to consult with your health care professional first. Avoid self-diagnosis and self-medication: Always be on the safe side!