Other Name(s):

Creosote Bush, Créosotier, Greasewood, Hediondilla, Jarilla, Larrea divaricata, Larrea tridentata, Larreastat, Larrea mexicana, Zygophyllum tridentatum.


Chaparral is a plant. The leaf is used to make medicine, but there are serious safety concerns. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada have advised consumers against using products containing chaparral due to safety concerns. Despite warnings, chaparral is still available in the U.S. Chaparral is not permitted by Health Canada because it is not an authorized natural health product. Chaparral is sometimes an ingredient in diluted homeopathic preparations. The safety concerns do no generally apply to homeopathic preparations containing chaparral due to the extreme dilutions.

Chaparral is used for digestion problems including cramps and gas; respiratory tract conditions including colds and infections; and ongoing chronic skin disorders. It is also used for cancer, arthritis, tuberculosis, urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases, central nervous system conditions, chickenpox, parasite infections, obesity, and snakebite pain. Some people use chaparral for detoxification, or as a tonic or “blood purifier.”

How does it work?

The chemicals in chaparral are thought to work as antioxidants.

Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of chaparral for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


Next to red peppers, you can get the most vitamin C from ________________. See Answer

Side Effects

Chaparral is UNSAFE. There are several reports of serious poisoning, acute hepatitis, and kidney and liver damage, including kidney and liver failure.

Chaparral can cause side effects including stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, weight loss, fever, and liver and kidney damage. Putting chaparral on the skin can cause skin reactions including rash and itching.

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Chaparral is UNSAFE. It can cause serious liver and kidney problems. Don't use products containing chaparral.

Liver disease: Chaparral might make liver disease worse. Don't use it.


Medications that can harm the liver (Hepatotoxic drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Chaparral might harm the liver. Taking chaparral along with medication that might also harm the liver can increase the risk of liver damage. Do not take chaparral if you are taking a medication that can harm the liver.

Some medications that can harm the liver include acetaminophen (Tylenol and others), amiodarone (Cordarone), carbamazepine (Tegretol), isoniazid (INH), methotrexate (Rheumatrex), methyldopa (Aldomet), fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), erythromycin (Erythrocin, Ilosone, others), phenytoin (Dilantin), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), simvastatin (Zocor), and many others.


Vitamin D Deficiency: How Much Vitamin D Is Enough? See Slideshow


The appropriate dose of chaparral depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for chaparral. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Reviewed on 6/14/2021

Abou-Gazar, H., Bedir, E., Takamatsu, S., Ferreira, D., and Khan, I. A. Antioxidant lignans from Larrea tridentata. Phytochemistry 2004;65(17):2499-2505. View abstract.

Agarwal, R., Wang, Z. Y., Bik, D. P., and Mukhtar, H. Nordihydroguaiaretic acid, an inhibitor of lipoxygenase, also inhibits cytochrome P-450-mediated monooxygenase activity in rat epidermal and hepatic microsomes. Drug Metab Dispos. 1991;19(3):620-624. View abstract.

Alderman, S., Kailas, S., Goldfarb, S., Singaram, C., and Malone, D. G. Cholestatic hepatitis after ingestion of chaparral leaf: confirmation by endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography and liver biopsy. J Clin.Gastroenterol. 1994;19(3):242-247. View abstract.

Arasaki, K., Tani, K., Yoshimori, T., Stephens, D. J., and Tagaya, M. Nordihydroguaiaretic acid affects multiple dynein-dynactin functions in interphase and mitotic cells. Mol.Pharmacol 2007;71(2):454-460. View abstract.

Arteaga, S., Andrade-Cetto, A., and Cardenas, R. Larrea tridentata (Creosote bush), an abundant plant of Mexican and US-American deserts and its metabolite nordihydroguaiaretic acid. J Ethnopharmacol 4-26-2005;98(3):231-239. View abstract.

Birkenfeld, S., Zaltsman, Y. A., Krispin, M., Zakut, H., Zor, U., and Kohen, F. Antitumor effects of inhibitors of arachidonic acid cascade on experimentally induced intestinal tumors. Dis.Colon Rectum 1987;30(1):43-46. View abstract.

Brinker F. Larrea tridentat (D.C.) Coville (chaparral or creosote bush). Br J Phytother 1993;3:10-31.

Chang, C. C., Liang, Y. C., Klutz, A., Hsu, C. I., Lin, C. F., Mold, D. E., Chou, T. C., Lee, Y. C., and Huang, R. C. Reversal of multidrug resistance by two nordihydroguaiaretic acid derivatives, M4N and maltose-M3N, and their use in combination with doxorubicin or paclitaxel. Cancer Chemother.Pharmacol 2006;58(5):640-653. View abstract.

Chitturi, S. and Farrell, G. C. Drug-induced cholestasis. Semin.Gastrointest.Dis. 2001;12(2):113-124. View abstract.

Clark, F. Chaparral-induced toxic hepatitis: California and Texas, 1992. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 1992;41:812-814.

Cranston EM, Jensen MJ, Moren MJ, and et al. The acute and chronic toxicity of nordihydroguaiaretic acid. Fed.Proc. 1947;6:318-319.

Dasgupta, A. and Bernard, D. W. Herbal remedies: effects on clinical laboratory tests. Arch Pathol Lab Med 2006;130(4):521-528. View abstract.

De Smet, PAGM.In: De Smet, PAGM. Adverse Effects of Herbal Drugs. Berlin: Springer-Verlag;1993.

Downum, KR, Dole, J, and Rodriguez, E. Nordihydroguaiaretic acid: inter- and intrapopulational variation in the Sonoran Desert creosote bush (Larrea tridentata, Zygophyllaceae). Biochem Syst Ecol 1988;16(6):551-555.

Evan, A. P. and Gardner, K. D., Jr. Nephron obstruction in nordihydroguaiaretic acid-induced renal cystic disease. Kidney Int 1979;15(1):7-19. View abstract.

Fleiss, P. M. Chaparral and liver toxicity. JAMA 9-20-1995;274(11):871-872. View abstract.

Galfi, P., Neogrady, Z., Amberger, A., Margreiter, R., and Csordas, A. Sensitization of colon cancer cell lines to butyrate-mediated proliferation inhibition by combined application of indomethacin and nordihydroguaiaretic acid. Cancer Detect.Prev. 2005;29(3):276-285. View abstract.

Gardner, KD Jr, Evan, AP, and Reed, WP. Accelerated renal cyst development in deconditioned germfree rats. Kidney Int 1986;29(6):1116-1123.

Gardner, KD Jr, Reed, WP, Evan, AP, Zedalis, J, Hylarides, MD, and Leon, AA. Endotoxin provocation of experimental renal cystic disease. Kidney Int 1987;32(3):329-334.

Gimeno, M. F., Shattner, M. A., Borda, E., Gimeno, A. L., and Lazzari, M. A. Lipoxygenase inhibitors alter aggregation and adhesiveness of human blood platelets from aspirin-treated patients. Prostaglandins Leukot Med 1983;11(1):109-119. View abstract.

Goodman, T., Grice, H. C., Becking, G. C., and Salem, F. A. A cystic nephropathy induced by nordihydroguaiaretic acid in the rat. Light and electron microscopic investigations. Lab Invest 1970;23(1):93-107. View abstract.

Granados, H and Cardenas, R. Biliary calculi in the golden hamster. XXXVII. The prophylactic action of the creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) in pigmented cholelithiasis produced by vitamin A. Revista De Gastroenterología De México 1994;59(1):31-35.

Grice, H. C., Becking, G., and Goodman, T. Toxic properties of nordihydroguaiaretic acid. Food Cosmet.Toxicol. 1968;6(2):155-161. View abstract.

Huang, J. K., Chen, W. C., Huang, C. J., Hsu, S. S., Chen, J. S., Cheng, H. H., Chang, H. T., Jiann, B. P., and Jan, C. R. Nordihydroguaiaretic acid-induced Ca2+ handling and cytotoxicity in human prostate cancer cells. Life Sci 9-24-2004;75(19):2341-2351. View abstract.

Huang, R. C., Chang, C. C., and Mold, D. Survivin-dependent and -independent pathways and the induction of cancer cell death by tetra-O-methyl nordihydroguaiaretic acid. Semin.Oncol 2006;33(4):479-485. View abstract.

Hyder, PW. Total phenolics, condensed tannins, and nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA) as potential allelopathic compounds in creosote bush and tarbush in the northern Chihuahuan desert. 2001;

Ippen, H. Chaparral and liver toxicity. JAMA 9-20-1995;274(11):871-872. View abstract.

Kauma, H., Koskela, R., Makisalo, H., Autio-Harmainen, H., Lehtola, J., and Hockerstedt, K. Toxic acute hepatitis and hepatic fibrosis after consumption of chaparral tablets. Scand.J Gastroenterol. 2004;39(11):1168-1171. View abstract.

Konno, C, Martin, A, Ma, B-X, Lu, Z-Z, Xue, H-Z, Erdelmeier, CAJ, Nuzzo, NA, Soejarta, DD, Cordell, GA, Waller, DP, and Fong, HHS. Search for fertility regulating agents from Larrea tridentata. Proceedings: The First Princess Chulabhorn Science Congress 1987, International Congress on Natural Products 1987;2:328-337.

Lambert, J. D., Sang, S., Dougherty, A., Caldwell, C. G., Meyers, R. O., Dorr, R. T., and Timmermann, B. N. Cytotoxic lignans from Larrea tridentata. Phytochemistry 2005;66(7):811-815. View abstract.

Lambert, JD, Meyers, RO, Timmermann, BN, and Dorr, RT. Pharmacokinetic analysis by highperformance liquid chromatography of intravenous nordihydroguaiaretic acid in the mouse. J Chromatogr B Biomed Sci Appl 2001;754(1):85-90.

Lehman, AJ, Fitzhugh, OG, Nelson, AA, and Woodard, G. The pharmacological evaluation of antioxidants. Adv Food Res 1951;3:197-208.

Leonforte, J. F. Contact dermatitis from Larrea (creosote bush). J Am Acad.Dermatol. 1986;14(2 Pt 1):202-207. View abstract.

Luo, J., Chuang, T., Cheung, J., Quan, J., Tsai, J., Sullivan, C., Hector, R. F., Reed, M. J., Meszaros, K., King, S. R., Carlson, T. J., and Reaven, G. M. Masoprocol (nordihydroguaiaretic acid): a new antihyperglycemic agent isolated from the creosote bush (Larrea tridentata). Eur.J Pharmacol 4-3-1998;346(1):77-79. View abstract.

Luo, Z, Meksuriyen, D, Erdelmeier, CAJ, Fong, HHS, and Cordell, GA. Larreantin, a novel, cytotoxic naphthoquinone from Larrea tridentata. J Org Chem 1988;53(10):2183-2185.

Mabry, TJ, Hunkiker, JH, and DiFeo, DR.Creosote Bush: Biology and Chemistry of Larrea in New World Deserts. Stroudsburg, PA: Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross;1977.

Nakadate, T., Yamamoto, S., Aizu, E., and Kato, R. Inhibition of 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate-induced increase in vascular permeability in mouse skin by lipoxygenase inhibitors. Jpn.J Pharmacol 1985;38(2):161-168. View abstract.

Nakazato, PZ., Ulreich, JB, Boles, JL, Patel, MR, Rorie, CJ, Fisher, RL, and Brendel, K. Nephrotoxicity and hepatotoxicity of chaparral (Larrea tridentata) in rats and humans. Toxicologist 1998;37(287)

Nie, D., Krishnamoorthy, S., Jin, R., Tang, K., Chen, Y., Qiao, Y., Zacharek, A., Guo, Y., Milanini, J., Pages, G., and Honn, K. V. Mechanisms regulating tumor angiogenesis by 12-lipoxygenase in prostate cancer cells. J Biol Chem 7-7-2006;281(27):18601-18609. View abstract.

Obermeyer, W. R., Musser, S. M., Betz, J. M., Casey, R. E., Pohland, A. E., and Page, S. W. Chemical studies of phytoestrogens and related compounds in dietary supplements: flax and chaparral. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1995;208(1):6-12. View abstract.

Okboy, N, Yegen, C, Aktan, AO, Dosluoglu, HH, Sav, A, Yalin, R, and Ercan, S. The effect of iloprost and NDGA in ischemia reperfusion injury in rat liver. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 1992;47(4):291-295.

Park, R., Chang, C. C., Liang, Y. C., Chung, Y., Henry, R. A., Lin, E., Mold, D. E., and Huang, R. C. Systemic treatment with tetra-O-methyl nordihydroguaiaretic acid suppresses the growth of human xenograft tumors. Clin Cancer Res 6-15-2005;11(12):4601-4609. View abstract.

Remans, P. H., van Oosterhout, M., Smeets, T. J., Sanders, M., Frederiks, W. M., Reedquist, K. A., Tak, P. P., Breedveld, F. C., and van Laar, J. M. Intracellular free radical production in synovial T lymphocytes from patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Rheum 2005;52(7):2003-2009. View abstract.

Sakakibara, M, DiFeo, D Jr, Nakatani, N, Timmerman, B, and Mabry, TJ. Flavonoid methyl ethers on theexternal leaf surface of Larrea tridentata and L. divaricata. Phytochemistry 1976;15:727-731.

Salari, H., Braquet, P., and Borgeat, P. Comparative effects of indomethacin, acetylenic acids, 15-HETE, nordihydroguaiaretic acid and BW755C on the metabolism of arachidonic acid in human leukocytes and platelets. Prostaglandins Leukot.Med 1984;13(1):53-60. View abstract.

Siddique, Y. H., Beg, T., and Afzal, M. Protective effect of nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA) against norgestrel induced genotoxic damage. Toxicol In Vitro 2006;20(2):227-233. View abstract.

Smart, C. R., Hogle, H. H., Robins, R. K., Broom, A. D., and Bartholomew, D. An interesting observation on nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NSC-4291; NDGA) and a patient with malignant melanoma--a preliminary report. Cancer Chemother.Rep. 1969;53(2):147-151. View abstract.

Smart, C. R., Hogle, H. H., Vogel, H., Broom, A. D., and Bartholomew, D. Clinical experience with nordihydroguaiaretic acid--"chaparrel tea" in the treatment of cancer. Rocky.Mt.Med J 1970;67(11):39-43. View abstract.

Stashower, M. E. and Torres, R. Z. Chaparral and liver toxicity. JAMA 9-20-1995;274(11):871-872. View abstract.

Stickel, F. and Schuppan, D. Herbal medicine in the treatment of liver diseases. Dig.Liver Dis. 2007;39(4):293-304. View abstract.

Stickel, F., Egerer, G., and Seitz, H. K. Hepatotoxicity of botanicals. Public Health Nutr 2000;3(2):113-124. View abstract.

Stickel, F., Seitz, H. K., Hahn, E. G., and Schuppan, D. [Liver toxicity of drugs of plant origin]. Z.Gastroenterol. 2001;39(3):225-227. View abstract.

Uchide, N., Ohyama, K., Bessho, T., and Toyoda, H. Inhibition of influenza-virus-induced apoptosis in chorion cells of human fetal membranes by nordihydroguaiaretic Acid. Intervirology 2005;48(5):336-340. View abstract.

Ulreich, JB, Okafor, JM, Chavez, RC, Le, T, Maveddat, M, Boles, JL, Zavala, JL, Stringer, SK, Young, CJ, and Nakazato, PZ. Hepatotoxicity of chaparral in Fischer 344 rats. Toxicologist 1997;36(228)

Waller, CW and Gisvold, O. A phytochemical investigation of Larrea divaricata Cav. J Am Pharm Assoc Sci Ed 1945;34:78-81.

Zamora, JM. Cytotoxic, antimicrobial and phytochemical properties of Larrea tridentata Cav. 1984;

Zang, LY, Cosma, G, Gardner, H, Starks, K, Shi, X, and Vallyathan, V. Scavenging of superoxide anion radical by chaparral. Mol Cell Biochem 1999;196(1-2):157-161.

Anesini C, Ferraro G, Lopez P, Borda E. Different intracellular signals coupled to the antiproliferative action of aqueous crude extract from Larrea divaricata Cav. and nor-dihydroguaiaretic acid on a lymphoma cell line. Phytomedicine 2001;8:1-7.. View abstract.

Batchelor WB, Heathcote J, Wanless IR. Chaparral-induced hepatic injury. Am J Gastroenterol 1995;90:831-3. View abstract.

Chaparral-induced toxic hepatitis-California and Texas, 1992. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 1992;41:812-4.. View abstract.

Estes JD, Stolpman D, Olyaei A, et al. High prevalence of potentially hepatotoxic herbal supplement use in patients with fulminant hepatic failure. Arch Surg 2003;138:852-8.. View abstract.

Gnabre JN, Brady JN, Clanton DJ, et al. Inhibition of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 transcription and replication by DNA sequence-selective plant lignans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1995;92:11239-43.. View abstract.

Gordon DW, Rosenthal G, Hart J, et al. Chaparral ingestion: the broadening spectrum of liver injury caused by herbal medications. JAMA 1995;273:489-90. View abstract.

Heron S, Yarnell E. The safety of low-dose Larrea tridentata (DC) Coville (creosote bush or chaparral): a retrospective clinical study. J Altern Complement Med 2001;7:175-85.. View abstract.

Katz M, Saibil F. Herbal hepatitis: subacute hepatic necrosis secondary to chaparral leaf. J Clin Gastroenterol 1990;12:203-6. View abstract.

Klepser TB, Klepser ME. Unsafe and potentially safe herbal therapies. Am J Health Syst Pharm 1999;56:125-38. View abstract.

Lambert JD, Zhao D, Meyers RO, et al. Nordihydroguaiaretic acid: hepatotoxicity and detoxification in the mouse. Toxicon 2002;40:1701-8.. View abstract.

McDonald RW, Bunjobpon W, Liu T, et al. Synthesis and anticancer activity of nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA) and analogues. Anticancer Drug Des 2001;16:261-70.. View abstract.

Quiroga EN, Sampietro AR, Vattuone MA. Screening antifungal activities of selected medicinal plants. J Ethnopharmacol 2001;74:89-96.. View abstract.

Shad JA, Chinn CG, Brann OS. Acute hepatitis after ingestion of herbs. South Med J 1999;92:1095-7. View abstract.

Shasky DR. Contact dermatitis from Larrea tridentata (creosote bush). J Am Acad Dermatol 1986;15:302.. View abstract.

Sheikh NM, Philen RM, Love LA. Chaparral-associated hepatotoxicity. Arch Intern Med 1997;157:913-9. View abstract.

Smith AY, Feddersen RM, Gardner KD Jr, Davis CJ Jr. Cystic renal cell carcinoma and acquired renal cystic disease associated with consumption of chaparral tea: a case report. J Urol 1994;152:2089-91.. View abstract.

Smith BC, Desmond PV. Acute hepatitis induced by ingestion of the herbal medication chaparral. Aust N Z J Med 1993;23:526.. View abstract.

Tian, W. X. Inhibition of fatty acid synthase by polyphenols. Curr Med Chem 2006;13(8):967-977. View abstract.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors