Sweet and Sacred Mother Earth,
we are grateful to you.
You, who is a living, breathing, conscious entity.
Oh Goddess of Wisdom, we thank you for blessing us with healing herbs from the land.
Bless our Sacred Journey on this Earth, your exquisite masterpiece.
We honor your life sustaining blessings as stewards of your land,
with reverence toward all living things.
Aho!

What is Chaparral?
Chaparral, is also known as Larrea tridentata,
Creosote (although it contains no Creosote)
or Greasewood (because of its oily leaves).
This unusual medical herb has the ability to secure more water by inhabiting the growth of plants that grow near it.

Chaparral is one the oldest living plants, 11,700 years old to be exact, and has been used by Southwest Natives for centuries.
They used it for everything from the internal aliments to topical skin treatments,
including sunscreen for themselves and their animals.
Traditionally, it has also been used as a bath or liniment to relieve the inflammation and pain of arthritis,
and is sometimes used in combination with other healing plants.

The properties of Chaparral far exceed that of many other plants.
For this we are grateful, Mother Earth.


Chaparral in bloom.
Photo Credit: Barb King

Our Chaparral is harvested in the Verde Valley of Arizona, where it grows abundantly in our back yard.

We are an Arizona Woman Owned company lovingly making natural products prepared in small batches.

When we gather Chaparral, we first do a ceremony
thanking Mother Earth for her abundant gift of Chaparral and it's healing properties.

Then, we bless all those who are going to use it and benefit from it.
Treading lightly on Mother Earth, we do a meditation, drum ceremony, sing and dance in honor of Her.

We use all natural and organic oils and butters, free of any harmful chemicals in our Chaparral preparations.
Each batch is then blessed with a Reiki Energy Prayer.


Mother Nature's Healing Gifts

 

The Chaparral Story
Here in the Arizona Desert, we get very little rain. So plants adapt themselves to these conditions. As with all plants, the Chaparral or Creosote Plant “breathes” in carbon dioxide through the openings on the underside of the leaves. This is called Stomata. But that means the plant loses water. So in order to adapt, the Chaparral opens its stomata only in the morning when the humidity is relatively high and water loss is low. The plant undergoes photosynthesis and shuts down as the sun rises higher in the sky.

The intelligence of this plant maximizes the amount of sunlight it receives by facing southeast. The branches and leaves grow in a shape meant to capture as much of the morning sunlight as possible, thus saving water in the plant. As the heat of the day increases, the stomata close and shut down the process of photosynthesis. Desert plants are always about conserving water not depending on the sunlight for their growth.

Creosote bushes are cone shaped so the rain can channel down the stem and go deeper into the soil for the roots to absorb. It can also grow into the shape of an upside down bowl that allows leaves and other organic material to collect under it, creating rich soil for the plant. The bush grows in orderly patterns across the desert, spacing itself equidistant from the other chaparral plants reflecting its conservation of water. In deep sandy soils the plant can also obtain water using its tap root. While the creosote bush thrives in the desert, overtaking ecosystems and turning them into a shrub-land, the mother plant sends out runners and new baby plants begin growing, thus keeping all the new shoots in a community, equidistantly surrounding the mother plant, like a closely knit family.

It was believed that the bush had the ability to grow poisonous shoots that killed any plant that got in its way. However, now scientists believe that the root system of the mature bushes are so efficient in absorbing water that there's no water left in the soil for other plants to germinate, which explains their shallow root system. Either way, Mother Nature has protected this plant for 11,700 years. It is one of the longest-lived plants in the world.

Since nutrients are rare in the desert the Chaparral plant gets nutrients from microbial algae, fungi and bacteria living on the plant. The Creosote bush tolerates drought better than any other shrub in North America. It can actually survive for up to two years without rain. And after each heavy rain, it bursts forth with beautiful yellow flowers.

Perhaps one of the most interesting things about the Creosote plant is that stays green, has no thorns, spines or spikes like other desert plants and no insects that readily eat it or totally destroy it.

The Smell of Desert Rain
So why does the desert smell a certain way after it rains? It's because this plant contains volatile oils, mostly terpene (a compound that is found in pine trees), limonene (citrus), camphor (found in pine trees and rosemary), methanol (wood alcohol) and 2-undecanone (found in spices).

And just to set the record straight .... the plant does not produce the creosote used to preserve railroad ties or outdoor wood. That stuff comes from a certain variety of pine tree.

The plant produces a range of compounds that protect it from insects and pathogenic fungi. These compounds also prevent herbivores from eating it, except for Jackrabbits and hikers, the only known mammals known to eat the leaves of the plant. The flower of the Creosote bush attracts bees that feed on the flowers and the creosote katydid and creosote grasshopper use it as a food source.

Creosote stores water like other types of cacti. It retains moisture and nutrients in the crown of the plant so it can bloom even if it doesn't rain. Seasonally it blooms in the spring and opportunistically after any rain of an inch or more. It is not unusual to see the Chaparral plant blooming in late summer after the monsoon rains. Interestingly, the plant protects its blooms from pollination of insects after a blossom is fertilized by rotating a quarter of a turn, making it less conspicuous to other insects.

The Benefits of this Sacred Plant
Back in the 1930's people used Nordihydroguaiaretic acid, a powerful antioxidant the bush uses for protection, to keep food from spoiling. Then in the 1970's the FDA discontinued the use of it in foods. However recent research indicates that this chemical has the ability to reduce cancerous tumors in animals.

Many Native Tribes consider the Creosote a sacred plant. According to their stories, Earth Maker took soil from his breast, scattered it and planted the Creosote plant.

It was often taken internally for gastrointestinal problems by chewing and swallowing the gum. Tea infusions were used for bowel issues, improving the flow of urine and food poisoning. It also has decongestant properties that may relieve symptoms of colds, asthma and respiratory infections, heartburn and indigestion. Other remedies included disinfectant, deodorizers and treatment for dandruff. Several tribes even used infusions to treat cancers and tumors. It can also be used as a deodorant, in oral health to treat toothaches and treating saddle sores on horses.

Creosote’s anti-inflammatory properties made it useful in poultices, infusions, and decoctions applied directly to aching joints to relieve the pain of rheumatism, arthritis, sprains, bruises, abrasion wounds, burns and fungus. It is said that one can bathe in a tea to ease sore areas of the body. The plant can also be turned into a liniment or salve and rubbed on the skin to ease pain and protect from the sun, as the Natives would literally strip the leaves off the plant and rub it on the skin for themselves and their animals.

Despite the FDA's discouragement of the use of this plant for health benefits, due to possibility of toxicity to the liver, people still make teas for arthritis and other illnesses externally as the Native Tribes did for generations and generations, with no harm to them.



The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not considered medical advice.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any diseases.
We make no claims to health benefits.

For external use only.

Consult your physician before use.
Do not use if pregnant or have a history of liver disease.
Discontinue use if irritation or reactions occur.

Chaparral has been used for centuries by indigenous tribes and deemed safe.
Sensitivity symptoms may occur. Be aware of what your body is telling you.
If skin looks jaundiced stop using immediately as this could be a sign of liver toxicity.
Do your own research and educate yourself.
Choose doctors that are knowledgeable with herbs and nutrition.