There are a hundred or more varieties of plants that are called chaparral. The one that is used medicinally is Larrea divaricata.
The most famous chaparral account surrounds 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. 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.
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