This treatment modality is used in place of conventional therapies to treat cancer. Seek advice from a qualified physician before replacing standard cancer therapy with chaparral therapy.
What does chaparral therapy involve?
Chaparral is an herb made from the leaves of a desert shrub, the creosote bush (Larrea divericata Coville). Chaparral is a traditional Native American remedy for wounds, infections, rheumatism, tuberculosis and cancer, among others. For cancer treatment, chaparral leaves and stems are steeped in hot water to make a tea. The therapy involves drinking one to three cups per day or taking the herb in tablet form.
How is chaparral thought to treat cancer?
Chaparral contains a compound called nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA) that acts as a powerful antioxidant. Theoretically, NDGA is thought to stop tumors by preventing cancer cells from breaking down glucose to produce energy needed for cellular growth.
What has been proven about the benefit of chaparral?
Early studies of NDGA showed it was able to inhibit the growth of some cancer cells in rats. Human studies were not successful and concerns about NDGA's toxicity increased after lesions on the kidneys and lymph nodes of animals were found. As a result, the FDA removed from it’s "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) list in 1968.
What is the potential risk or harm of chaparral?
Chaparral is toxic to liver. Between 1992 and 1994, the FDA received eighteen reports of chaparral-associated illness, thirteen of which involved liver toxicity. In two cases, it has caused liver failure requiring liver transplantation. The American Cancer Society does not believe that chaparral is a useful cancer treatment.
How much does chaparral cost?
Cost varies from $40 to $90 a bottle. It can be found at various health food stores.
For additional information:
American Cancer Society
1599 Clifton Road, N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: (800) ACS-2345
Web site: www.cancer.org
Note: Information about therapies is intended to help you make informed choices, not to endorse any particular therapy. The information is courtesy of "Integrating Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Cancer Patients," a handbook written as an independent study project by Heather Morein. For more information, see the full text of the handbook (PDF), including all references and appendices.