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Chaparral

What is it?

Chaparral is an herbal medicine used to treat arthritis, cancer, allergies, stomach pain, skin wounds, and menstrual (period) cramps.

Other names for Chaparral include: Creosote Bush, Dwarf Evergreen Oak, Greasewood, Jarillo, and Larrea tridentata.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have liver or kidney problems
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease

Dosage:

Talk with your caregiver about how much Chaparral you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking Chaparral. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.

Drug and Food Interactions:

Do not take Chaparral without talking to your doctor first if you are taking:

  • Blood thinning medication (examples: aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix(R)), ticlopidine (Ticlid(R)), warfarin (Coumadin(R)), enoxaparin (Lovenox(R)))
  • Medicine used to lower cholesterol (examples are: simvastatin (Zocor(R)); atorvastatin (Lipitor(R)))
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol(R), also found in many cough and cold medicines)
  • Amiodarone (Cordarone(R))
  • Medicines used to treat some types of cancer (Carmustine (BiCNU(R)); Mercaptopurine (Purinethol(R)))
  • Medicine used to replace male hormones (Methyltestosterone (Android(R)); Testosterone (Androderm(R), Testoderm(R)))
  • Methotrexate (Folex(R), Rheumatrex(R)))
  • Medicine used to treat infection (Itraconazole (Sporanox(R)); Ketoconazole (Nizoral(R)); Terbinafine (Lamisil(R)))
  • Valproic acid (Depacon(R), Depakene(R), Depakote(R)))

Warnings:

  • Before taking Chaparral, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Side Effects:

Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.

  • Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest
  • Chest pain
  • Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • Call your doctor if you develop acute hepatitis (liver disease) (6,7)
  • If you develop severe stomach pain, throwing up, or jaundice (yellow color to the skin), call your doctor (10)
  • Use of Chaparral may cause kidney problems (8)
  • You may experience fatigue, stomach or abdominal pain, diarrhea, discolored urine or stool, or fever (11)

References:

1. Brinker F: Larrea tridentata (D.C.) Coville (chaparral or creosote bush). Br J Phytother 1993/1994; 3(1):10-31.

2. Moore M: Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West. Museum of New Mexico Press, Santa Fe, NM; 1989: 27-29.

3. Moore M: Herbal Materia Medica, 5th ed. Southwest School of Botanical Medicine, Albuquerque, NM; 1995: 18.

4. Kay MA: Healing with Plants in the American and Mexican West. University of Arizona Press, Tucson, AZ; 1996: 178-181.

5. Newall C, Anderson L, Phillipson J: Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. The Pharmaceutical Press, London, UK; 1996.

6. Katz M, Saibil F: Herbal hepatitis: subacture hapatic necrosis secondary to chaparral leaf. J Clin Gastoenterol 1990; 12:203-206.

7. Anon: Chaparral-induced toxic hepatitis - California and Texas, 1992. Morbidity Mortality Weekly Report 1992; 41: 812-814.

8. Oliveto EP: Ordihydroguaiaretic acid. A naturally occurring antioxidant Chem Ind 1972:677-679.

9. Gimeno MF, Shattner MA, Borda E et al: Lipoxygenase inhibitors alter aggregation and adhesiveness of human blood platelets from aspirin treated patients. Prostaglandin Leuko Med 1983; 119(1): 109-119.

10. Alderman S, Kailas S, Goldfarb S et al: Cholestatic hepatitis after ingestion of chaparral leaf confirmation by endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography and liver biopsy. J Clin Gastroenterol 1994; 19(3): 242-249.

11. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R et al (eds): Botannical safety handbook. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL; 1997: 67.

12. Anon: Chaparral-induced toxic hepatitis - California and Texas, 1992. MMWR 1992; 41(43):812-814.

13. Batchelor WB, Heathcote J & Wanless IR: Chaparral-induced hepatic injury. Am J Gastroenterol 1995; 90(5):831-833.

14. Gordon DW, Rosenthal G, Hart J et al: Chaparral ingestion: the broadening spectrum of liver injury caused by herbal medications. JAMA 1995; 273(6):489-490.

15. Grant KL, Boyer LV & Erdman BE: Chaparral-induced hepatotoxicity. Integrat Med 1998; 1(2):83-87.

16. Wang JP, Hsu MF & Teng CM: Antiplatelet effect of capsaicin. Thromb Res 1984; 36:497-507.


Last Updated: 4/4/2014

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