Herbs & Plants
Of The Southwest
Latin Name: Larrea tridentata Common names: Chapparral, Greasewood, Gobernadora, Hediondilla (“Little Stinker” in Spanish)
This tough plant, with its distinctive medicinal smell that many people find pleasing, is found throughout the lower Southwest, at elevations below 4,000 feet, and is common along roadsides in Lower Sonoran Desert. Creosote is a large bush, 4 to 6 ft high, with small curled leaves that are usually waxy and olive drab but turn brown in drought. Flowers are small and yellow, and cover bush after a good rain, usually blooming after the winter rains, starting as early as January. The resin of the creosote bush was used by Native Americans to mend pottery and fix arrowheads.
Creosote is known as a blood cleanser, an antioxidant, antiviral and antibiotic agent, and is used for infections, skin problems, and auto-immune diseases such as arthritis, and may help to lower blood cholesterol. It is currently under research as a chemotherapeutic agent for cancer, and shows promise. The action of the components in Creosote may slow tumor growth by inhibiting aerobic combustion in mitochondria. Because of the bacteriostatic action of creosote bush, and its antioxidant properties, the tea applied externally is beneficial for wounds and skin irritations. This tough bush can be harvested in the wild, as there is certainly no shortage of it. Gather the leaves and small twigs at any time of the year by stripping them from the branches. Can be dried using the “Put It In A Paper Bag And Forget It Method”, as the chemical components are stable for up to 2 years.
Not to be used by small children or in pregnancy, because of the cell-growth slowing properties. If you have cancer and are thinking of using creosote bush, please check with your physician, as type of cancer and their growth rate/response to medication varies tremendously.
Be sure of the identity of the plant before you use it. If a preparation makes you sick or gives you a rash, don't use it, and throw it away! If your condition does not improve, see your doctor. Be sure to let your physician know EVERYTHING that you are taking!