Latin Name: Larrea tridentata Other names: Chapparal, Greasewood, Gobernadora Where found: Throughout lower Southwest, at elevations below 4,000 feet, common along roadsides in Lower Sonoran Desert. Description: Tall bush, 4 to 6 ft high, leaves small and curled, usually waxy and olive drab but turns brown in drought. Flowers are small and yellow, and cover bush after good rain.
Action: Slows growth by inhibiting aerobic combustion in mitochondria of cells, kills bacteria inhibits free radicals, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic.
Gathering: Mature plants, strip away leaves and small stems from larger woody stems and dry, stable up to 2 years. Substitution: None, not usually available in health food stores; if you donít live in the Southwest, get a friend to send you some- itís very common here!
Used as a tea. The leaves and twigs are gathered, and may be used fresh, or dried for use later. The twigs and leaves are boiled for a few minutes. in a 1:6 or 8 ratio of herb to water, allowed to steep for 5 or more minutes, then strained. The flavor and odor is very strong- sort of an "acquired taste" to put it kindly!
Frankly, it stinks! Creosote has a strong medicinal smell and taste; some people actually like it! It smells so bad that it probably is very good for you!
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!