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Chaparral (Creosote) Extract Extends Longevity of Mice

Updated on June 4, 2007

Scientists at the University of Michigan, led by Richard Miller, have found that an extract from a common American shrub, called chaparral or creosote (Larrea tridentata), has extended the life of male mice in laboratory tests.

The bush's longevity power is believed to be attributed to a natural anti-inflammatory in its extract, called nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA). Chaparral has a tradition of being a healing herb among Native American tribes. Earlier research at the University of California, San Francisco, demonstrated that NDGA has anti-cancer properties.

While scientists caution that humans should not self-administer NDGA because not much is known about its effect on humans (and, apparently, a few things are harmless to mice but deadly to us), the findings are significant enough to be shared with the scientific community for peer review in the journal Aging Cell.

However, chaparral, in the form of tea, is readily available. Native Americans drank chaparral tea to treat colds, menstrual cramps, skin disorders and minor wounds, chicken pox, and diarrhea.


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    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 10 years ago from North Carolina

      Hope they do more studies and find out whether it can be successfully applied for humans also.

    • profile image

      Vic 10 years ago

      This is great news. I wonder if it worked as well on female mice and if not, why.

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 10 years ago from San Francisco

      Not sure. It is an anti-inflammatory, though.

    • Lyricallor profile image

      Lorna Lorraine 10 years ago from Croydon

      I wonder how it would do to treat arthritis...thanks for sharing!

    • Maddie Ruud profile image

      Maddie Ruud 10 years ago from Oakland, CA

      Interesting. I can honestly say I'd never heard of it. I'll have to look into it.