This month I am featuring Chaparral as herb of the month. It has been a great year for this plant, as we received good rains in early spring and August to assist blooming. Chaparral typically flowers 3 times per year in New Mexico; I enjoy collecting it for the floral, soft flavor while in flower. The greatest resins and oils are available just before flowering.
Although there were reports several years ago to avoid its use, Chaparral has been used by desert people for centuries. It is important to prepare it appropriately so the oils do not inhibit liver function. The traditional method is to make a ‘clear tea’; that is, steep the herb for just a few minutes, do not let it sit for long and drink plenty of it for optimal benefits. Among the Tahono Odham tribe of Arizona it is reported to have been used for over 65 different ailments.