Chaparral or Larrea tridentata and Larrea divaricata is also known as Greasewood, hediondilla, Creosote bush, Gobernadora. These are leafy bushes that an grow to twelve feet in height. When conditions are moist during rain or high humidity these plants are very rich in foliage, greasy to the touch, and a vibrant yellow green color. In cold or dry conditions it is olive drab colored and waxy to dead brown in extremes. The branches and trunk range from Gray, black, to reddish brown. The leaves are small and curled or slightly twisted. The flowers are yellow and cover the shrub and mature into round fuzzy capsules after rains.
The bush can be found from southern California, southern Nevada, most of Arizona, southern and central New Mexico, central Texas, and south into Mexico. The Creosote bush has a wide distribution from sea level to to 5,500 feet.
The Chaparral is used as a medicinal plant to treat a wide range of issues. The simplest way to utilize this plant in a survival situation is to make an infusion from the leaves and young tinder stems. This can be used as a wash for cuts and abrasions, antimicrobial and anti fungal for feet and other areas. I have drank the tea or infusion of this plant with great success for gastroenteritis. Care must be taken while using the tea or infusion, it has been known to cause liver damage so go easy on this. I prefer to use the dried leaves and stay away from fresh if used in this manner. The infusion tastes horrible but it does work.
Another use for this plant (speaking from utter experience) in areas where this plant grows vegetation can be very scarce. This being the case the leaves can be easily removed in large handfuls and rolled in the palm of the hand to make a sort of a ball. This can then substitute toilet paper and is completely safe provided you are not allergic in the first place. I have also used the leaves of this plant by crushing them and rolling them in my hand to use as a hand cleaner to kill bacteria when water is not present.
The leaves of this plant can be dried and powdered and used as an antibacterial on the skin. This will destroy odor causing bacteria as well as refreshing the body with a clean feeling. This stuff works wonders on the feet. These leaves can also be added to shoes or boots while green to aid in killing bacteria on the feet. This has been rumored to also aid with athletes foot, but I have not had any experience with this. For a little more on this plant please click here.