Larrea tridentata (Creosote)

Proving Summary

The complete proving is published as a monograph. More details about the proving can also be found in the book The Deseert World: A Homeopathic Exploration. Contact the Homeopathic Medicinary for more information.

Choosing the Remedy

This plant has been used for millennia as the Native American “drugstore” of the desert. It has many well described medicinal properties. It is one of the hardiest of plants and most typifies North American Deserts. In addition, it is the oldest living thing, displaying great hardiness and tenacity in survival. The proving symptoms from this plant were unusually strong and clear. Perhaps this is because it is a plant that has been utilized for millennia in the treatment of a great variety of medical conditions and is the single most utilized medicinal plant in the Sonoran Desert. Usages have included the treatment of colds, chest infections with lung congestion, coughs (antitussive), intestinal problems, stomach cramps associated with delayed menstruation, tuberculosis, cancer, dissolving kidney stones, fungicide, nausea, wounds (leaves were chewed and placed on the wound), poisoning by poisonous animals (snake, spider or scorpion), swollen limbs due to poor circulation, dandruff, body odor, distemper and post nasal drip. Of all these uses, its properties in helping with stiff limbs and arthritis of the elderly is perhaps most well known.. Symptoms of most of these conditions were found throughout the proving.

General Themes

Lack of Boundaries/Codependency
Quitting and Getting On With My life
Young Children/Infancy/Womb
Houses/Building Homes/Packing
Old/Ancient/People from the Past
Drugs/Drug Sensation
Famous People

Zygophylaceae Themes

Larrea tridentata is a member of the Zygophylaceae plant family. Little is known homeopathically about this family of plants (see CD). Many of these plants are well adapted to dry climates. Of note, is the strong tendency toward arthritis and catarrhal discharges in this family. Of special interest is the feeling in Guaiacum of being oppressed and not allowed to grow coupled with the feeling of everything appearing narrow-symptoms found in the Larrea proving. Peganum harmala is well described in the literature as being effective in the treatment of alcoholism-there were a number of symptoms in this proving suggesting that this may also be true of this remedy. Drugs and drug like sensations were also a theme noted throughout the proving. One prover described a cure of the following drug like sensation:

In the last few days I have the time and patience and can do anything in life; mentally I am where I knew where I need to be but did not know how to get there; feel profound and deep blockages permanently gone; I feel integrated; For years and years I felt like I was behind my body looking out through my eyes; gap of 6 inches between me and the world; physically present in my body for the first time; feel much more grounded; This was debilitating; I could not begin to tell where I was coming from; one week ago it felt like I just woke up(9)

The Larrea tridentata plant flower essence has been successfully used for alcohol cravings and for drug detoxification.Peganum harmala is also associated with the feeling of being drained by others, while the issue of codependency came up strongly during this proving. Several of the remedies in this family are well known for the treatment of hives-a chronic case of hives being cured during the Larrea proving. Kreosotum is related to Larrea tridentata in terms of its chemical constituents but not botanically (see natural history). There is a fairly strong overlap in physical symptoms between the provings of Kreosotum and Larrea tridentata.

Desert Themes

Larrea tridentata is perhaps the desert remedy that is most strongly affiliated with the desert. It can survive in desert conditions where no other plant or animal can. Desert themes include Codpendency, Water Themes, Dryness, Swelling, Old and Ancient, and Drugs/Drug Sensation The remedy exhibits many characteristics of other desert remedies. One of the most prominent was the profound chilliness. One prover described it as follows:

I had feelings of being extremely cold to the core of my body; nothing I could do to get warm; worse afternoon I would feel it(3): even in 100 degree heat I would still feel cold and take me a long time in the 100 degree heat to feel normal body temp again; normally I tend to run cold; cold to the core; nothing I could do to get warm; even drinking hot was not helping(18).

Other Themes

One of the most central themes throughout the proving had to do with water. This plant is the most drought resistant plant in North America and can survive up to two years without any water. It is the only plant to survive in the deepest parts of the Sonoran Desert. Many of the provers had symptoms of dryness, especially dry mucous membranes. There also were problems with excess salivation and tremendous thirst with no amelioration from drinking.

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