Devil's claw - Harpagophytum procumbens

Knowing more about the Devil’s Claw

Harpagophytum procumbens Français : photo util...
Harpagophytum procumbens  – © CITES Secretariat

If you are someone who has never heard about the Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens), then you should know that this is a trailing perennial plant that comes with creeping stems which has been reported to develop up to a staggering 5 feet in length. Its root resembles a very thick carrot and it also features secondary roots tuberous in shape. When it comes to its stems, they are grayish in color, it has a woody and thorny fruit and reddish-violet flowers which are tubular in shape. This herb actually grows in S. Africa and also in the Madagascar Island.

Most of the times this herb is use by herbalists in order to treat the pain caused by arthritis and it has also been tested by the scientists in order to see how effective it can be against lower back pain. It has been tested on people who are dealing with one of the most severe types of lower back pain and after individuals used it, the results they got were pretty spectacular. When the herb is used in an enteric coated form, its effectiveness in controlling pain will increase a lot. Below, you will be able to see the diseases and conditions this plant is recommended for:

  • Appetite stimulant
  • Upset stomachs
  • Tendonitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Muscle pain
  • Sciatica, lumbago, gout and arthritis

You can also apply it externally if you have boils or skin lesions.

Dosage and preparations

Over-the-counter

This amazing plant comes in tea form, tincture and capsules and can be found in drugstores and pharmacies.
Tincture: If you would like to use the Devil’s Claw in this form, then you will have to take between ten to forty drops of it on a daily basis and only follow the dosage your doctor recommended you.

At home

For a decoction, you will need to add half a teaspoon and up to a teaspoon of rhizome into 1 cup of water, bring it to a boil and then simmer for around ten to fifteen mites. For at least thirty days you will need to drink this three times per day.

Parts used

The secondary roots and the rhizome

Collection

The Devil Claw’s secondary roots are recommended for collection when the rainy season has ended.

Constituents

  • Luteolin
  • Harpagide
  • Harpagoside

Action

  • Digestive stimulant
  • Sedative
  • Analgesic
  • Anti-inflammatory

Combinations

If you would like you will be able to have it combined with Meadowsweet, Bogbean and Celery seed in order to treat your arthritis.

Side effects and safety

There are certain cases in which you will not have use this herb, because it might pose a certain danger to your health. These situations are as following:If you are under blood thinning medicationIf you have duodenal or gastric ulcersIf you have cardiovascular problemsIf you are pregnant

You will find a very high concentration of iridoid glycosides in the Devil’s Claw, but also secondary metabolites. Due to its massive beneficial effects this plant is very much used in Europe in order to treat inflammatory joint disorders and any other related pain. The fact is that there is little to no scientific proof in regards to the effectiveness of this herb, but it seems that the folkloric information found on it is plenty, which indicates that the herb is very much able to treat these problems.

Remember, as with any other herb out there, there can be side effects experienced by individuals, so that is why if you’re under certain medications, you will have to get in touch with your doctor before starting your use of Devil’s Claw. Some side effects you might experience number upset stomach, diarrhea and headaches, yet the good news is that they are very rare. But if you will experience these side effects you should talk to your physician as soon as possible.

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