Botanical: Harpagophytum procumbens
Family: Pedaliaceae (sesame)
Other common names: Wood Spider, Grapple Plant
For severe pain and inflammation (including low back pain), arthritis, gout and rheumatism, try Devil's Claw! At the same time, you may also benefit from better digestion and circulation. As a mild diuretic, Devil's Claw helps to relieve bloating, excess water weight and puffiness.
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Devil's Claw is a trailing perennial vine that grows wild to a length of about five feet. It is native to the Transvaal of South Africa, where it has been popularly embraced for over 250 years by the various cultures (including Hottentots, Bantus and Bushmen) as an appetite stimulant and treatment for fevers, arthritis, sores and boils. It grows in waste places and on roadsides in sandy soils, devoid of other vegetation. The barbed and thorny fruits that resemble hooks or claws give the plant its name, but its medicinal properties are found in the tuber and root. Devil's Claw root has only recently been introduced into North American herbal medicine, and it is currently very popular in Europe. Pharmacologists have discovered that Devil's Claw contains chemicals like those in many other pain-relieving herbs that stimulate circulation and carry inflammatory chemicals away from affected tissues. The plant contains at least three bitters, including the iridoid glycosides called harpagide, harpagosid and procumbide, and also includes luteolin, oleanolic acid, cinnamic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc.
Devil's Claw is considered an herbal anti-inflammatory and painkilling agent that has demonstrated very positive results when tested for relief of lower back pain. The harpagide content in Devil's Claw has exhibited anti-inflammatory activity and has been thought to bring relief to sufferers of arthritis, rheumatism, carpal tunnel syndrome, gout and tendonitis. As an superior herbal pain reliver, Devil's Claw has also demonstrated significant improvement in people who had the most severe, radiating pain with numbness in the extremities.
Like all bitters, Devil's Claw has been used for many years as an aid to good digestion and means to improve the appetite. Its glycosides stimulate the production of increased stomach acid, thus promoting digestion. As a digestive aid, Devil's Claw is also thought to help relieve complaints involving the gallbladder, pancreas and liver.
Devil's Claw is said to be mildly diuretic and may ease bloating and puffiness, and it has also been used to reduce fevers. By promoting increased urine flow, the herb helps to relieve excess water retention and may also help flush the kidneys of impurities that cause toxic buildup in the blood.
For externall use, Devil's Claw has been applied to treat ulcers, sores and boils and is considered a topical anti-inflammatory that may be useful for relief of arthritic and rheumatic joints.
Devil's Claw is thought to reduce blood pressure, because it relaxes arterial tension, and may be beneficial in cases of arteriosclerosis.
Devil's Claw Herbal Supplement may take several weeks of consistent use before noticing results. Devil's Claw should be avoided during pregnancy as it has been suggested to stimulate uterine muscle contraction. In addition, nursing women and those with gallstones, duodenal or gastric ulcers should avoid Devil's Claw. Since Devil's Claw may slow the pulse, it should not be used by people with congestive heart disease. Headache, ringing in the ears, stomach upset and allergic reactions have been reported. Speak with your health care provider before using Devil's Claw if you are taking blood-thinning medication.