Devils claw is a plant that grows in arid regions and is found in Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, and Madagascar. The tuberous roots are known for their pain-relieving properties and have avid fans who believe they have great healing properties when consumed regularly.
They are used in traditional medicine in certain parts of Africa, most notably in South Africa, where the root and tuber have been used as an all-purpose folk remedy for centuries.
The popularity of this herb reached Europe when colonists discovered it in Africa and brought it home with them, where it was used and is still being used as an alternative treatment for arthritis. Aside from this, it has also become a natural remedy for other types of joint pain such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and gout.
In the United States, African-American people brought this herb to the country during the period of slavery. Along with their herbal knowledge, they were able to use this plant as a treatment for a number of ailments.
Characteristics of Devils Claw
Devils claw is also referred to as “grapple plant” and “wood spider.” It is a sprawling plant that produces claw-like hooked fruits, which explains its botanical name, “Harpagophytum procumbens,” meaning “hook plant” in Greek. It has hairy stems with a slightly sticky texture and greyish leaves and is part of the sesame plant family.
There is a reason why Devils claw is considered an all-purpose healing herb in some areas in Africa. This plant is not only nutritious; it has medicinal benefits as well, including the following:
It may help relieve pain
Since ancient times, people have been using Devils claw as a pain reliever to reduce headache and muscle tension because of its possible anti-inflammatory effects. Utilised as a traditional medicine due to its compound called "iridoid glycosides," studies have shown that it may also have antioxidant properties.
It may help treat rheumatic conditions
Many of the healing effects of Devils claw are attributed to this compound which also has analgesic (or pain-relieving) properties. This component seems to decrease pain related to rheumatic diseases -- which include back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and tendinitis -- in many people, hence its widespread medicinal use throughout South Africa and the rest of the world.
It may ease symptoms of gout
Gout, which is caused by excess uric acid in the bloodstream, is a painful form of inflammatory arthritis that affects many Australians. As a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory, Devils claw can help ease the pain and minimise inflammation.
It may promote weight loss
Ghrelin is called the “hunger hormone” because it stimulates appetite, increases food intake, and promotes fat storage. This hormone, produced by the stomach, signals to the brain that it is time to eat. Although further research on its effect on humans is needed, an animal study suggests that Devils claw may suppress appetite by interacting with ghrelin.
How to Brew Devils Claw Tea
- Place your desired amount of tea leaves in your mug or teacup of choice (traditionally, 4-5 grams of tea is used per day).
- Boil a kettle of water and pour it into your cup.
- Steep your leaves and let them brew for 4-5 minutes.
- You can re-steep your tea leaves one more time.
- Enjoy your freshly brewed Devils claw tea!
As a medicinal herb, Devils claw has helped people suffering from a range of health issues, not only in Africa but in many parts of the Western world. This highly nutritious herb is readily available as tea here at Tea Life. So, start your journey to better health now.