Devil’s claw is a plant that grows in arid regions and is found in Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, and Madagascar. The tuberous roots do not only relieve pain, but they are believed to have healing properties as well. Thus, 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 the colonists brought it back to their continent where it was used and is still being used as a treatment for arthritis. Aside from this, it has also become their natural remedy for other types of joint pain such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and gout.
In the United States, it was the African – Americans who brought this herb to the country during the time of slavery. Along with their herbal knowledge, they were able to use this plant as treatment for a number of ailments.
Characteristics of Devils Claw
Harpagophytum procumbens, also called devil’s claw, grapple plant, and wood spider is a sprawling plant which produces claw-like hooked fruits from where it got one of its names. It is native to southern Africa and has hairy stems with slightly sticky texture, hairy greyish green leaves, trumpet-shaped flowers, distinctive spiny fruits, and tuberous roots that are used in folk medicine to treat pain.
Modern Medicinal Value
There is a reason why in some areas in Africa, devil’s claw is considered an all-purpose healing herb. This plant is not only nutritious; it has medicinal benefits as well which include the following:
- It may help relieve pain
For centuries, many people have been using devil’s claw as a pain reliever. It is a folk remedy for headaches and muscle pain. This plant is anti-inflammatory. Thus, it can be effective against acute inflammation which can cause pain of varying types and severity.
- It may help treat rheumatic conditions
Many of the healing effects of devil’s claw are attributed to harpagoside, an iridoid glycoside which is believed to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic (or pain relieving) properties. This component seems to decrease pain related to rheumatic diseases which include back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and tendinitis.
- It may ease symptoms of gout
Gout which is caused by excess uric acid in the bloodstream is a very painful form of inflammatory arthritis that is affecting many Australians. As a pain reliever and inflammatory, devil’s claw can help relieve the pain, as well as suppress 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 which is secreted by the stomach is responsible for telling the brain if it is time to eat. Although, a study on humans is needed to validate this, an animal study suggests that devil’s claw may suppress appetite by interacting with ghrelin.
As a medicinal herb, Devil’s claw has helped thousands of people, 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 a better health now.