(Common Names for this plant include:
Devil's Claw, grapple plant, wood spider )
Background Information - where it comes from
It is a plant which is native to Africa. It grows in hot and usually extremely dry conditions. It can be found in the Kalahari Desert and Namibia and various South African countries, especially South Africa itself.
The herb takes it name from the fantastic shape of its large, hooked, claw-like fruit. Almost looking quite hideous like a devil's claw etc.
However don’t be put off by its ominous name or claw shape, this is definitely an example of don’t judge a book by its cover!
Natural Chemical Properties
The plant has very colorful flowers, but it is Devil’s claw tubers (roots), which contain a group of chemicals called iridoids that have the anti-inflammatory activity. It is thought that the the two main active ingredients in devil's claw are harpagoside and beta sitosterol. Plants sterols are found in its roots. These are rather complex terms used to help classift plants and their chemical properties.
The important thing to bear in mind though are its uses and whether it may be helpful. The exact way in which these chemicals react within the body, and work to reduce inflammation is not clear. It is this anti inflamatory action that often sees Devil's Claw used to ease arthritis.
Joint Pain and Possible Relief
Claw has been extensively used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis
and osteoarthritis. It is particularly popular in Germany where many
studies on this supplement have been carried out.
It is because of this that Devil's Claw has a long tradition in herbal remedies as an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving herb, particularly regarding healthy joint care and maintenance.
The chemicals contained within Devil's Claw supplement may help joints and connective tissues. This is particularly useful in the treatment of arthritic, rheumatic, back pain, inflammation of the lower parts of the body, general aches and pains in the muscles and joints.
Devils claw is sometimes used as an alternative to cortizone in the treatment of joint pain.
Digestive uses for the herb
Devils Claw contains plant sterols. These are mainly found in its roots. This is the part of the herb that is most popular and it the part we sell.
Plant sterols and stanols are naturally occurring substances found in plants. They are present in small quantities in many fruits, vegetables, vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, cereals and legumes. The sterols/ stanols work by blocking the absorption of cholesterol in the small intestine.
Devils Claw is also know to act as a digestive stimulant. It is has also been used in the treatment of heartburn, and upset stomachs.
As part of maintaining a good digestive tract, it has been known to provide help regarding the gall bladder and pancreas.
Other Traditional Uses:
In South Africa, the tuber is used for blood issues, the relief of fevers, muscular aches and pains, and as an analgesic (something used to relieve pain) during pregnancy. In addition, the pulverised root is used as an ointment for ulcers, boils and for difficult births. Infusions of the dried root are also commonly used as a cure for digestive disorders and to stimulate appetite.
When to avoid Devils Claw - Some side effects
The percentage of people who probably should avoid it is small, but here are some possible guidelines:
Consulting with a health practitioner the proper usage of devils claw is recommended for anyone considering using it as an alternative pain medication. Do not use when pregnant unless under the appropriate supervision.
Side effects are rare but it should be avoided by people on blood thinners such as warfarin etc.
Also if you have ulcers or inflammation of the stomach it should be avoided. Devil’s claw promotes the secretion of stomach acid (which is usually a good thing), but anyone with gastric or duodenal ulcers, heartburn, gastritis, or excessive stomach acid should not use the herb. Additionally, people with gallstones should consult a health practitioner before taking devil’s claw.
Botanical Name: Harpagophytum procumbens
Devils Claw Capsules: 2 to 4 daily
Devil's Claw Tincture: 15 to 25 drops twice a day