Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is a South African plant which has been used as an analgesic, sedative, anti-inflammatory and diuretic worldwide.
Africans have used the herb for centuries to treat skin cancer, fever, malaria and indigestion. In Europe, the tea is recommended for arthritis, diabetes, allergies, senility and is widely utilized as an appetite stimulant and a digestive aid.
In the west, Devil’s claw has been recommended for treating a wide variety of conditions including diseases of the liver, kidneys, and bladder, allergies, arteriosclerosis, lumbago, gastrointestinal disturbances, menstrual difficulties, neuralgia, headache, climacteric (change of life) problems, heartburn, nicotine poisoning, and above all, rheumatism and arthritis.
There are few clinical studies to refute, or verify, the many claims made for Devil’s claw, but extracts of the plant do appear to have anti-inflammatory activity in experimental animals. A clinical study carried out in Germany in 1976 reported that Devil’s claw exhibited anti-inflammatory activity, comparable in many respects to the well-known anti-arthritic drug, phenylbutazone. Analgesic effects were also observed along with reductions in abnormally high cholesterol and uric-acid blood levels.
The main active ingredients in Devil’s claw are Harpogoside and Beta sitosterol, which possess anti-inflammatory properties and create support for joint, ligament and tendon problems. Devil’s claw is reported to help with joint pain while improving vitality in the joint.