The devil’s claw (Harpagophytum precumbens) is a plant native to southern Africa (in the regions adjacent to the Kalahari Desert in present-Gambia). Its fruit lies at ground level. It is about 10-20 cm. in length and is provided with hook-shaped projections or claws, which gives also the names of “Devil’s Claw”, or “wood spider”.
Its very long taproot and secondary roots it out like peanuts with strong bitter taste that gives the therapeutic effect.
The harpagofito secretes substances that make it withstand extreme temperatures, long droughts, attacks of germs, parasites and strong sunlight. It is precisely these secreted substances and other active ingredients present in it that makes the devil’s claw plant is very valuable and highly sought after by alternative health professionals.
Harpagofito – Benefits
Originally used in Africa harpagofito root to cure bruises, fever and generally all kinds of ills, including malaria, general aches and digestive problems. Settlers soon adopted it for Europe where the harpagofito was first used for the relief of back pain, muscle aches, rheumatic pain, migraines, etc.. Being as effective and obvious benefits that science has not stopped to inquire about this wonderful plant and its potential in inflammatory processes of the body.
Recently, a study by the Phytotherapy Research Center concludes that “the devil’s claw root reduces pain and inflammation with anti-inflammatory efficacy similar to usual and with fewer side effects.” This study gives an overview of how powerful the harpagofito. According to experts, taking devil’s claw root regularly for at least four weeks reduces and prevents back pain. Low back pain is one of the problems contracturales causing greater disability in those under 45 years. It is also effective in relieving pain of knee and hip osteoarthritis and reduce stiffness and increase mobility.
The Devil’s Claw as an analgesic
The 75% of prescriptions for rheumatic diseases in Germany are pure devil’s claw, or formulas that are based harpagofito root. Different international organizations phytotherapies, such as the European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy or the “Commission E” which is the German Agency of Health recommend harpagofito root as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory.
Harpagofito – Properties
– Anti-inflammatory: joint pain are common in sports (especially knees and ankles). The mechanical action of the muscles, tendons and ligaments frequently produces inflammation of joint synovial capsules. The devil’s claw is a natural way to try to counter this type of ailment, improving recovery response between a work session to another.
– Analgesics: its analgesic effects are indicated, especially for activities where bone and tendon tissues have various inflammatory and painful events.
– Anti-rheumatic: the harpagofito gives very good results in case of rheumatic, arthritic and arthritic. Its root has a similar effect to anti-inflammatory analgesic drugs decrease muscle pain, especially in the lumbar area, so successfully used in cases of low back pain and sciatica, as well as the symptomatic treatment of osteoarthritis and chronic tendinitis.
– Anti-pyretic: popularly regarded as an antipyretic naturally, so it is used to decrease body temperature in cases of fever.
– Anti-spasmodic: the root of this plant is used in cases of diarrhea or stomach cramps because it has antispasmodic.
– Hypercholesterolemic: helps reduce cholesterol levels in the blood. By stimulating cholesterol efflux generates a profit in the circulatory system, causing a decrease in the risk of cardiovascular disease.
-Anti-acne: This plant has medicinal benefits that can help treat acne and facial blemishes.
Devil’s Claw – Side Effects
Side effects of the use of devil’s claw are scarce. The main advantage of this anti-inflammatory plant is that its intake feel well, causing no discomfort as other plants with similar characteristics. Only in rare cases has had any symptoms of nausea, diarrhea or upset stomach. Generally, if you get these symptoms, it is in people with a tendency to these problems.