Herbal Supplements
Devil's Claw - the Herb from African Plains
Biological Description
The plant withthe “dangerous” name originates from South and Southeast of Africa. Devil’s claw (other names are Grapple Plant, Harpagophytum procumbens, Wood Spider) is a perennial vine that bears fruits in shape of drupaceous capsule with a woody inner part surrounded by a fleshy layer. They later split into two curved horns, or claws. And these hooks gave the name to the plant – they dig into the animal fur or hiker’s clothes and skin. The plant is propagated with seeds which hide inside the capsules and are released when the claws split apart. Devil’s claw has large taproots that are often noticed to produce secondary roots, tubers.
Southern and eastern Africa, the devil’s claw origin place, is the preferred habitat for the plant. It grows well in deserts and dry plains, in rather arid conditions. The roots of the plant, being the most valuable part used in medicinal purposes, are collected at the end of rainy season.
Parts Used
The roots, or tubers, of the devil’s claw are commonly used in a variety of herbal preparations, the medical ingredient of the plant being extracted from the dried out herb.
You can find devil’s claw released in dried or fresh root supplements in capsules, tablets, liquid extracts, and topical ointments. The tea made from dried devil’s claw is commonly used to treat various medical conditions.
Devil’s claw is rich in a number of potential active chemicals, such as flavonoids (kaempferol and luteolin glycosides), phenolic acids, harpagoside and beta sitosterol. Those two latter are found in the devil’s claw in big amounts and have strong anti-inflammatory actions for which devil’s claw is commonly favoured. The herb also possesses analgesic, sedative, hepatic and diuretic properties.
Health Benefits
Devil’s claw has a long history of use for the number of inflammatory conditions, kidney and bladder disorders, gastrointestinal disturbances, menstrual difficulties and neuralgia. Herbalists suggest taking devil’s claw preparations to treat such problems as degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis (the effects of the herb are equal to those of anti-inflammatory drugs), joint, ligament and tendon conditions, and low back pain. The herb also has a reputation of powerful appetite stimulant and, in addition, it aids digestion relieving constipation, diarrhea and flatulence. Applied externally, the ointments made of devil’s claw are known to heal sores, boils, and ulcers. Other uses of the herb proved by time are those connected to cleansing of the lymph system and removing toxins from the blood. Devil’s claw is also known to be used in diabetes treatment. People using blood thinners or those suffering from stomach ulcers should avoid using devil’s claw due to the potential side effects related to these conditions.
2011-09-28 16:48:20
This product of nature appears to really moderate immune function. I'm shocked that Good Foods Grocery and GNC, General Nutrition Centers, no longer will carry it. How odd. ????
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