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Harpagophytum procumbens (Pedaliaceae)

DEVIL'S CLAW

 

The tuber of devil's claw is one of the few African plants widely used in Europe. It is given herbally to relieve the pain and inflammation of arthritic conditions.

 

One of the relatively small number of African plants included in European pharmacopoeias, devil's claw has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. These properties were confirmed in 1958, since when medicinal use of the plant has become widespread. It is native to South Africa and eastern Africa and grows in the desert. A perennial produced from large globular tubers, it has violet or red trumpet-shaped flowers that develop into tough barbed fruit, which have been known to entangle and trap wild animals.

 

PARTS USED

Tuber.

 

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS

Iridoid glycosides, including harpagoside, harpagide, and procumbide; flavonoids, especially kaempferol and luteolin glycosides; phenolic acids.

 

ACTIONS

Anti-inflammatory; anti-rheumatic; relieves pain; sedative.

 

MEDICINAL USE

Particularly used to relieve the pain of rheumatism, arthritis, gout, myalgia (muscle pain), and lumbago (low back pain).

 

PREPARATIONS

Powder, tincture.

 

CAUTION

Avoid in pregnancy.

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