Devil’s claw for Herbal Naturopathy: properties, benefits, uses, side effects

Devil’s Claw is a perennial herbaceous plant native to southern and eastern Africa. Its roots, dried, are used for the preparation of herbal and phytotherapeutic products. The best known virtues of the plant concern its analgesic and anti-inflammatory power.

Devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is a perennial plant of the Pedaliaceae family used for the treatment of rheumatic pains thanks to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

What is the devil’s claw for?

Devil’s claw has been used for centuries in the traditional medicine of South African peoples for the treatment of various problems of the osteo-articular system.

This remedy serves especially in situations that cause pain and inflammation without there being severe joint impairment. Devil’s claw is therefore indicated in case of tendinitis, osteoatritis, rheumatoid arthritis and as a natural remedy for sciatica, back pain, headache from cervical arthrosis, generic cervical pain, arthritis, arthrosis, gout.

For similar problems, arnica is also used in herbal medicine, an anti-inflammatory remedy useful only for external use. The side effects of arnica in fact do not allow the ingestion of this drug, while the devil’s claw can also be administered orally, with stronger action.

In addition to this aspect, we tend to opt for arnica or devil’s claw according to the disorder to be treated: arnica is more suitable in case of trauma, bruises and hematomas, while devil’s claw is also used in chronic pain.

Where to buy devil’s claw

Devil’s claw and products made from this plant can be purchased in all herbalists. Of this natural remedy use tuberized roots, harvested in the fall from spontaneous plants. The roots are then sold in the form of a raw drug or used to prepare capsules, tablets, ointments, ointments and creams. The whole devil’s claw plant is used to prepare mother tinctures.

Benefits of devil’s claw

Devil’s claw brings benefits in case of minor inflammation since it helps to reduce inflammation and the pain associated with it.

The analgesic and anti-inflammatory efficacy is given by the presence of iridoid glucosides – including harpagoside – contained in the root of the plant.

The devil’s claw is also attributed hypocholesterolemic, hypotensive, antiarrhythmic and digestive properties, the latter given by the bittering action of iridoids, capable of stimulating the production of gastric juices and bile.

Side effects of devil’s claw

Devil’s claw is generally well tolerated and can be taken without serious side effects even for long periods, for example in case of chronic pain.

The digestive properties of devil’s claw, given by the presence of bitter substances, make this drug contraindicated to those suffering from gastritis and peptic ulcer, since it stimulates gastric secretion.

This remedy also interacts with anticoagulant, hypotensive, oral hypoglycemic, antiarrhythmic and NSAID drugs, so it is not recommended to use it to those who are subjected to this type of therapy.

Devil’s claw in pregnancy

Devil’s claw should not be given during pregnancy as it can stimulate uterine contractions.

Doses and dosage of devil’s claw

Considering standardized and titrated quality products, the doses indicated are:

  • In dry extract: for osteoarticular and rheumatic problems 300-600 mg per day to be taken at 3 times of the day.
  • In mother tincture: 20-40 drops diluted in water, 3 times a day
  • In infusion: 5 grams of root in 500 ml of water, to be taken in 3 times a day.
  • Ointment with devil’s claw or cream with devil’s claw: they are used externally by massaging several times a day on the area to be treated.

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