Health Benefits and Uses of Devil's Claw (Harpagophytum)

With a gruesome name like Devil’s Claw, the plant Harpagophytum is actually a member of the sesame family. Known alternatively by the names wood spider and grapple plant, the species is Native to South Africa, though found its way to Europe through colonization and exploration.

Having received its sinful moniker from the aesthetics of its hooked fruit, Devil’s Claw is not nearly as devious as its name suggests. Growing wild through the regions of Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa, practitioners have prescribed the plant root in holistic healing for centuries.

Benefits of Devil’s Claw

The only part of the Devil’s Claw plant that is utilized in medicinal treatments is the tuberous root. The root contains aluminum, chromium, calcium, luteolin, selenium, oleanolic acid, magnesium, zinc, and tin. It is used as an analgesic for muscle pain and osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. It is also utilized as an anti-inflammatory for the same ailments, as well as gout.

Throughout its time of use, the Devil’s Claw root has also been given as a digestive aid. The relief that one receives from muscle pain and arthritic conditions is a slow process, but a tested and proven one.

Using Devil’s Claw

Devil’s Claw is often found in capsules and tincture form in health food stores and supplemental pharmacies around the world. This, however, is not the most common method for ingesting the plant’s medicinal properties. The most common method for taking Devil’s Claw is to make a decoction from the roots.

To do this, the roots are boiled in water, and then the mixture is reduced to increase its potency. The resulting decoction may be taken every day to fight against the symptoms and pain related to the arthritic and muscle related conditions.

The main warning supplied about Devil’s Claw is that it may interfere with the heart and circulatory system, so care should be taken when using this medicinal plant.


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