Part Used: Dried storage tuber (Kalahari Desert)
Devil's Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is a native plant of southern Africa, especially the Kalahari desert, Namibia, and the island of Madagascar. The name Devil's Claw is derived from the herb's unusual fruits, which seem to be covered with numerous small hooks. The active ingredients in Devil's Claw are believed to be iridoid glycosides called harpagosides, which are found in the secondary root. The secondary storage roots, or tuber, of the plant are employed in herbal supplements. Numerous tribes native to southern Africa have utilized Devil's Claw for a wide variety of conditions, ranging from gastrointestinal difficulties to arthritic conditions. It has been widely used in Europe as a treatment for arthritis.
The medicinal ingredient of the Devil's Claw plant is extracted from the dried out roots. Currently, the major uses of Devil's Claw are as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever for joint diseases, back pain and headache. There is currently widespread use of standardized Devil's Claw for mild joint pain in Europe. Devilís Claw has been used as a tonic, as a treatment for arthritis and rheumatism, reduce fever, ease sore muscles, reduce cholesterol, and externally the ointment is used to treat sores, boils, and ulcers. It is also used to cleanse the lymph system, and to remove toxins from the blood. It is useful in digestion, heartburn, and rheumatoid arthritis. One of the German studies examined the use of Devil's Claw for slight to moderate back, neck, and shoulder muscle tension and pain. It is used to improve digestion, as the bitter taste of Devil's Claw tea is thought to stimulate digestive juices. However, the primary use of Devil's Claw today is for conditions that cause inflammation and pain.
Holistic Online. http://www.holisticonline.com/Herbal-Med/_Herbs/h49.htm