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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Dietary Supplements >>  Devil’s Claw

Devil’s Claw

Devil's claw is a native to Southern Africa. Its name comes from the small hooks on the plant's fruit. It is a plant whose name is resultant from the fruits which bear a resemblance to miniature grappling hooks. Devil's claw is also known as Harpagophytum procumbens, grapple plant, or wood spider.

The devil's claw fruit is theoretically a drupaceous shell with a woody inner part surrounded by a fleshy layer. It refers to the inner woody capsule which splits open at one end into two curved horns or claws.
Each capsule has 40 black seeds which are gradually released when the claws tear apart. They are also called "elephant tusks" and readily cling to the hooves of grazing animals or shoes, on stepping on them.

The active ingredients in devil's claw is an iridoid glycosides called harpagosides. It is found in the secondary root. The two other active ingredients in devil's claw are Harpagoside and Beta sitosterol. These possess anti-inflammatory properties. Devil's Claw has a sedative, analgesic and diuretic properties.It is also used in Africa for rheumatoid arthritis, fever, skin conditions, and gallbladder diseases, pancreas, kidneys and stomach problems. It is beneficial for neck, and shoulder muscle stress and pain, improving mobility, and reducing the need for back-up medication in any form. It aids in back pain treatment. Devil's claw is available as capsule and tincture.

For inflammation and pain, devil's claw is usually taken in capsule form. A daily dose of devil's claw provides 50 mg of harpagosides per day. It is used for indigestion and as an appetite stimulant, by a decoction made by steeping 1 teaspoon of chopped or powdered dry root in 2 cups of boiling water for at least 20 minutes. It is then strained and cooled.

Devil's claw should not be used by people with gastric or duodenal ulcers, gallstones and diabetes, as medication affects their blood sugar.  It should be used under the supervision of a qualified health practitioner. Devil's claw extract resulted in blood sugar reduction in fasting and postprandial levels at normal and diabetic animals. Devil's claw should not be used by pregnant women, as it results in uterine contractions.

Uses of Devils Claw include anti-inflammatory, pain reliever, for diseases of the kidneys, liver, and bladder; arthritis and rheumatism. It also helps to lighten ligament and tendon problems and helps in the improvement of joint mobility. It promotes the decrease in cholesterol and uric-acid blood levels.

Submitted on January 16, 2014