Medicinal plants have been used by Africans for centuries. They have healing properties that are used to treat illnesses and the symptoms of other conditions, such as arthritis and inflammation. One such plant is devil’s claw and, despite its ominous name, there is nothing sinister about this plant. In fact, it has been used by the San and other ethnic groups in the Kalahari for thousands of years.
Devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) has strong anti-inflammatory properties that make it an effective herbal remedy for swelling and pain associated with arthritis, gout and other medical conditions. This plant is native to the Kalahari but it is sold around the world due to its effectiveness as an arthritic remedy. These medicinal uses of devil’s claw make it an important plant to nurture.
Source of Health offers two products that contain devil’s claw; Healthy Joints for mobility and movement and Anti-Inflammation for recovery. These products use devil’s claw for its ability to reduce inflammation, swelling and pain in the joints. It can also help to alleviate inflammation elsewhere in the body too.
Medicinal uses of devil’s claw
Devil’s claw has long been used in traditional African medicines. Not only does it minimise inflammation and the symptoms of arthritis, but it can also be used to treat fever and indigestion. “In particular, devil’s claw contains iridoid glycosides, a class of compounds which has demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects,” says Makayla Meixner, a dietician from Colorado, United States.
“Some, but not all, studies suggest that iridoid glycosides may also have antioxidant effects. This means the plant may have the ability to ward off cell-damaging effects of unstable molecules called free radicals. For these reasons, devil’s claw supplements have been studied as a potential remedy for inflammatory-related conditions, such as arthritis and gout. In addition, it has been proposed to reduce pain and may support weight loss,” explains Meixner.
Other medical journals report similar findings. “Devil’s claw is used for back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and other conditions,” states the WebMD website. “Taking devil’s claw by mouth seems to reduce low-back pain. Devil’s claw seems to work about as well as some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs),” the article reads.
The exact ways in which this medicinal plant work in the body are still being studied by researchers. “Laboratory studies found that extracts from the plant root can block several pathways which cause joint inflammation. These anti-inflammatory properties are thought to be due to its active ingredient, harpagoside, but animal studies found that its painkilling properties can’t be explained by this ingredient alone,” states the Versus Arthritis website.
Traditionally, the tubers of the plant are dug out of the ground and consumed for medicinal purposes. The main roots are left in-tact so that the plant can continue to survive and provide for consumers. Source of Health sustainably sources its devil’s claw from community-based agricultural projects that do not use pesticides or herbicides.
More information about devil’s claw
This medicinal plant is a member of the sesame family and is native to Southern Africa. It is mainly found in the Kalahari region of South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, although some plants may grow as far north as Angola. The name ‘devil’s claw’ is derived from its peculiar seed that has several stems with hooks at the tip. These hooks catch on passing animals and allow the seed to be transported to new locations.
Devil’s claw grows in deep, sandy soils in regions with low annual rainfall. It is a perennial, tuberous plant that has creeping stems that sprawl across the ground. These stems emerge every year after the first rainfall and perish during the dry season. The primary tuber survives the drought and keeps the plant alive when there is no rain.
To learn more about African medicines and traditional plant-based remedies, please do not hesitate to contact us. Source of Health is a manufacturer of Traditional African Medicines under the brand Isiphethu Sempilo. We use biomedicine processes to create herbal remedies, combined with scientific methods to ensure the finest quality and trustworthy herbal extracts.
Source of Health offers a range of herbal products that are effective as natural remedies for pain, depression, illnesses and more. The use of medicinal plants as part of traditional African healthcare is one of the oldest and most assorted of all therapeutic systems. It has been used through the ages to maintain health, as well as to prevent, diagnose, improve or treat physical and mental illnesses.
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