Devil's claw root is the common name for Harpogophytum procumbens, an herbaceous plant native to the Kalahari savanna of Southern Africa, the Namibian steppes, and Madagascar. Devil's claw root refers to the dried roots of the plant, which are used medicinally, primarily in Africa and Europe. Devil's claw root plays a valuable role in African folk medicine, where it has been used as a digestive tonic, for blood disorders, to reduce fever, as an analgesic, and to relieve various complaints during pregnancy.
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Devil's claw root contains a group of compounds called the iridoid glucosides, which include harpagoside, and are anti-inflammatory. The root contains several other anti-inflammatory compounds as well. Other agents in devil's claw root, including flavonoids and phytosterols, are antioxidant, choleretic (stimulate bile production) and antispasmodic. The combination of anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and digestion-enhancing agents supports the uses of devil's claw for those purposes.
Today the most popular use for Devil's claw root is by people with arthritis. In France Devil's claw root products can be marketed with a claim for traditional use for symptomatic relief of painful joint disorders. The herb is approved by ESCOP for painful arthritis, tendinitis, loss of appetite and dyspepsia.
Sun dried secondary tubers.
Don't use devil's claw if you take Coumadin (warfarin) or Plavix. Tell your surgeon you have been taking devil's claw before you have surgery. Safety during pregnancy has not been established. Not recommended for those who suffer from stomach inflammation, ulcers, or digestive disorders.
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