Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) Good or not?

Southern Africa is such a great place where you can find the strange-looking devil’s claw plant (Harpagophytum procumbens), which is named as such due to the uniquely shaped tips of its fruits. For many centuries, most of the African natives burrowed up the plant’s huge roots and chopped them up, before letting it dry in the sun. From the dried roots of the devil’s claw, the natives prepared a certain formulation that is intended for healing. And the formulations are then used as treatment for fever, indigestion, arthritis, as well as a number of other health conditions.

Devil’s claw was first introduced to the European and North American colonists in the 1950s, and after such introduction, the devil’s claw was then examined and studied for its chemical capabilities and potential for healing. The studies conducted led to the recent considerations that devil’s claw is effective as a treatment for the arthritis pains and stiffness of arthritis joints.

In fact, a handful of studies support such use of the devil’s claw for the reason that there was a report of mild pain relief and a reduction of inflammation in the year 1976 which compared the herb to the other arthritis drug. For that reason, an extract of the devil’s claw are sometimes injected around an arthritic joint, and this happens in parts of Europe. Swelling then subsides as an output.

It was also speculated that the herb can help to rouse the appetite and control the indigestion. As the strong boiled tea of the herb’s root, which has a bitter –tasting substances, is said to stimulate the appetite and calms the digestive complaints when sipped. In fact, the traditional healers in Africa continue to suggest it mainly for such purpose. Moreover, the German health authorities even consider the strong boiled tea of the devil’s claw as efficient for healing discomforts caused by peptic ulcers.

However, there are really no direct and exact findings that will support some claims that the devil’s claw has anti-inflammatory properties, and that the devil’s claw greatly works to reduce pain and inflammation. So far, the latest findings on the potential of the devil’s claw for healing demonstrate that the herb does not really produce anti-inflammatory effects in similar way that a number of standard anti-inflammatory prescriptions do. However, the test-tube studies still indicate that devil’s claw has a certain painkilling and anti-inflammatory effects.

devil's claw

For further information, it has been reported from a study conducted in the year 1999 which is then published in the Europe that the devil’s claw has a slight effect for improving back pain, however such findings are said to be inconsistent. Specifically, it was nearly 200 individuals with chronic pain who were included in the study. Aside from that, there was a certain clinical trial which involve more than 115 people who suffer from back pain and reported an even more disappointing result. They found out no benefit at all for taking the devil’s claw as a medicine.

Even so, devil’s claw still continues to become widely popular and its side effects emerge to be negligible. And although some exact findings do not support that claim for certain effects of devil’s claw, many herbalist still persist to suggest the devil’s claw as an ancient African remedy in the form of tincture, powder, liquid, dried herb or tea, and capsule.

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