Harpagophytum procumbens Pedaliaceae Also called Grapple plant.
A native of southern Africa, where it has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments from indigestion and fever to skin cancer, devil's claw gets its name from its strange capsule-like fruits that are covered in what look like miniature grappling hooks. In summer, this creeping peretlllial bears stunning deep red, trumpet-shaped flowers.
The major constituents are iridoids (monoterpenic glucosides), which make up 0.5 to 3 per cent of the dried drug. Harpagoside is the most active of these medicinally; therefore it is best to choose preparations that contain at least 1.5 to 2 per cent harpagoside. Phytosterols and flavonoids are also present.
Studies have demonstrated that devil's claw can help to relieve pain and in some cases improve mobility in people suffering from osteoarthritis or degenerative rheumatism. The anti-inflammatory powers conferred by harpagoside and the phytosterols are responsible for this, and the plant is often recommended for treating less serious cases of rheumatism. It is also used externally for joint pain.
The bitter principles help to stimulate the digestive system, and the plant is used to treat indigestion.
This species has proved impossible to cultivate outside its native habitat.
PREPARATION AND DOSAGE
For internal use
TO TREAT minor cases of rheumatism and joint pain INFUSION Put 1 sachet (2g) into 200ml of boiling water. Take one to three times a day. (To reduce the bitterness, sweeten with some honey.)
CAPSULES Take 300mg-750mg a day in three doses before meals. DRINKABLE SOLUTION Put 1 sachet into a glass of water. Drink twice a day with meals. For external use
TO TREAT minor joint pains GELS, OINTMENTS Massage in gently, twice a day.
IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST CONSULT A DOCTOR
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