Devil’s Claw – Help for aching joints

For centuries, devil’s claw has been used in south-western Africa to treat indigestion,  fever  and pain relief. However, knowledge of the healing powers of this plant only came to Europe about 100 years ago. The Latin name for devil’s claw is Harpagophytum procumbens, referring to the clawed, barbed fruit. Translated “harpagos” means grappling hook and “phytum” ​​plant. “Procumbens” means prostrate and describes the plant’s shoots, which are up to 1.5 meters long and lying on the ground. Almost 2000 different species are known on earth, but healing effects have only been scientifically proven for the African devil’s claw.

Effects of Devil’s Claw

At first, only the effect of the bitter substances contained in the root tubers, which stimulate the stomach and digestive juices, was known. For this purpose, a tea extract was prepared from the dried tubers, which was used for loss of appetite and reduced gastric and bile production.

This medical effect is still attributed to the so-called iridoid glycosides today. It was only later that it was discovered that the ingredients in devil’s claw also have an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effect.

In the meantime, the findings are scientifically well-substantiated and devil’s claw is approved for supportive therapy in degenerative diseases of the musculoskeletal system.

Another advantage of devil’s claw preparations: They are usually better tolerated than chemical  painkillers  and interactions with other drugs are not known. Devil’s claw is therefore suitable for long-term therapy, e.g. B. well suited for chronic pain.

Dried roots of devil’s claw are used to make medicines. The extract is now available in numerous finished medicinal products in the form of tablets,  teas  and tinctures.

Treatment with devil’s claw

Because of its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, devil’s claw has become an important part of modern herbal medicine. Patients with arthroses such as e.g. B. painful joint wear, patients with mild rheumatic diseases, but also people with chronic back pain.

In more severe forms of joint diseases, the natural remedy serves as a helpful supplement to medical treatment. In pain therapy, devil’s claw can be used for mild pain and for more severe pain to support therapy.

Risks and side effects of devil’s claw

Devil’s claw medications are generally well tolerated. Side effects such as  nausea , dizziness or headaches rarely occur. When taking devil’s claw preparations, it should be noted that the effect only sets in after about 3 weeks.

Patients suffering from  diabetes , cardiovascular diseases or gallstones should consult their doctor before taking it. Devil’s claw preparations should not be used during pregnancy and lactation, in children under the age of 12, or in the case of gastric and  duodenal ulcers !

Devil’s claw is not suitable for the treatment of acute or severe pain. A doctor should always be consulted in the event of acute joint problems that are accompanied by reddening, swelling or overheating!


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