Effective in the treatment of chronic rheumatic diseases.
It is a plant native to Namibia and used by the indigenous population as a bitter tonic, for fevers and digestive disorders. It was also used in the form of ointment, prepared from the fresh plant and applied on the abdomen to encourage contractions during difficult childbirth. The initial pharmacology work, published in 1958, is down to Professor Zorn, of the Friedrich-Schiller Insitute in Jena, and concerns the anti-arthritic action of the Harpagophytum root. Using the edema test on a rat paw, Zorn pointed out the favouring action of Devil's claw, prepared and administered as an infusion. He noted a marked decrease in joint inflammation and the perfect re-establishment of joint function. Stopping treatment did not give rise to a regression. As regards the active substances involved, the results obtained only using glycosides are not conclusive and it is likely that the activity of the plant is due to the simultaneous action of several substances present in the phytocomplex. The action of the 13-sitosterol, for example, is to inhibit prostaglandins synthesis involved in the birth of the inflammatory process. It is believed that iridoids exert an inhibitory influence on prostaglandins synthesis and interfere in the cell membrane permeability to ions. The plant could have a significant influence on muscle stiffness and help to improve the subjective perception of mild to moderate pain.
- 0.5_3% total iridoids: harpagoside (bitter), harpagide and procumbide
- β-sitosterol; triterpene acids; flavonoids
- Stachyose (abundant); harpagochinone (benzoquinone)
Devil's Claw gets its name from the four wedges that characterise its ovoid fruits. These growths are equipped with sturdy hooks that penetrate the animal body or paws, causing serious injury, forcing them to perform a "frenzied" dance.
It is a plant native to Namibia and used by the indigenous population as a bitter tonic, in fevers and digestive disorders.
Therapeutic use: chronic rheumatic diseases; dyspepsia, intestinal spasms