The harpagophytum commonly called devil’s claw is a plant of the Pediliaceae family. It is a perennial herb that has a main, lignified root. Its secondary roots give bulbous tubers, sometimes enormous, which can weigh up to 1.5 kg. Phytotherapy is particularly interested in the latter. Devil’s Claw is native to Central and South Africa. The growers separate the tubers from the main root in the autumn months. Mixing the two roots can indeed neutralize the effectiveness of the active principles of the tuber, namely: phytosterols, indoides, stachyose, quinone.
In which cases can it be indicated?
The tubers can provide those who consume them with an anti-inflammatory and digestive effect. The herbalist can therefore indicate it if his patient has the following health problems.
- Lower back pain : devil’s claw tuber can reduce back pain. Moreover, clinical trials have confirmed its effectiveness in the treatment of pain. Previously, therapists used rofecoxib (Vioxx) to look for this effect, but apparently it causes side effects; the market therefore suppressed the sale of it. The fluid extract from its tubers is currently part of the treatment for acute lower back pain.
- arthritis pain : the active principles of its tuber also act on the pain caused by osteoarthritis. It can then replace certain drugs that provide the same effects. However, experimental research is still continuing to confirm whether this is not a placebo effect.
- Lack of appetite and dyspepsia : phytotherapists suggest that the bitter principles of these tubers stimulate the appetite. Indeed, the bitter taste can stimulate the taste buds, stimulating the stomach to produce the digestive juices essential for digestion. In addition, clinical trials conducted over a period of 1,080 days have shown that drinking the decoction of the tubers helps soothe intestinal discomfort. Thus, its decoction can relieve constipation or diarrhea, also therefore flatulence or dyspepsia.
In what form can the tubers be taken in herbal medicine?
Devil’s claw can be sold in bulk, dry form in the market. However, one can find its extracts in the form of tablets, powder capsules and tincture.
How to use the harpagophytum to take advantage of its benefits?
When the lower back pain and arthritis occur, choose one of these dosages:
- Take the tablets or powder capsules 3-6 g daily, between meals.
- The standardized extract, that is, the dried tuber, take 600 to 1200 mg daily, between meals.
For stimulate appetite and digestionyou can choose one of these options:
- Take the tablets or powder capsules 500 mg, 3 times a day, before meals.
- Tincture can be consumed 3 times a day, 1 ml, before meals.
The tubers can be used to prepare an infusion. To do this, bring 300 ml of water to the boil, then infuse 1.5 g of dried tuber and leave to macerate for 8 hours. Having done this, filter and drink 100 ml before each meal. Be careful, the taste of this one is very bitter.