Herbs and plant usage for healing and wellness have been an age-old tradition dating back to the times when health facilities were not accessible to all and sundry. Using native plants for holistic benefits by Indigenous people was a quick alternative that provided relief from many sporadic and chronic illnesses. Human beings have been blessed with bountiful herbs that can be life saviors in emergencies. For the longest time, a genus of plants from the sesame family ‘Harpagophytum Procumbens’ also called grapple plant, wood spider, and most commonly Devil's claw is a flowering plant that is a true natural wonder. Introduced to Europe in the early part of the 1900s, the herb is native to Southern parts of Africa, and cultivated in several countries of South America, Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar, Brazil, and Argentina. In India, Devil's Claw is commonly found in Mysuru, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Bengaluru.

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Devil’s claw has two distinct colored species. One is an attractive, pink-flowered annual variety (Proboscidea parviflora) and the other one is yellow-flowered (P. althaeifolia) and is a perennial variety. Both species harbor sprawling, pumpkin-like plants. The plant goes by many vernacular names such as Kakanasa in Sanskrit, Devil's, Tiger's or Snake's head in English, Baghnakh in Hindi, Huli Nakha in Kannada, Pulinakham in Malayalam, Chappotta in Tamil, Sima Ippachettu in Telugu. Devil's claw gets its name from its mini hooks that cover its fruit. It has been extensively used as an herbal supplement for alleviating pain related to rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. The plant roots packs plant powerful compounds besides containing iridoid glycosides, a distinct class of elements that has potent anti-inflammatory effects on the body.

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Wellness Properties Of Devil’s Claw

  • Anti-Inflammatory: Devil's claw contains iridoid glycoside components that are believed to have strong anti-inflammatory effects. The plant also has a high concentration of one type of iridoid that relieves mild to severe pain and body inflammation
  • Analgesic: The dried roots are laden with analgesic properties that can restore appetite and relieve heartburn
  • Antioxidant: Known as a powerful antioxidant, the flavonoids and phytosterols found in this herb fights free radicals
  • Digestive: Owing to its fabulous digestive properties, the herb can effectively cure dyspepsia, an upset stomach, and acidity.

Side Effects Of Devil’s Claw

Though Devil’s claw is safe to consume, when used as an herbal supplement, one should always check with a health practitioner. Devil's claw tends to decrease levels of sodium in the body. People who already have low levels of sodium may face problems after using the herb. The herb may also increase bile production. One should avoid using devil's claw if there are gallstones in the body as it may enhance stomach acids or stomach ulcers.

To know what the herb brings to the table, foray into this infographic:
Main Image Infographic