Latin: Harpagophytum procumbens
Parts Used: Roots/tubers
Taste/Energetics: Bitter, cooling
Properties: anti-inflammatory, analgesic,
Actions: A bitter herb that is primarily used of pain relief. Devil’s claw has several constituents such as harpagosides that are anti-inflammatory and therefore helpful for soothing arthritic, joint, back, neuralgic and other types of pain. Coming from Southern African plains, Devil’s claw has been used for conditions such as digestive problems and bladder infections but is most commonly used for its pain relieving qualities. I almost always use it in pain formulas and combine it with other herbs such as jamaican dogwood for good effect. This herb is super duper bitter. Just try drinking a cup of devil’s claw tea. The bitter quality gives clues to its ability to cool, soothe inflammation and move stuck painful conditions such as arthritic and indigestion pain.
In terms if mental health, this is great for folks who are depressed, frustrated and sad due to ongoing pain, often due to rheumatism and arthritis. It is not an herb to use for prolonged periods of time but as needed for flare ups, generally in a formula to modify its strong effect.
Dosage: Decoct 2-4 tsp in pint of water for 40 mins. Take 1-2 ml tincture to 3 x/day.
Contraindications: Avoid taking with strong sedatives and analgesics. Avoid in pregnancy.