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The use of plants to treat health problems is one of the oldest activities, and is maintained today, because it has been shown that it can offer great benefits to people. In this case, the devil ‘s claw is one of the most valued plants , since it has a wide variety of uses and is used to treat multiple diseases in people, such as gastrointestinal problems, skin lesions; it is also used in veterinary medicine to treat another group of diseases.

Everything you need to know about the devil’s claw

The devil’s claw , also known by its scientific name as Harpagophytum procumbens , or commonly called devil’s claw, is a plant that belongs to the pediliaceae family, native to southern Africa.

This plant is of great importance in the field of natural medicine , due to the large number of uses it has, as it not only serves to alleviate gastrointestinal problems, but is also useful in the treatment of ulcers, skin lesions, among others.

Physical appearance

The devil’s claw is a fairly easy plant to identify, thanks to its peculiar shape. It has a primary, elongated root that gives rise to secondary roots that are those that have medicinal properties. Likewise, it has petiolate leaves that can measure up to 0.65 centimeters in length and 0.40 centimeters in width.

The color of the plant tends to be a combination of green and gray, due to the mucilage glands. In addition, it has the ability to sprout flowers, which can vary in hue from red to purple. On the other hand, the harpagophyte fruit has the appearance of a capsule and is protected by a group of spines that surround it, in addition to being curved from the main axis outwards.

Where is it possible to find devil’s claw?

This plant is easy to find in arid and desert places , which is why it occurs frequently in certain African regions, such as the Namibian and Kalahari desert. However, its commercialization has been such that it is possible to find it in other countries.

Components of the devil’s claw

The usefulness of this plant is largely due to the chemical components that make it up, so it is important to know them. Now, among the different chemical and organic elements that make up the devil’s claw, the following should be mentioned:

  • Phenolic glycosides: These are responsible for releasing substances that serve as urinary antiseptic.
  • Harpagoside: It is the active component of the plant, it is the one that attributes most of the medicinal properties to this plant, where its function as an anti-inflammatory stands out.
  • Flavonoids: They are responsible for preventing cell oxidation, which prevents the formation of cancer cells, as well as premature aging.
  • Essential oils: The usefulness of this component is to serve as a flavoring agent.
  • Sterols: They can help stabilize negative cholesterol levels.
  • Others: Among the other components are stachyose, caffeic acid, tritepernic acids, phytosterols and iridoid glycosides.

Properties and benefits of the devil’s claw

As has been well mentioned, the devil’s claw has a huge amount of properties, very useful and beneficial for humans, so it is worth knowing. Among the properties of this plant it is necessary to highlight the following:

Serves as a pain reliever

The analgesic properties of the devil’s claw are the best known, as this plant has an excellent calming action. That is why its use is recommended to reduce pain caused by injuries and blows , as well as for pathological reasons.

Excellent anti-inflammatory

In the same way, another of the most significant qualities of this plant is its ability as an anti-inflammatory , which is why its use and consumption is recommended to alleviate symptoms related to injuries, infections, among others.

Stabilizes the gastrointestinal content

Another of the properties of this plant is that it is responsible for stabilizing the gastrointestinal content, which can help treat various problems such as heartburn, although it is believed that it can also help treat problems such as colitis.

It is worth mentioning that this plant helps to level the production of bile, thus improving the functioning of the digestive system.

Lowers bad cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that can be found in the blood of humans and animals. There are two variations of this, the first is bad cholesterol (LDL) and the second is good (HDL). Now, thanks to the sterols that make up the devil’s claw, it is possible to significantly reduce bad cholesterol, which can help improve health to a great extent.

Lowers blood glucose

The glucose is a substance found in various foods and being consumed part of this is transformed into energy and also housed in the blood.

However, the excess of this substance can cause serious diseases, so it is necessary to avoid such a situation and for this it is recommended to eat healthy, as well as consume devil’s claw, since this plant has properties that can help reduce glucose in the blood.

Natural scrubber

Another of the qualities that should be highlighted about this plant is that it acts in the body as a natural purifier, so when consuming it it is possible to eliminate the negative substances found in the body’s fluids, especially in the blood.


It is known that this plant has a favorable participation in healing, since the components contained in the devil’s claw speed up the cell regeneration process, which can promote healing so that it takes less time.

That is why its use is recommended after having suffered an injury, or before undergoing a surgical procedure.


This plant also has antispasmodic properties, which can eradicate the appearance of intestinal spasms, reduce kidney and biliary colic. In addition, it can also help prevent the appearance of irritable bowel , but not relieve its symptoms or treat the disease.


It is one of its most flattering properties, since women who regularly consume this plant can reduce menstrual disorders, as well as the symptoms that this process entails, such as colic, pain, inflammation, among others.


Finally, it is good to mention that among the properties of this plant is that of antipyretic, this is responsible for reducing fever . Therefore, it is possible to use it as a natural means to treat this condition.

Diseases that can be avoided with the devil’s claw

There are many diseases and problems that can be avoided with the devil’s claw, this thanks to all the medicinal properties that this plant has. Regarding the diseases that can be avoided and treated with the use or consumption of devil’s claw, the following should be mentioned:

  • Diabetes : Thanks to its ability to lower glucose levels, the devil’s claw is recommended to prevent diabetes and also as a supportive treatment. However, there are no official studies that affirm the fact that it can cure it completely.
  • Cancer: Due to the high level of flavonoids in this plant, when consumed, the risk of suffering from cancer is significantly reduced. However, it cannot be treated by means of the plant.
  • Colitis: Thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of this plant, colitis patients can find relief from the symptoms of this disease, so its use is recommended.
  • Arthritis : In case of suffering from this disease, it is important to know that the symptoms it causes can be controlled with the use and consumption of this plant, as well as the products made from it.
  • Stomach problems: It is necessary to know that this plant cannot help in all cases of stomach problems, since it only provides relief for simple disorders, such as heartburn.
  • Menstruation problems: The consumption of this plant can notably help reduce menstruation problems, so it is useful to resort to its use whenever a specialist doctor approves it.

Uses of the harpagophyte: where is it used?

Knowing what are the uses of the devil’s claw can be very useful , since this way it is possible to make the most of the functional capacity of this plant. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that not only medicine can benefit from this plant, since its uses extend further. Among the applications of the devil’s claw are:

You may also be interested in:   Ginseng

Veterinary Medicine

Veterinary use of this plant is rare, however, the Veterinary Medicines Evaluation Unit of the European Medicines Evaluation Agency has made it official that it is possible to use medicines created from this plant to treat some conditions in animals. .

However, it should be taken into account that it is not recommended to administer drugs based on devil’s claw (or the plant) to animals without medical authorization, since depending on the case the situation could be aggravated. Therefore, it is best to go to a veterinary specialist and have him evaluate the case, so that he can assign the necessary medication.

Natural and conventional medicine

As has already been mentioned, the devil’s claw is used mainly to treat diseases, both in natural and conventional medicine, since products containing the active components of the plant have been manufactured for the latter.

However, it should be considered that although the devil’s claw is an excellent means of preventing and assisting in the treatment of diseases, it should not be used lightly, since it could cease to be beneficial and begin to be detrimental to the health of the animal. individual.

Decoration and setting of spaces

Although this is not a common use, the flowers of this plant, as well as its fruit, can be used to make decorations and settings related to the desert environment. In addition, the essential oils contained in the devil’s claw help make the setting more realistic.

How to use the devil’s claw?

To obtain the benefits that this plant can provide, it is necessary to know how it can be used, for this it should be known that in the field of natural medicine it has several ways of taking advantage, which are the following:

  • Infusion: This is prepared with the root of the plant, which must be previously dissected, to later add it to 300 ml of boiling water. The infusion must be left to rest for 8 hours at room temperature, after that time the residues are removed with a strainer and consumed.
  • Oils: They can be created with the leaves and roots, for this they must be left, then crushed until the oil begins to be released; It is possible to add olive oil to increase the quantity of the preparation. After the oil residues are separated and ready to use. (This type of oil can also be purchased industrially).
  • Ointments: These can be purchased at any pharmacy, as well as in stores that specialize in natural medicine. The use of these creams or ointments is topical, so it is recommended to use this means to treat superficial skin lesions.
  • Capsules: It is the simplest way to consume devil’s claw, these must be bought in pharmacies or natural medicine stores. They are made with the extract obtained from the root, it can be used to treat the aforementioned problems.

Harpagophyte administration

The administration of the devil’s claw varies with the presentation that is used, therefore, taking into account that there are 4 basic presentations, the forms and care for each of them are as follows:

  • Infusion: It is recommended that you take a cup 30 minutes before eating, at most twice a day (in the morning and at night).
  • Oil: In this case, the use of the devil’s claw must be topical, for this you must apply a certain amount of the oil to the area and allow it to be absorbed.
  • Ointment: Creams and ointments are used the same as oils, they must be applied to the skin and allowed to be absorbed by the skin so that they later act on the affected area.
  • Capsules: They must be taken before each meal, they can be consumed in the mornings and nights. For its part, the maximum amount to take is 2 capsules per day.

Aspects to consider before using devil’s claw

In the use of this type of treatment it is necessary to know certain aspects, because in this way it is possible to ensure that useful results will be obtained. However, among the factors that must be taken into account before using devil’s claw are the following:

Can the devil’s claw be combined with other plants?

The combination of this plant is something quite common, both in the preparation of ointments and infusions and generally these combinations are usually composed of herpagóphyte and burdock , although it is also possible to use other plants, such as rosemary, meadowsweet, licorice, among other.

Opinions of the devil’s claw: What do the experts think about the use of this plant?

Certainly this plant is one of the most useful in the medicinal field, due to all the properties it offers. However, it is important to know that the opinion of the experts on the use of this plant is moderately favorable.

To explain this in detail, it is necessary to clarify that the treatments for diseases seek to completely eradicate the causes, as well as the symptoms and although it is possible to find a plant that can offer this, the administration of medicines is much better valued, due to to how effective they are.

Therefore, using the devil’s claw to treat serious diseases such as diabetes is a risk, so in this situation its use is not recommended, especially if a doctor has not evaluated the case. However, what is advisable is to resort to the consumption of this plant to avoid the appearance of such a disease.

Where to buy devil’s claw?

Buying devil’s claw in any of its presentations is possible, however the place of purchase may vary with the presentation that is being searched for. However, these places are usually natural medicine stores, pharmacies, supermarkets, virtual stores, among others.

Devil’s Claw Price

The price of the harpagóphyte also changes with each presentation, as well as the geographical area in which it is inhabited, the place of purchase, among other aspects. The average prices of devil’s claw according to its different presentations are:

  • Capsule: The average price of these is between 5 and 10 EUR.
  • Ointment: For its part, the price of this presentation ranges between 15 and 20 EUR.
  • Oil: The price is between 5 and 10 EUR.

Cultivating harpagophyteTo grow this plant it is necessary to have a space that has the necessary characteristics for its development . Therefore, taking into account that it grows best in desert places, then it should be planted in a sunny space.

For its part, the care that this plant requires is also few, since it is not necessary to prune it or water it very frequently, as other types of plants would require.

Harpagophyte side effects

The improper use or consumption of this plant can cause collateral effects in the body, so it is necessary to avoid inappropriate administration if you want to avoid experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Irritation.
  • Inflammation.
  • Stomachache.
  • Itch.

It is worth mentioning that the effects may vary with each person, as well as the type of presentation that they have used or consumed.

Contraindications of the devil’s claw

Despite the fact that this plant can be very useful and beneficial for humans, there are cases in which its consumption and use should be avoided completely, as it could cause serious health risks. The cases in which the devil’s claw is contraindicated are:

  • Pregnant women: Due to the emmenagogue properties of the plant, its consumption is not recommended, since this could cause spontaneous abortions or damage to the fetus.
  • Lactating women: In these cases it is not recommended to consume the plant either, since it could cause the infant to generate sensitivity to the infant.
  • People with gastrointestinal diseases: People with ulcers or irritable bowel should avoid consuming the plant, as this would only aggravate the situation of their disease.


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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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