The devil’s claw is a medicinal herb common amongst the San people who live in the Kalahari Desert. It is a perennial desert warrior plant that specifically grows on degraded and overgrazed soil. The claws of the plant are intended to hook animals. Its roots and tubers are used to make medicine.
Natural Chemical Properties of the Devil’s Claws
Common names: Devil’s claw, windhoek root.
Botanical name: Harpagophytum procumbens,
The plant has very colorful flowers and its tubers contain a group of anti-inflammatory chemical substances called iridoids.
Uses of the Devil’s Claws
Its main component is the harpagoside which prevents or reduces the occurrence of inflammation in the body. For example, it helps to reduce arthritis.
Analgesic Effect: The harpagoside is a mild analgesic which calms the pains in the inflamed area. You can use it to treat rheumatism.
Appetite and digestion: It has been concluded that the harpagoside stimulates the production of bile and improves appetite and digestion. Its dry root infusion is also commonly used as a cure for digestive disorders and to stimulate the appetite.
Depurative: It has been seen recently that the harpagoside helps in the cleansing of waste products and toxins from our body and increases tissue blood flow and lymph drainage. This herb reduces the blood cholesterol level.
Other medicinal uses: In South Africa, the tuber of the devil’s claw plant is used to treat blood issues, produce relief from fever, muscle aches and pains. Its powdered root serves as an ointment for boils, ulcers and for difficult deliveries.
Magical Components of the Devil’s Claws
Deities: Isis, Athena, Shiva, Tzaddi (Fish Hook)
Magical Uses of the Devil’s claws:
- The devil’s claw root has powerful protective qualities when used as an amulet. You can place it on your doorways to prevent unwanted intruders to your home. The seed pods of the devil’s claw make excellent protective charms.
- It serves as a purification herb when burned as incense. It cleanses negative energies and creates a sacred space for your ritual.
- This incense is often used when moving into a new home to remove any remaining or residual energies in the house.
Precautions and Side Effects of Devil’s Claws:
- Devil’s claw may interfere with some anti-coagulant drugs thus affecting their effects.
- It may also increase the production of stomach acid.
- Consult a health professional for the proper use of the devil’s claw for people who are considering its use as an alternative medication for pain.
- Do not use during pregnancy unless you are under proper supervision.
- In addition, people with gallstones should consult a health professional before using the devil’s claw.