pl flaga PL rus flaga  RU

Devil's claw (grapple plant, wood spider; Harpagophytum procumbens)

pazurnspThe ominous name of the herb describes the specific appearance of the Harpagophytum fruits.

What does the grapple plant look like and where does it come from?

The devil's claw is a perennial (a plant which lives more than two years) spreading close to the ground. The overall length of a mature grapple plant specimen can reach 150 cm and 60 cm in height. The characteristic fruit in the form of a spiked bag is why the plant is called the devil's claw. Another feature specific to the devil's claw is the storage bulb which resembles a typical potato. The grapple plant flowers are singular and growing at the angles of palmate leaves, usually red or purple with a yellowish tint on the inside.

The grapple plant comes from South Africa.

Medical substance content in the devil's claw
The pharmaceutical material (used in medicine) is the root of the grapple plant. Note that the roots are harvested only once the plant has flowered. Then the roots are pulverised or a thick extract is made (the latter is used to produce medicines, e.g. the preparation Reumaherb).

The devil's claw root contains iridoids (harpagoside, harpagide and procumbide), and small concentrations of triterpenes, flavonoids, quinones, phytosterols, phenol acids, fats and waxes.

The devil's claw and its effect on the human body

The devil's claw can have multiple effects on the human body. The principal effect to be expected in internal and external administration is anti-inflammatory. The substances in the grapple plant extract have been found to inhibit inflammation-promoting substances (prostaglandin). The anti-inflammatory action should also be considered in the treatment of rheumatoid and arthritic disorders and reducing the pain associated with them. In internal administration, devil's claw can also improve digestion (through its cholagogic action) and interestingly, reduce the blood cholesterol level). It is also considered as an effective antioxidant used to combat free radicals (oxidants) which are destructive to the human body.

Devil's claw in preparations for external administration (ointments and gels) has a good anti-inflammatory effect. With other substances (e.g. menthol), the formulations can improve pain relief and add a warming effect.

Therapeutic indications for the grapple plant

The therapeutic indications for the devil's claw extract include:

  • joint and muscle pain;
  • rheumatoid arthritis;
  • arthritis;
  • sciatica;
  • sports injuries;
  • neuralgia and neuritis;
  • the common cold;
  • decreased immunity;
  • disorders in bile flow
  • skin disorders (including acne, seborrhoeic dermatitis);
  • inflammation of the reproductive organs (male and female);
  • allergies.

Can the grapple plant be used with other plant extracts?

Pharmacies sell preparations with devil's claw extract only and preparations with Echinacea purpurea and Filipendula (in the medicine Rheumaherb). A composite preparation with several plant extracts has a better effect. By combining extracts from Echinacea purpurea, Filipendula and the grapple plant, the obtained effects include immunomodulation (stimulation of immunity system) with anti-inflammatory and analgesic action. This rich composition is highly effective in rheumatic disorders, neuralgia or pains in the muscles and joints.

 

Products containing Devil's claw

Tips - Devil's claw

Aching joints – and the warming ointments and pills to cure them

An increasing number of people suffer from aching joints. It is caused by overloading the joints with overly intensive and long work. Prolonged sitting, standing, and lifting of weights cannot...

Read more

Aching joints – and the warming ointments and pills to cure them

An increasing number of people suffer from aching joints. It is caused by overloading the joints with overly intensive and long work. Prolonged sitting, standing, and lifting of weights cannot...

Read more