Have you ever heard of devil’s claw? No, I’m not talking about any fictional characters here. I’m talking about a claw-shaped plant which offers various essential health benefits. To learn more, just keep reading! You’ll be sure to learn a lot.
What is Devil’s Claw?
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Put simply, devil’s claw is an herb. Botanically, it is known as Harpagophytum, from the Greek term for ‘hook plant.’ It takes its name from the appearance of the plant’s fruit, which is covered in hooks. The root has a lot of folk names and creative monikers which reference the small hooks, including harpago, wood spider and grapple plant. In nature, the hooks are shaped to attach themselves to passing animals and spread seeds. The plant’s tubers and roots are also used to make medicine.
The exact origin of devil’s claw is not well known, but it is native to the southern region of Africa, originally found in Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Zambia, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. It was first used medicinally in various regions in Europe. In the fact, around 1953, people began to use the root to treat seasonal allergies, appetite problems, bladder issues, kidney conditions, liver problems and even arthritis.
The benefits don’t stop there. Devil’s claw helps treat atherosclerosis, or the hardening of arteries. It is also valuable in easing migraines, fever, heartburn, gastrointestinal upset, chest pain, tendonitis, fibromyalgia, back pain, muscle pain and gout. It can even help with bladder and kidney disease, menstrual problems and childbirth difficulties.
Health Benefits of Devil’s Claw
Here are some of the most astounding health benefits of devil’s claw:
· Promotes kidney health. The extract of devil’s claw may be beneficial in suppressing the formation of nitrites, as its antioxidants have an effect on glomerular inflammatory conditions.
· Rich antioxidant properties. According to a study, devil’s claw is rich in water-soluble antioxidants, which help prevent various diseases.
· Helps fight chronic inflammation. Current studies suggest that devil’s claw is essential in inhibiting inflammation. This is very important, as chronic inflammation may lead to a variety of more serious conditions.
· Natural painkiller. A study suggests that the devil’s claw extract helps relieve chronic back pain and improves mobility in patients. This is all without any experienced side effects.
· Might help with losing weight. A study in Ireland states that devil’s claw may help stop or at least slow down the production of ghlerin, the hormone responsible for hunger pangs. Through the reduction of these hunger pangs, those who have overeating issues may find their appetites at a level that is close to average, thus aiding their own weight loss.
· May provide arthritis relief. A study suggests that the consumption of devil’s claw helps significantly reduce pain in the hands, back, knee, hip, shoulder and elbow. The same study also shows a large improvement in the quality of life for most of the patients.
Possible Risks of Taking Devil’s Claw
Even though it is known that devil’s claw offers many health benefits, you should still practice caution in taking it and speak with your doctor beforehand. Because devil’s claw may slow down the breakdown of substances in the liver, it can interact with medications. Remember, your health is more important than anything else!
Effectiveness and Uses of Devil’s Claw
Devil’s claw has shown signs of being effective for:
- Osteoarthritis: taking the herb has shown benefitial in decreasing the pain that comes with osteoarthritis. Not only that, it may also help lower the dose of NSAIDs needed by osteoarthritis patients to get pain relief.
- Back pain: oral consumption of devil’s claw has been shown to decrease lower back pain, working not unlike some other NSAIDs.
There is no doubt that devil’s claw plays an important role in overall health and the treatment of various conditions. Nonetheless, it is still important to ask a specialist’s advice before taking it, as it can cause some medicinal interaction. Always make sure anything you are taking is safe. As I said earlier, your health is more important than anything else.