Devils claw, also known as wood spider, grapple wood or by its Latin name Harpagophytum, is a genus of plant in the sesame family. The plant takes its name from the claw-like hooks on its fruit and is native to the dry, sandy regions of southern Africa. Medicinal use of Devil’s claw dates back millennia. The San and Khoi people have, for centuries used the root of the plant to counter pain, treat wounds and fevers and cure indigestion.
The compound Harpagoside is acknowledged as the primary source of Devils Claw’s medicinal value. This compound contains both pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown the plant to be particularly effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis and in cases of knee and hip arthritis. It has also proven to be successful in relieving tendinitis and back pain.
Indigestion can be eased by infusing Devils Claw root while it is also used as an appetite stimulant. When made into an ointment the Devils Claw root is used to treat a variety of skin ailments including boils and ulcers.