Devils claw

Historical note The botanical name Harpagophytum means 'hook plant' in Greek, after the hook-covered fruits of the plant. Devil's claw is native to southern Africa and has been used traditionally as a bitter tonic for digestive disturbances, febrile illnesses, allergic reactions and to relieve pain (Mills & Bone 2000). It has been used in Europe for the treatment of rheumatic conditions for over 50 years, and was first cited in the literature by Zorn at the University of Jena, Germany, who described his observations on the antiphlogistic and anti-arthritic effects after administration of oral aqueous extracts prepared from the secondary roots of H. procumbens in patients suffering from arthritides (Chrubasik et al 2006).

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