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Introduction

The devils claw, scientifically known as Harpagophytum procumbens, is a medicinal plant from southern Africa. The discovery of this plant and its medicinal properties has sparked worldwide interest and made it an important part of natural medicine.

The discovery of the devils claw

It was first discovered by the indigenous people of the Kalahari Desert, who used its roots and tubers for medicinal purposes. They recognized the plant’s analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties early on. In the 20th century, European researchers began to study the plant and its active ingredients in more detail, which led to its introduction into Western medicine.

Dosage forms and dosage

Devils claw can be taken in various forms:

  • Capsules and tablets: These are the most commonly used forms of administration, as they are easy to dose.
  • Tea: The dried roots can be boiled to make a healing tea.
  • Tinctures and extracts: These concentrated forms are often taken in drop form.
  • Ointments and creams: for external use in the case of joint and muscle pain.

The dosage varies depending on the form and application. For capsules and tablets, a usual dose of 600 to 1200 mg per day, divided into two to three doses, is recommended. For teas and tinctures, you should follow the recommendations on the packaging or those of your doctor.

Diseases that can be treated with devils claw

It is used primarily to treat the following conditions:

  • Arthritis: Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, it can relieve the symptoms of arthritis, such as pain and swelling.
  • Back pain: Studies have shown that the plant is effective for chronic back pain.
  • Digestive disorders: Traditional use includes the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders such as flatulence and indigestion.
  • Tendonitis: Athletes and people with repetitive movements benefit from the healing effect of tendonitis.

How devils claw works in the body

The healing effect is mainly due to the iridoid glycosides, in particular harpagoside, which is contained in the root. These compounds have an anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antioxidant effect. By inhibiting pro-inflammatory enzymes, it reduces swelling and pain, which is particularly helpful for joint and muscle problems.

Taking and supplementing

Devils claw should be taken when chronic or acute pain occurs, especially in the case of inflammatory diseases. It can also be taken as a preventive measure if you are prone to joint pain or digestive problems.

Warnings and contraindications

Certain people are advised against taking devils claw:

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women: there are not enough studies to guarantee safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • People with stomach and duodenal ulcers: the plant can irritate the stomach lining and worsen existing complaints.
  • Diabetics: Devils claw can affect blood sugar levels and should therefore only be taken by diabetics under medical supervision.

Food supplements and medicinal plants

The following food supplements and medicinal plants can be taken to support the effect of devils claw:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: These also have anti-inflammatory properties and can enhance the effect.
  • Turmeric: known for its strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
  • Ginger: It has similar effects and can help with joint pain.

Foods with a high content of active ingredients from the devil’s claw

The active ingredients of the devil’s claw are specific to the plant itself and do not occur in other foods. It is therefore important to take the devil’s claw directly in the form described above in order to benefit from its health benefits.

Possible side effects

As with many natural remedies, side effects may occur when taking devils claw:

  • Gastrointestinal complaints: These include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
  • Allergic reactions: In rare cases, skin rashes or breathing difficulties may occur.
  • Headaches and dizziness: These symptoms are less common, but may occur in some people.

Overdose and its consequences

An overdose of devils claw can lead to serious side effects:

  • Severe gastrointestinal problems: severe pain, diarrhea and vomiting may occur.
  • Drop in blood pressure: excessive consumption can cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure.
  • Impairment of kidney function: High doses can put a strain on the kidneys and impair their function.

Devils claw in naturopathy

In naturopathy, it is often used in the form of homeopathic remedies, phytotherapeutics and traditional remedies. It is particularly valued for its ability to relieve chronic inflammation and improve the overall quality of life of people with chronic pain.

Conclusion

Devils claw is a powerful medicinal plant with a wide range of applications. Its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties make it a valuable addition to the treatment of chronic pain and inflammation. However, as with all medicinal plants, it is important to use it with caution and to be aware of possible side effects and contraindications. When used correctly, it can be a natural and effective way to promote health and well-being.

Published on: 6. June 2024

Daniel

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