Devil’s claw benefits, medicinal uses and side effects

Devil’s claw plant is a weedy, perennial plant and hasa creeping stem with greenish-grey leaves. Here, we will talk about Devil’s claw benefits, medicinal uses and side effects.

Devil's claw benefits, medicinal uses and side effects

Leaves are alternate or directly opposite each. Flowers are violet, red-violet, or yellow-violet in colour. They form at the place where the leaf joins the stem. Fruits have anchor-like hooks.

This is to assist the dispersion of the seeds by clinging to the fur of the animals. The stems emerge soon after the rains. They die during the drought.

Devil’s claw common names

The common name for this plant is devil’s claw. Other names include wood spider plant and grapple plant.

Botanical name and family of Devil’s claw herb

The botanical name is Harpagophytum procumbens. It belongs to sesame family, Pedaliaceae.

Geological areas where Harpagophytum procumbens grows

It is native to southern Africa. You can find it Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Mali, Madagascar, Rwanda, South Africa, and Nigeria.

Devil’s claw benefits and medicinal uses

Extracts from the tubers and devil’s claw root are used for making medicine. The whole devil’s claw extract shows better efficacy in treating ailments.

  • Treatment for difficulties in childbirth: Since it induces birth, the devil’s claw finds the use in helping women deliver their child. The paste of the roots is used since this is found to be the most effective. 
  • Used as a remedy for loss of appetite: When one has a loss of appetite, he or she can have the decoction made from the tubers of the devil’s claw. This will restore the appetite and make the digestion good again. 
  • Cure for gastrointestinal (GI) upset: It can cure all kinds of GI upsets. It soothes the intestine and helps the person get his or her appetite back. Have the infusion of the roots in the early morning to get a good effect. 
  • Good for curing allergic reactions: The devil’s claw helps people with allergic reactions to get over their condition. Apply the paste of the whole plant on the affected region for the best effect. 
  • Helps back pain: People use the devil’s claw for help with back pain. It seems to work as well as the NSAIDs. It is very useful for treating all kinds of pain, especially back pain. You must apply the paste of the tuber on the back and relax for 2-3 hours. This will help you get rid of the pain. 
  • Osteoarthritis: Taking the devil’s claw with NSAIDs helps those who have osteoarthritis. The use of the devil’s claw seems to help the patients reduce the dosage of NSAIDs. 
  • Treats tendonitis: You can apply the paste of wood spider to the joint and get relief from the joint pain. Do this for two to three days at least or until the pain disappears. 
  • Used for atherosclerosis: The hardening of the arteries is known as atherosclerosis. You can treat this condition by drinking the decoction of the tuber of the wood spider. 
  • Alleviate chest pain: If you get chest pain, drink the infusion of devil’s claw. It will give you good relief. 
  • Helps cure fibromyalgia: For those who have fibromyalgia, applying the paste of wood spider will give good relief. 
  • Good for a migraine headache: Many people suffer from migraine headaches. Having the tea made from the tubers of wood spider will help alleviate the pain. 
  • Helps alleviate muscle pain: If you suffer from muscle pain especially after a workout, having the infusion of the devil’s claw is sure to give you relief. Also, apply some paste of the whole plant on the arms and legs. 
  • Used for heartburn: Indigestion is a problem for many and the best way forward is to have the decoction of the wood spider tuber soon after the meal. This will settle your tummy and enhance digestion. 
  • Control a fever: If you get a fever, remember to have the tea made with the roots of the wood spider. This will help you bring the fever down. Have a glass both in the morning and the evening. 
  • Helps cure menstrual problems: For those with irregular menses, having the decoction will help make it regular. It will give relief from the pain and cramps if they have. 
  • Used for kidney disease: The wood spider is useful for rectifying kidney disease. People with problems with the kidney can use the infusion of the roots of the wood spider will help. 
  • Good for curing bladder disease: For those with problems with the bladder, the use of devil’s claw will help. It flushes the system and makes the body healthy. 
  • Help those with skin injuries: You can use the paste of the devil’s claw to help speed up the healing of skin injuries. It helps other skin conditions as well. 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: Might prove useful for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. There is no evidence of this, however. 
  • Upset stomach: You can get good relief for upset stomach if you use the preparation of the devil’s claw. Make an infusion with the roots of the plant. Drink this twice a day and your problem will soon be past. 
  • Gout: This complex form of arthritis brings severe attacks of pain and swelling. There is much redness. You can get relief from this affliction by having the infusion of the wood spider twice a day. It will reduce the swelling and give food relief from the pain. 
  • High cholesterol: If you have cholesterol problems, try the devil’s claw. This will help reduce the cholesterol if you have it regularly. It removes the LDL cholesterol from the blood. This helps improve the heart health. You can have the infusion of the plant both morning and evening. 
  • Loss of appetite: To augment the appetite try some tea made with the roots of the devil’s claw. Have this half an hour before you have your meal. This will raise your appetite and give you good digestion also.

Side effects of the Devil’s claw

You can use low doses of the wood spider plant to the belly to ease the pain for pregnant women. If you use high doses, it will cause the expulsion of the placenta and induce birth. Its use is contraindicated in the people with heart conditions.


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Anoop Sharma

About Anoop Sharma

Anoop Sharma is an IT professional, freelance health writer and creator of He is passionate about helping others learn about health issues and their natural remedies, yoga and healthy food.

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