Devil’s Claw

Harpagophytum procumbens


Habitat: Indigenous to Southern and Eastern Africa.

Collection: This plant grows in Africa in very arid conditions. The roots are collected at the end of the rainy season.

Part Used: Rhizome.


  • Iridoid glycosides, including harpagide, harpagoside and procumbide

  • Flavonoids,
    mainly kaempferol and luteolin glycosides

  • Phenolic acids; chlorogenic and cinnamic acid

  • A quinone, harpagoquinone

  • Miscellaneous; triterpenes, oleanolic & ursolic acid derivatives, esters, sugars.

Actions: Anti-inflammatory, anodyne, hepatic.

Indications: This valuable plant has been found effective in the treatment of some cases of arthritis. This action appears to be due to
the presence of a glycoside called harpagoside that reduces inflammation in the joints. Unfortunately Devil’s Claw is not always effective, but it is well worth considering in cases of arthritis where there is inflammation and pain. This plant also aids in liver and gall-bladder complaints.

Combinations: With Celery Seed, Bogbean or Meadowsweet in the treatment of arthritis.

Preparations & Dosage:
Decoction: put l/2 – l teaspoonful of the rhizome into a cup of water, bring it to the boil and simmer for l0-l5 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. It should be continued for at least one month. Tincture: take l-2 ml of the tincture three times a day.

Go to Herbal Materia Medica Homepage

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Written by David L. Hoffmann BSc Hons MNIMH

Explore Wellness in 2021