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Devils Claw Root Organic

Devils Claw Root Organic

Harpagophytum procumbens

History and Folklore
There are many plants that carry the common name of devil's claw, but this one deserves some special attention. Harpagophytum procumbens is a traditional medicine plant of the San people who live in the Kalahari Desert. Devil's Claw is a perennial desert plant. It is a warrior plant that specifically grows in ground that has been degraded and abused by overgrazing. It protects the ground from further assault by means of its fearsome seeds with their tenacious hooks from which it derived its name. The seeds hook onto the hoofs or mouths of grazing animals, which. quite immobilizes the hapless animals and they may become unable to carry on grazing - an effective deterrent in the plant's effort to protect fragile lands. Devils Claw produces not only a deep taproot, but also a tuberous secondary root, which becomes very swollen and fleshy. This is the part which the San collect for medicine. Back in the 1950 Western researchers found out about the remarkable properties of this plant and started to market it in the West. To cut an old and familiar tale short - today Devil's Claw is becoming rare. Of the 3 countries in which it is found, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa, it is endangered in two. The tragedy is that untrained harvesters collect not just the tuber but also the root, thus killing the plant for good. Deserts are fragile environments and desert plants are particularly at risk. In recent years awareness regarding the damaging effects of unsustainable harvesting methods has grown considerably and there are now some efforts to grow and harvest this root sustainably.

Medicinal Uses:
In Western herbalism the application of this root is limited to treatment of arthritic joints, rheumatoid aches and pains and lower back pain. However, it must be said that this is not a magic bullet. It allies chronic rather than acute pain and relief is felt after taking the extract for a period of time. This may partly be due to the fact that the anti-inflammatory compound (iridoid glycosides) is rendered less effective by the interaction with the stomach acid and there are some studies which suggest that injections to the affected area are more effective than tea.

Traditional healers have a far greater spectrum of use for this plant including anorexia, indigestion, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, gout, fevers, skin cancer, infectious diseases (including tuberculosis), allergies, osteoarthritis, fibrositis and rheumatism, being particularly effective in small joint diseases (Van Wyk and Gericke, 2000). Externally it is also used to wash wounds.

When taken on a regular daily basis, it has a subtle laxative effect. Small doses of the plant's root extract are used for menstrual cramps, while higher doses assist in expelling retained placentas. Devils Claw is also used as an analgesic after child birth and to keep the uterus contracted. Its actions on the digestive system are explained by its extreme bitterness. Its effects on the uterine system have been investigated and verified in laboratory studies.

Do not use during pregnancy or in cases of stomach ulcers and gallstones. Also, Devil's Claw has some blood thinning properties, so if you are on blood thinning medication already you should consult your doctor before using this herb.

Magical Uses:
Nothing has been written about the magical uses of this herb. However, it has powerful protective qualities and as an amulet, placed near door ways, may protect against unwanted intruders.

Plants nourish and feed us, add spice to our life, bestow health and beauty, scent and colour and brighten our days. They mediate love, hope and gratitude; they clothe and cleanse us, they heal and soothe our bodies, minds and souls. They touch every aspect of our existence, from our daily sustenance to the air we breathe, to the keys to other dimensions. They are the alchemists that turn sunlight into the green force of life, continuously revolving, restoring, rebirthing through the cycles of time. They truly are the greatest gift of nature, yet also the one we most take for granted.

Star Child's range of botanicals derives from many regions and traditions of the world. We supply only the best quality herbs, using organically grown and sustainably harvested sources if available. The greater the demand for organic products the more readily they will become available. Your choice to buy and our commitment to supply organic herbs is part of the driving force that sows the seeds for a greener, healthier future.

There are dozens of ways in which herbs can be used. Many culinary herbs not only impart a great flavour but also have subtle effect on the digestive process. Other herbs are more medicinal than culinary and can be used as remedies, based on the wisdom of age old traditional plant knowledge. For more detailed information on the different types of preparations that can be made with herbs, please refer to the BOTANICALS USAGE section.

We support the notion of taking responsibility for one's own well being and thus strive to make all herbs available for use at your own discretion. It should be noted however, that not all herbs are safe to use in all circumstances. Special cautions may apply when suffering from certain medical conditions, when taking synthetic prescription drugs and during pregnancy. Research and familiarize yourself with any herb you intend to use and make sure you are aware of all special cautions that may apply. The information given here is based on thousands of years of traditional use. It is intended for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace a visit to a medical professional where this is necessary.

If symptoms persist or re-occur, or if you are suffering from a serious medical condition, or if you are presently taking prescription drugs, we recommend that you consult a qualified doctor or practitioner before attempting to help yourself. Look for a practitioner/doctor who you can trust and who is prepared to explore natural health alternatives with you.

Pregnancy is a very special time. If chosen wisely herbs can give tremendous support throughout the entire process. However, due to the vulnerability and sensitivity of the unborn child it is especially important to make sure that the herbs you are using are safe. (This also applies during the time of breast-feeding as all substances ingested by the mother are processed and passed on with the mother's milk). Many herbs may be useful during the latter stages of pregnancy or during labour, but could be dangerous during the first few months. Inform yourself - don't risk regret.

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