Photos of Devil's Claw, Harpagophytum procumbens.

Devil's Claw, Harpagophytum procumbens, also known as grapple plant, is a shrubby vine native to southwest Africa. The fruit have large woody grapples (hence the name grapple plant) that get stuck in animal fur which helps to disperse seed. Most commercial supplies are wild harvested from the Kalahari deserts and savannahs of Namibia. The tubers were highly prized by African Bushmen, Hottentots and Bantu as a bitter tonic for indigestion. A tea was also used for fever, as a blood purifier, and to relieve rheumatic and arthritic pain. Preparations were introduced into European phytomedicine in the early 1950s, based on the herb’s reputation as an anti-inflammatory for rheumatism and arthritis. The secondary tubers contain twice as much of the perceived active component, harpagoside, as the primary root.

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