Devil's Claw's Popularity Puts It At Risk

Oct 11, 2014

Devil's claw (Harpagophytum procumbens)
Credit Henri Pidoux © CITES Secretariat

The powerful anti-inflammatory action of harpagoside, a compound in the roots of devil's claw, relieves the pain of osteoarthritis, and many herbalists recommend it for digestive problems. The San of the Kalahari have used it medicinally for centuries. But because devil's claw is gathered wild from the deserts of Southern Africa, where the tubers are an important source of income, there is pressure on the population. In some regions, the current rate of harvest might not be sustainable. Good alternatives to devil's claw include turmeric, yucca, willow, or meadowsweet. 

(Podcast: "The Plant Detective," 10/11/14)