Devil's Claw

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Devil's Claw
Harpagofito; al. Teufelskralle; English. Devil's claw.

Lateral roots tuberizadas.

Harpagophytum procumbens is a perennial herbaceous plant with opposite leaves and large florets red violet persistent. The fruit is a woody capsule bearing thorns finished in a crown of hooks metallics that have given the popular name of "devil's claw, " hooks or hooks.


The plant is specific to the southern African continent (between 15 and 30 degrees south latitude) grows spontaneously in the areas bordering the Kalahari Desert (Namibia, Botswana and South Africa in Cape Province and Transvaal) where they are concentrated around watering points.

Chemical composition.

In addition to non - specific chemical components: estaquiosa (a tetraholósido) and other sugars, fatty acids, waxes, phytosterols free and combined, pentacyclic triterpenes free and esterified (Ursan and oleananos) amino acids, flavonoids and acids phenols, phenolic glycosides (verbascósido, isoacteósido) quinone, drugs containing glucosides monoterpenes in the series of iridoides that is attributed to the activity.

• Iridoides. The constitutional majority is the harpagósido. This glucoside is hydrolyzed in mild conditions, harpagogenina in a very unstable molecule ciclopentenílica dialdehídica; this Genina has its hydroxyl in 8 esterified by Cinnamic acid. In the case of the hydroxyl harpágido is free. The drug also contains procúmbido (characterized by the presence of an oxirane) procumbósido (anhydrous is a derivative - 3, 6 for the procúmbido) and esters p - cumare in 8 of harpágido and 6 'of procúmbido. The average content of the drug in heterósidos dried varies from 0. 5 to 3%.

Pharmacological data.

The harpagósido hydrolyzed by the emulsina and the aqueous extract of the drug is as effective as phenylbutazone in chronic arthritis, with connective tissue proliferation, induced by formaldehyde. The harpagósido, for its part, has demonstrated anti - inflammatory properties in the trial of the bag with granulomatous Croton oil in rat. These positive results were confirmed in an inflammatory semicrónica model. The harpagósido is weakly analgesic. The iridoides of harpagofito (especially the harpagogenina) have inhibitory effects on isolated guinea pig ileum, spurred by several agonists, all of the effects comparable to those exercised by nonsteroidal anti - inflammatory drugs on the same preparation, but has not been possible to demonstrate any activity at the waterways in the lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase [792] It has also demonstrated the cardiovascular activity of methanol extract raw [791] The analogy of the structural harpagogenina with prostaglandins could perhaps explain its biological activity [783b]

Observations on the Man.

Various studies show the beneficial effects of harpagofito in rheumatic patients. A large study conducted with 600 patients artrósicos, has shown that using high doses of the roots of harpagofito administered over several months, reflecting an improvement with an effectiveness rate that varies from 42 to 85% depending on the type of osteoarthritis (coxartrosis, osteoarthritis of the knee, hands, back, lumbar. Other researchers confirm that a treatment is effective as per you about pain and dysfunction on the articular. Other works refer to the administration of peri - articular injection in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.


The literature suggests the possibility of an interest in the case of benign chronic rheumatological disorders. The absence of side effects and a very good tolerance gastric allow the consumption of the drug for long periods, alone or in combination with other drugs, allowing lower doses usually recommended. For other information referred to by some authors (cholesterol, blood glucose lowering) it seems that there is no experience that allows pharmacological deny or confirm them. The drug is used in infusion or decoction and capsules (criomolido powder, extract, nebulized) The drug has no toxicity (LD50, ip, mouse: harpagósido, 1 g / kg; harpágido, 3. 2 g / kg; absence of pathological effects after administration of 7. 5 g / kg / day in rats semicrónica)

In Spain authorizing the use of this plant for rheumatic pain, inflammation processes joints, gout.


Not recommended for patients suffering from gastro - duodenal ulcers. It can produce mild discomfort in sensitive individuals, especially at high doses. Not be used during pregnancy and lactation. It can produce diarrhea in people hypersensitive.

The drug.

The drug consists of the lateral roots tuberizadas (sometimes misnamed tubers) harvested in the wild. These roots, very rich in water, cut and dried. The fragments are presented in thick slices, in the form of a fan or rounded, or rudely pressed into disks. The fragments have a very bitter taste. The content glucoiridoides (colorimetric valuation, following the reaction of iridoides extracted with methanol, sulfuric with vanillin in the middle) should be higher than 2. 2% (This drug is registered in the Royal Spanish Pharmacopoeia since 1997) HPLC You can carry out an accurate assessment.

Diseases whose treatment is appropriate in this plant.





Muscle cramps.

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