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Originally published February 5 2007

Exotic Cures: Devilís Claw is Godís Gift for Back and Muscle Pain

by Edna Sousa

Brazilians are using all sorts of plants and herbs to alleviate pains and strains. Whatís ďin vogueĒ today is an herb called garra do diabo, or devilís claw (scientific name, Harpagophyitum procumbens). But donít be startled by the name; itís not what you think. Devilís claw got a bad rap in the name department. As you will see, itís more like a gift from the gods in the treatment of arthritis, rheumatism, fibromialgia, bursitis, tendonitis, spinal problems, osteoporosis, and general muscular pain.

Its properties began to be studied around the time of WWII by European scientists, who dubbed it devilís claw due to its many thorny spines that resemble claws. It has analgesic, anti-inflammatory and febrifuge (fever-reducing) properties. It also helps heal wounds, stimulates the digestive and lymphatic systems and helps in the production of bile from the liver and gall bladder. These qualities make it among the most sought after cures for lumbar and other back and muscle pain in South America.

In the United States, devilís claw is not well known or widely used. It originated in southern Africa and grows in the deserts of the Namibia region. The locals of that region use it for kidney, bladder and liver pain. Itís also believed that the sooner one begins using this herb, the more one postpones the aches and pains of aging. The herb is immensely popular in some parts of the world and is even being used on horses in some Arabic countries. Even my own herbal ďpharmacyĒ at home would never be without it; this devilís claw was more like an angelís touch in curing my husbandís back pain.

Story by Edna Sousa for Waterside Syndications

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