Friday, July 29, 2011

Devil's Claw (Alaska)

On a recent hike in beautiful Alaska, the ground was literally covered with large green leaves. The guide informed us that it was Devil's claw, a plan that has been used for thousands of years in Africa to treat fever, rheumatoid arthritis, skin conditions, and conditions involving the gallbladder, pancreas, stomach and kidneys.

In the early 1900's, devil's claw was brought to Europe. It is used to improve digestion, as the bitter taste of devil's claw tea is thought to stimulate digestive juices. The primary uses of devil’s claw today are to control inflammation and pain in the back, neck, rheumatoid arthritis, and tendinitis although tests show the plant gives little more relief than a placebo. Potential users should seek their doctor's advice before using this plant.