The traditional use of devil’s claw by tribes in Africa involved the root being chopped and dried in the sun for three days to make medicinal preparations.
The bitter preparation was used in folk tradition for its analgesic (numbing) and antipyretic (temperature reducing) properties. European colonists took the plant back to their countries where it was used to treat arthritis.
The modern-day main use of devil’s claw is as an anti-inflammatory and for pain relief for joint diseases. These effects have been proven by laboratory studies.
Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease is thought to benefit most from the use of devil’s claw.
Clinical studies support this and also suggest that it is as effective as some conventional anti-inflammatory drugs.
Devil’s claw is also very popular for mild joint pain and back pain is another condition which is thought to be helped by using this herb.
One of the traditional uses of devil’s claw is that of an herbal appetite stimulant.
Other painful conditions that may benefit from the use of devil’s claw is a headache and general nerve pain.
It can also be used as a digestive tonic; the belief is that it helps in the relief of constipation, diarrhea, ulcerative colitis and flatulence.
Traditionally, external use of liquid extracts of devil’s claw has been used for sores, ulcers, boils and various skin lesions.