Devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is a low, branched, bushy plant. Native from South Africa, it gets its name from the inner wooden capsule, which splits at one end into two curved sharp ends like “claws”.
Devil’s claw is an attractive plant that blooms during the summer season. Its leaves are very sticky and covered with fine hairs.
There are two types:
- Annual with triangular leaves and white to pink flowers with spotted corollas.
- Perennial plant in the yellow flowering species with almost the same characteristics.
Devil’s claw has been used to treat pain, liver and kidney problems. Also for fever and malaria.
It is also used in ointments to treat wounds, boils and other skin problems.
Devil’s Claw was introduced to Europe in the early 1900’s, when its dried roots were used to restore appetite, relieve heartburn and reduce pain and inflammation.
Today, devil’s claw is widely used in Germany and France to fight inflammation or to relieve arthritis pain, low back pain, headaches.
In some parts of the world, pickles are picked by picking them while the fruits are small before they have hardened. Young pods look like okra and caring for plants is really similar to growing okra.
Planting and caring for the Devil’s claw:
Devil’s claw grows best in strong sunlight and well-drained soil. It is easy to grow. Its seeds are sown directly where they will remain to grow. The seeds can be pre-soaked overnight. Keep the soil moist until germination and then allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings. Once the plant is ripe, water only every two to three weeks. When seed pods begin to form, stop watering completely.
The plant likes the summer heat, so it will not start growing until the soil warms up!
Each capsule contains about 40 black seeds, which are gradually released as the nails separate.
Never allow these plants or their seeds to get out of your direct control. They can become invasive weeds!
Locals have long used the plant’s pods to weave baskets, and all over the world the pods are ideal for all kinds of decorative and craft projects.