Yet while the Arthritis Society promotes aspirin as a treatment, it consistently ignores other safe options such as diet, fasting and herbs. The March 3, 1989 issue of the Toronto Sun claimed that, each year, 2000 Canadian seniors die from internal bleeding and heart and kidney failure connected with anti-arthritis drugs.
"Arthritis is a natural but ultimately incorrect cellular response to certain stresses on the body," writes Klaus Kaufmann. "No two people ever have identical patterns or progression of symptoms. What may be needed, then, is an adaptation program to steer the body toward healthy responses without causing unwanted side effects. This is apparently what the herb Devil's Claw can do."
Devil's Claw is a plant native to Southwest Africa, and grows in the Kalahari Desert. Its name comes from the claw-like shape of its seed pods, which are about the size of a hand. Natives have long used the plant to treat digestive problems, rheumatism, arthritis, and malaria. It was discovered by a German scientist who found it contained the same properties as the classical drug, Phenybutazone, used to treat arthritis, but without any side effects.
According to Chinese medicine, Devil's Claw root is both Yin and Yang, which is rare for herbs and is good for circulation and the heart. It contains over 40 constituents. The plant has fragile, creeping stems and when the rains come, produces trumpet-shaped flowers. To survive the long periods of drought that affect the areas where it grows, Devil's Claw sends down roots as deep as a metre into the soil, and produces brown tubers at different levels underground, which store water. It is these secondary roots, which absorb trace minerals, which are used as a herbal remedy.
Nathalie Debaty, sales and marketing manager for Ortis Labs in Europe, recently visited Vancouver to promote the use of this herb for the pain and inflammation of joint diseases. Her company goes to great lengths to harvest the herb in the best possible way to ensure effectiveness.
"We send our own people directly to the desert to collect the fresh roots. The sun-dried herbs others use are subject to oxidation which diminishes its strength. Our fresh herbs are then ground and preserved in a white wine base with blackcurrent bud extract."
Documentary evidence indicates that six-out-of-ten patients obtain relief from this remedy. It has anti-inflammatory action, reduces pain, swelling and stiffness of inflamed joints and muscles. It also acts as a powerful detoxifier and liver cleanser.
Debaty says the herb is often called the 'suppleness plant' which improves mobility, to avoid problems with government regulations which prevent claims being made for herbal preparations. "But some call their serious arthritis pains like being in the grip of a Devil's Claw and they turn to that herb to help them get through their days. There are now so many success stories from people using Devil's Claw, it just can't be ignored any longer."
To begin treatment, the herbal preparation is best taken for three weeks, then stopped for a week. After that, one week on and one week off is a good maintenance dose. Since there are no side effects from this herb, it can be taken for as long as necessary. Devil's Claw can be taken by almost anyone, although diabetics on insulin may experience a rise in their blood sugar levels.
So if the pain of arthritis has you in its grip, Devil's Claw could be your best friend. Along with a wholefood diet, nutritional supplements and relaxation techniques, this herb can be an effective way to keep rheumatic conditions under control.