Henri Pidoux © CITES Secretariat

The powerful anti-inflammatory action of harpagoside, a compound in the roots of devil's claw, relieves the pain of osteoarthritis, and many herbalists recommend it for digestive problems. The San of the Kalahari have used it medicinally for centuries. But because devil's claw is gathered wild from the deserts of Southern Africa, where the tubers are an important source of income, there is pressure on the population. In some regions, the current rate of harvest might not be sustainable.

Nettle I

Jul 26, 2014

It's not called "stinging nettle" for nothing: if you're going to spend time in a nettle patch, cover up. The hairs on nettle's leaves and stems are miniature hypodermics, waiting to pucture your skin, which - ouch! - stings, then burns, then aches. But on arthritic joints, that sting stimulates, then exhausts, the production of pain messengers to the brain. Nettle leaf soup (cooking neutralizes the sting) has been found to reduce pain and immobility in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.


Mar 28, 2014

3/29/14: This week on "The Plant Detective:" “Holy basil” helps many ailments. It's sacred - dedicated to Vishnu - and has been cultivated by Indian people for centuries, as medicine for fever, digestion, diabetes, stress, and more.