African Plant Used by Bushmen Relieves Back Pain

In All Health Watch, Cognitive Health, Featured Article

If you suffer from back pain, your doctor is going to pull out his pad and write you a prescription. Is that drug going to ease your pain? It might. But it is likely to produce a host of harmful side effects, with addiction at the top of the list.

There’s a better option: a Bushmen medicine derived from the tuberous roots of a plant native to Africa. It has been used by traditional healers for hundreds of years. It’s just as effective as prescription drugs… But it has none of the side effects.

Dr. Sigrun Chrubasik is a researcher at the University of Freiburg in Germany. She’s in the Department of Forensic Medicine. She specializes in pain therapy and is the Research Coordinator of the Herbal Drugs Working Group.

Dr. Chrubasik compared the Bushmen medicine to the now-banned pain reliever Vioxx. And the results were promising. Her findings appeared in the journal Rheumatology.

$2.5 Billion Pain Killer Pulled Off the Market

Vioxx is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It belongs to a class of painkillers called COX-2 inhibitors. They work by blocking the enzyme that causes swelling.

The drug was popular in the late 1990s. Merck, the company that made it, touted it as a breakthrough for arthritis. Worldwide sales hit $2.5 billion by 2003.

But on September 30, 2004, Merck pulled the drug from the market after it was linked to strokes and heart attacks when used in high doses.

Even before Vioxx was pulled, Chrubasik had been looking for an alternative. And that’s where her study on the effectiveness of the Bushmen medicine comes into the picture.

Seventy-nine patients, ages 45-75, completed the study. They had been suffering from lower-back pain for at least six months. The pain was bad enough to interfere with their sleep as well as mobility.

The patients took either Vioxx or the Bushmen medicine. They were all given diaries to rate their pain from mild to severe on a daily basis. And they were allowed to take tramadol as a “rescue drug” if the pain became intolerable.

When it was over, researchers saw no real difference in effectiveness between the medicine and Vioxx. Plus, about 20% of the patients on the compound reported being completely pain-free. That’s compared to only about 10% of those on Vioxx.

In another study, Chrubasik and her team evaluated the safety of the compound. They gave it to 227 patients with knee and hip pain. Up to 70% benefited… with few side effects.

Potent Pain Buster Works for Arthritis AND Back Pain

The plant that’s the source of this healing medicine is Devil’s Claw. It’s also known as Grapple Plant or Wood Spider. It gets its name from the small claw-like hooks that cover its fruit.

Devil’s Claw is a lush shrub with red flowers. The active ingredient responsible for its medicinal effects is harpagoside. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, and antioxidant properties.

In fact, the European Scientific Cooperation on Phytotherapy (ESCOP) now recommends it for osteoarthritis. NHD wrote about Devil’s Claw back in February. We told you then it could be the answer for arthritis pain. But it’s also useful for those suffering from back pain.

The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends 600 – 1,200 mg of the liquid extract, standardized to contain 50 – 100 mg of harpagoside. If you prefer the dried root powder, it recommends 100 – 250 mg capsules. In both cases, the supplement should be taken three times a day.

You can also buy Devil’s Claw as a tablet or topical ointment. And you can make a tea from the dried root.

For a starting solution to back pain, check out this month’s issue of Natural Health Dossier Newsletter. We searched the globe for the best possible ways to deal with back pain, and came up with our own three-phase program that you can begin today. You’ll learn how to treat back pain without drugs… without surgery… and without time-consuming exercise or physical therapy. Best of all, you’ll learn how to keep back pain from occurring in the first place.

This month’s issue is about to be released Friday, and you don’t want to miss it. If you aren’t a subscriber, find out how you can become one now.

To your best health,

Michael Jelinek,

Managing Editor, NHD “Health Watch”