There is a medicinal plant that grows underground in the arid conditions of the Kalahari desert, claimed by its enthusiastic supporters to be a miraculous cure for inflammation, arthritis and joint pain. The San Bushmen have used it for thousands of years as a medicine. But, to the rest of the world, its healing properties are only just being discovered. It goes by the unlikely name of the Devil’s Claw (so called for its weirdly contorted seed pod). In this episode in his ongoing series on African Crops For the Future, Gus (the African Plant Hunter) delves deeper into the remarkable story of Harpagophytum zeyheri, and explains why he thinks it has potential as a future crop for people living in the dryland areas of Southern Africa, where sporadic rainfall makes agriculture a fragile and unpredictable business.
To see some of Gus’ other work on underutilised plants, visit: https://www.bio-innovation.org/