Devil’s Club tea has long been known as being potent for respiratory ailments. The plant is also believed to have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that made it a popular remedy amongst native American tribes.
Devil’s club is a large shrub that can largely be found in the cold forests of western North America, particularly in areas of Alaska, Oregon, Alberta and Montana. These may also be found in the fringes of the western shores and islands of Lake Superior.
Known by its official name of oplopanax horridum, devil’s club is closely related to the American ginseng. However, the marketing of devil’s club as a ginseng-like herb has been outlawed in an effort to protect the population of the plant as it has experienced rapid declines in the last few years.
Devil’s club possesses large palm-like leaves and straight, woody stems with brittle spines. It typically reaches a height of up to 4 feet. The flowers of the devil’s club plant are produced in dense umbels of about 10 to 20 centimetres. Each flower is small and has five greenish-white petals. Its fruit is a small red, shiny drupe measuring about 6 millimeters in diameter.
The following are the active constituencies of devil’s club: nerolidol, torreyol, dodinene, bulnesol, dodecenol, cadenene, cedrol, araliasides and panaxosides.
Devil’s club tea is usually prepared by scraping off the outer scaly bark, then peeling the inner bark until the harder wood is reached. The bark of the stem roots and true roots may also be used. Place the bark strips in a saucepan filled with water and bring the mix to a boil. Take it out of the heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
The red fruits of the devil’s club are poisonous and should not be eaten or consumed. The leaves and stems should likewise not be consumed if the thorns have already hardened. People with diabetes and those being treated for the ailment should consult with their physician before taking devil’s club tea.
The following are the health benefits attributed to devil’s club tea:
- May help soften phlegm so it is easier expelled. It may also help increase bronchial secretions.
- Believed to help inhibit tuberculosis microbes.
- May help fight rheumatoid arthritis.
- May help in the treatment of insulin-resistant diabetes.
- Was used by the native Americans as a treatment for tumors.