It is a plant present in Southern and Eastern Africa, in the Kalahari Desert and in savannah areas, thus called because of its hooked thorns that can trap small animals which, in some cases, having gotten stuck, die of hunger and thirst.
Its analgesic and anti-inflammatory effectiveness is owing to harpagoside that interferes with the production of prostaglandin and nitric oxide that cause inflammation and the feeling of pain. It is therefore particularly active in situations that cause pain and inflammation like tendinitis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, backache, headache from cervical arthritis. Its action is common to many anti-inflammatory products, but being natural provokes minor side effects compared to medicines.
It has hypocholesterolemic and hypouricemic properties and is therefore useful in cases of gout, given the presence of many bitter compounds capable of stimulating the production of gastric juices and bile. For this reason it is contraindicated in cases of gastritis, gastric or duodenal ulcers.