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Devil's Club
shopping: one variety
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OUT OF STOCK (ETA 10/15/2014)
Out of stock
$50.00 
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OUT OF STOCK (ETA 10/15/2014)
Out of stock
$20.00 
Oplopanax horridus

devil's club

plant overview
thorny devil's club

Devil’s club, also called devil's walking stick, is a perennial shrub that occurs naturally in the damp woodlands of the Pacific northwest. It is particularly at home in Alaska's Tongass National Forest and plays an important role in Tlingit society. The herb is a member of the ivy family and related to American ginseng, the latter fact giving rise to the nickname “Alaskan ginseng.” Devil’s club is challenging to harvest because the entire plant is covered with relentless thorns, but once the root and root bark is obtained it can be made into tea and used to produce ointments and salves.

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Devils club
01.
A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information about devils club

description
Devil's club, a member of the Araliaceae or Ginseng family, generally grows to 1 to 1.5 meters (3 ft 3 in to 4 ft 10 in) tall; however, instances exist of it reaching in excess of 5 meters (16 ft) in rainforest gullies. It is not the true ginseng, but a related species. The spines are found along the upper and lower surfaces of veins of its leaves as well as the stems. The leaves are spirally arranged on the stems, simple, palmately lobed with 5-13 lobes, 20 to 40 centimeters (7.9 to 16 in) across. The flowers are produced in dense umbels 10 to 20 centimeters (3.9 to 7.9 in) diameter, each flower small, with five greenish-white petals. The fruit is a small red drupe 4 to 7 millimeters (0.16 to 0.28 in) diameter.

common names & nomenclature
To native Alaskans, cukilanarpak means “big plant with needles.” The name refers to the spiny stems of the plant.

Also known as:
tlingit aspirin, devil's walking stick, cukilanarpak, echinopanax horridus, fatsia horrida, panax horridum, alaskan ginseng


02.
Where in the World
habitat and range for devils club

Oplopanax horridus is primarily native to western North America, but also found on islands in Lake Superior. It is found from Southcentral Alaska to western Oregon and eastward to western Alberta and Montana. Disjunct native populations also occur over 1,500 kilometers (930 mi) away in Lake Superior on Isle Royaleand Passage Island, Michigan and Porphyry Island and Slate Island, Ontario.

03.
Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting devils club

climate
This species usually grows in moist, shaded, dense forest habitats, and is most abundant in old growth conifer forests.

soil
Prefers cool, moist soil.

growing
Devil's club reproduces readily by forming clonal colonies through a layering process. What can appear to be several different plants may actually have all been one plant originally, with the clones detaching themselves after becoming established by laying down roots. Can also propagate by seeds, root cuttings and divisions.

harvesting
Dig roots in spring, wash off soil and debris, then scrape or scrub off the outer brown bark. Peel off the light-colored inner bark with a vegetable peeler and cut into smaller pieces to dry.

preserving
Store dried root bark pieces in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

04.
The Rest of the Story
devils club history, folklore, literature & more

Devils club (Oplopanax horridum), also called devil's walking stick, is a large, hardy, thorn-bearing shrub native to Canada and the northwestern United States known to native Alaskans as cukilanarpak, which means “big plant with needles.” The name aptly fits since the spiny stems of the plant certainly lend it a primitive appearance, and the fact that it grows in dense patches make navigating through it risky. In fact, groves of devil’s club have been described as living fences that can exceed 10 feet in height.

This plant has long been used for medicinal purposes by various indigenous peoples. Several Native American tribes still use devil’s club to remedy respiratory and gastrointestinal ailments as well as inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatism and arthritis. The Haida and Tlingit purify themselves in preparation for the hunt by bathing and fasting with nothing more than devil’s club tea. The Skagit commonly drink the tea after childbirth for its restorative properties, while a poultice made from the root bark is later employed to cease milk production when the child is ready to be weaned.

Although there is little clinical evidence to support the use of this herb to treat some of these conditions, certain compounds in the plant known as sesquiterpenes have been identified and isolated, namely stigmasterol and b-sitosterol. Both of these compounds are associated with antirheumatic and anticholesteremic effects, which means they reduce inflammation and blood cholesterol levels. Another chemical found in devil’s club called oplopanone has been found to exert anti-tussive effects, which explains the herb’s reputation as a treatment for cough. In vitro studies indicate that devil’s club may also counteract microbes responsible for tuberculosis. In terms of topical use, one study showed that oil made from the root bark was more effective against psoriasis than hydrocortisone. Finally, the herb is said to balance the body’s response to stress. This classifies devil’s club root as an adaptogen, an attribute shared with its botanical cousin, Panax ginseng.

for educational purposes only

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

please be advised: 
you should always consult with your doctor
before making any changes to your diet!!
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