Devil's Club Root Bark Profile
Also known as
Alaskan Ginseng, Wild Armored Alaskan Ginseng, Pacific Ginseng, Devil's Walking Stick, Oplopanax horridum, Oplopanax horridus, Echinopanax horridum, Fatsia horrida, Acanthopanax horridum (Note: Devil's club is not a ginseng, and in the U.S. it is now illegal to market it with those names.)
Devil's club, a close cousin to Ginseng, is a large shrub native to the cool moist forests of western North America. However, scattered colonies of Devil's club exist on the western shores and islands of Lake Superior. It is noted for its large palmate leaves and erect, woody stems covered in brittle spines. People often describe the plant as having a "primordial" appearance upon first inspection. Devil's club is acutely sensitive to human disturbance and reproduces intolerably slowly with individual plants taking several years to reach reproductive maturity. Devil's club prime habitat is the rapidly disappearing old growth conifer forests of the Pacific Northwest.
Nerolidol, torreyol, dodinene, bulnesol, dodecenol, cadenene, cedrol, araliasides and panaxosides of various and unspecific nature.
Bark of stem roots and bark of true roots as well as heartwood of true roots
As a tea, the poultice of leaves and stems, and in capsules and liquid extracts.
While Devil's club is a relatively lesser-known herb, its medicinal discoveries suggest that there may be an increasing demand for it in the future, raising concerns about its unregulated wild harvesting. Given that it has a limited native range and is slow to grow and reproduce, there are legitimate concerns that over-harvesting could damage or upset the delicate ecological balance of the Pacific Northwest.
The berries of Devil's club are poisonous, and the stems and leaves should not be eaten after the thorns on the plant have hardened. Those diagnosed with diabetes should see their medical practitioners regularly while using Devil's club, as it may change the way that insulin works in the body.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.