Specification & Spread

Rhizomes with devil’s-club roots — rhizomata cum radicibus echinopanacis
Devil’s-club – oplopanax elatus (nakai) nakai ( = echinopanax elatus nakai)
Ginseng family — araliaceae
Other names: devil’s-club.

It is a prickly bush 1-1,5 m tall.
Ascending lodging stems root, resemble underground rhizomes. The leaves are alternate, rounded in outline, shallowly palmatilobate (5-7), along the edge with sharp double teeth and a fringe of prickly hairs, on long petioles covered with yellowish brittle spines; above dark green, wrinkled, lighter below. The flowers are small, greenish, gathered in simple umbrella-shaped inflorescences, which form paniculate drooping thirs. The fruit is a coenocarp fleshy orange-red drupe.

It blooms in June – July, the fruits ripen in August – September. The name of the plant was due to the presence of long needle thorns, clinging to clothes and difficult to tear off.

Spreading. It grows on the territory of Russia, it grows only in the south of Primorsky Krai, meeting along the coast of the Sea of Japan for almost 420 km.

Habitat It grows in high-mountain spruce, fir and birch forests, mainly on humus soils and at high humidity. It dominates in the undergrowth of spruce-fir crooked. In some places it forms spruce groves.


The chemical composition of devil’s-club

In rhizomes with devil’s-club roots contain:

  • saponins – echinoxosides (up to 7%);
  • lignans;
  • from 2.7 to 5% essential oil;
  • coumarins (0.2%);
  • flavonoids (0.9%);
  • resinous substances (11.5%).

The chemical composition is studied insufficiently.

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting. In autumn, after ripening, when the plants are clearly visible among the greens. The rhizomes are dug together with the roots, cleaned from the ground and cut into pieces. It is recommended to wear canvas gloves to protect hands from spikes.

Security measures. The species is listed in the Red Book due to its narrow range. All the raw materials must be strictly regulated. When harvesting it is necessary to observe measures for the protection of thickets.

Drying. Air-shadow drying. The raw materials are scattered in a thin layer in attics, under sheds, turned over in the process of drying.

Storage. It is stored on racks in bags, in dry and ventilated areas.

Whole raw materials

The woody, slightly curved cylindrical pieces of rhizomes are up to 35 cm long, up to 2 cm thick.
On the surface of the rhizome, the rounded lentils and weak annular thickenings are visible, from which adventitious roots separate. The outer surface is longitudinally wrinkled, brownish-gray, brown on the break, with orange spots of the secretory tubules (well visible under a magnifying glass). The wood is yellowish white. The core is wide, soft and whitish.
The roots are small, woody, up to 1 cm thick, curved, cylindrical, with yellowish-white wood. The smell is peculiar, aggravated by rubbing.
The taste is bitter and slightly burning.

Milled raw materials

The pieces of rhizomes and roots of various shapes are passing through a sieve with 8 mm diameter holes. The colour is yellowish white. The smell is peculiar. The taste is bitter and slightly burning.

Properties and application

Pharmacotherapeutic group. General tonic.

The pharmacological properties of devil’s-club

An experimental study of high bait for the first time was carried out at VILAR. In animals, tincture of devil’s-club causes motor agitation and shortens the duration of sleep.
Devil’s-club infusion components (saponins and essential oil), each separately, also have a stimulating effect, and, apparently, stimulant properties of devil’s-club infusion are due to the whole complex of active ingredients of the plant.

The infusion also:

  • increases blood pressure
  • whets the breath
  • slightly increases the amplitude of contractions of the heart,
  • slows the rhythm of the heart and
  • increases diuresis.

There is evidence of antagonism of the action of glucocorticoids and devil’s-club preparations, aralia and eleutherococcus, for example, experiments on animals have shown that devil’s-club preparations change the tolerance of rats to sugars, cause hypoglycemia.
Devil’s-club refers to plants – adaptogens.

Application of devil’s-club

According to the effect of preparations, devil’s-club are analogues of ginseng preparations, but it acts weaker.

Devil’s-club infusion is used as a stimulant when:

  • asthenia,
  • depressive states,
  • hypotension.

In asthenic conditions, under the influence of infusion, devil’s-club patients with headache, pain in the heart area and unpleasant subjective sensations in various parts of the body, reduced fatigue and irritability, improves sleep.
The use of infusion in the complex treatment of patients with diabetes is most effective in cases where symptoms of adynamia are noted in the clinical picture.
Along with some hypoglycemic effect, there is an increase of:

  • tonus,
  • mood,
  • working condition.
  • Hyperexcitability;
  • tachycardia;
  • hypertension;
  • epilepsy;
  • the period of pregnancy and breastfeeding;
  • high blood pressure;
  • individual intolerance to plant components.