Devil's Club

Common name: Devil's Club

Latin name: Oplopanax horridus

Parts used: Root


System affinities

Hormone regulation (sugar regulation insulin, etc) 


Energetics/characteristics/flower essence/dosha

Devil's Club is grounding, supportive, protective, and wise.  It has the energy of kapha/pitta and is best suited for anyone experiencing vata imbalance (which is nearly everyone).  It promotes water and earth qualities.


Taste and quality

Devil’s Club has a sweet, earthy, cooling taste that is unique and iconic.  Most people don’t initially like the flavor, but of course as things do, they grow on you after time.  We have played around with adding Devil’s Club to chocolate and found small successes.



Devil's Club is (inappropriately) thought of as an adrenal adaptogen, probably because it produces similar results to the traditional adrenal herbs (ashwagandha, schisandra).  Devil's club in my experience has never directly affected the water element, kidneys, nor adrenals.  It does however help with stress, anxiety, and the repercussions of our typical vata lifestyle (overstressed, overworked, overtired, overwhelmed).  


History and lore

There are various species of Oplopanax throughout the world, with varying degrees of medicinal action.  All of them are used for the characteristics of “burn out”.  Devil’s Club is an araliacea, which is a part of the ginseng family line (this doesn’t mean that all aralia’s are medicinal).  The ginseng family is also thought to offer strength, vitality, and vigor; generally given to older men (TCM).



Pacific Northwest


Dosing and formulas

We use Devil’s Club in our Adrenal Tonic (coupled with ashwagandha and tulsi) where dosing is daily in tincture form.  We also have Devil’s club powdered in our Heart Tonic, as a secondary action for similar reasons as our Adrenal Tonic (sugar and hormone regulation).  Our Heart Tonic can be added to smoothies or as a shooter in water.