Spinning Moon Spotlight on Devils Club

Spotlight on Devil’s Club – S’axt

From Spinning Moon Apothecary May 2023

Associated Business

Oplopanax horridus

A perennial shrub that thrives naturally in the wet woodlands of the Pacific Northwest. An intimidating plant!  It’s tall stalks are covered in sharp spines, a powerful symbol of strength and protection. The vibrant green leaves unfold from the top of the stems in a graceful in elegant way. The smell is one of the best things I have ever smelled! Fresh, earthy, and sweet, it enlivens and stimulates all the cells in my body, one of the gifts of harvesting the bark.

Devil’s Club is particularly at home in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest and plays an important role in Alaskan native society. It is known by several names. In Tlingit it is called S’axt and is also referred to as Alaskan ginseng, Pacific ginseng, and devil’s walking stick.

Devil’s Club is known as one of the most important plants because of its strong medicinal qualities. It is considered by many to be a panacea, as its health benefits are far reaching. It can help with respiratory conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune conditions, eczema, type II diabetes, and external and internal infections.

  • The inner bark of the roots & stems are what is harvested and can be dried and made into tea or infused into oil to make a healing salve.
  • Caution should be taken when using this plant. Some folks have experienced allergic reactions using the herb topically and in high doses may cause a too strong purgative affect. Because it is known to lower blood sugar, those with diabetes should take care.
  • Herbal Actions:  Analgesic, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycemic, expectorant, alterative, emetic, purgative, anti-rheumatic
  • Warming (slightly), bitter, sweet

This description is provided courtesy of Spinning Moon Apothecary (located in Sitka, next to Highliner Coffee). As of May 1st, Spinning Moon is now observing Summer Hours.