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Devil's Claw

Devil's Claw

General Information

Devil’s claw is derived from the dried roots of the plant originating in the deserts of Africa. Devil's claw is so named because of the "claws" found on the fruit of this plant.

Common Name(s)

devil's claw, wood spider, grapple plant, harpagophytum, Uncaria procumbens, Harpagophytum zeyheri

Scientific Name(s)

Harpagophytum procumbens (Burch) DC. Ex Meisn. (Pedaliaceae)

How is this product usually used?

Devil's claw is usually taken by mouth. Its roots and tubertubera fleshy underground stem or roots (a fleshy underground stem or root) are extractextractto get, separate, or isolate a desired active ingrediented into different forms, including tablets, capsules, fluid extract, decoctiondecoctionthe process of boiling plant parts in water and straining the liquid for medicine (the liquid resulting from boiling the plant in water), and tincturetincturea desired active ingredient that is extracted from alcoholic solution.

The amount of dried roots and tubers to use per day depends on what devil's claw is used for:

  • to relieve digestive disturbances: 0.6 g to 4.5 g
  • to relive joint pain associated with osteoarthritis: 0.6 g to 7.5 g
  • to simulate appetite: 0.6 g to 1.5 g

Your health care provider may have recommended using this product in other ways. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What is this product used for?

Devil's claw may help to relieve joint pain due to osteoarthritis. Several studies have shown that when used alone or with other medications that have anti-inflammatory actions, devil's claw reduced pain in people with osteoarthritis.

It has also been used to stimulate appetite or to relieve digestive problems. However, there is currently not enough research to confirm the effectiveness of devil's claw in stimulating appetite or help with digestion.

Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What else should I be aware of?

It may take 2 to 3 months before you will notice any improvement in your symptoms of osteoarthritis. Further study is needed to establish the safety of long-term oral use beyond 1 year or topical use of devil’s claw.

If at any point your symptoms for which you are using devil's claw get worse, consult your health care provider.

Common side effects include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and skin reactions.

Devil's claw can interact with some medications by decreasing how quickly the liver breaks down certain medications (e.g., antifungal medications such as ketoconazole or acid reflux medication such as lansoprazole or pantoprazole). It may also increase the effects of warfarin, a medication that is used to slow blood clotting. Consult your health care provider for more information.

Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should not use devil's claw. Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.

Source(s)

  1. Devil's claw. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Accessed 16 March 2014.
  2. Health Canada. Licensed Natural Health Products database. Devil's claw (monograph). http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=77&, Accessed 16 March 2014
  3. Devil’s Claw. Natural Standard database. Accessed 16 March 2014.

All material © 1996- MediResource Inc. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.