Parts Used & Where Grown
Devil’s claw is a native plant of southern Africa, especially the Kalahari desert, Namibia and the island of Madagascar. The name devil’s claw is derived from the herb’s unusual fruits, which are covered with numerous small claw-like appendages. The secondary storage roots, or tubers, of the plant are used in herbal supplements.1
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Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.
For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.
3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.
This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:
Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)
Numerous tribes native to southern Africa have used devil’s claw for a wide variety of conditions, ranging from gastrointestinal difficulties to arthritic conditions.2 Devil’s claw has been widely used in Europe as a treatment for arthritis.
How It Works
How It Works
The devil’s claw tuber contains three important constituents belonging to the iridoid glycoside family: harpagoside, harpagide, and procumbide. The secondary tubers of the herb contain twice as much harpagoside as the primary tubers and are the chief source of devil’s claw used medicinally.9 Harpagoside and other iridoid glycosides found in the plant may be responsible for the herb’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic actions. However, research has not entirely supported the use of devil’s claw in alleviating arthritic pain symptoms.10 , 11 In one trial it was found to reduce pain associated with osteoarthritis as effectively as the slow-acting analgesic/cartilage-protective drug diacerhein.12 One double-blind study reported that devil’s claw (600 or 1200 mg per day) was helpful in reducing low back pain .13
Devil’s claw is also considered by herbalists to be a potent bitter. Bitter principles, like the iridoid glycosides found in devil’s claw, can be used in combination with carminative (gas-relieving) herbs by people with indigestion , but not heartburn .
How to Use It
As a digestive stimulant, 1.5–2 grams per day of the powdered secondary tuber are used.14 For tincture, the recommended amount is 1–2 ml three times daily. For osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis , 4.5–10 grams of powder are used per day. Alternatively, standardized extracts, 1,200–2,500 mg per day, may be taken.
Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds
At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.
Interactions with Medicines
Certain medicines interact with this supplement.
Types of interactions: Beneficial Adverse Check
Replenish Depleted Nutrients
Reduce Side Effects
Potential Negative Interaction
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
1. Tyler VE. The Honest Herbal, 3d ed. Binghamton, NY: Pharmaceutical Products Press, 1993, 111–2.
2. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenburg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum, 1988, 238–9.
3. Chantre P, Cappelaere A, Leblan D, et al. Efficacy and tolerance of Harpagophytum procumbens versus diacerhein in treatment of osteoarthritis. Phytomedicine 2000;7:177–83.
4. Bone K. The story of devil’s claw: Is it an herbal antirheumatic? Nutrition and Healing 1998;October:3,4,8 [review].
5. Schulz V, Hänsel R, Tyler VE. Rational Phytotherapy: A Physician’s Guide to Herbal Medicine. 3rd ed, Berlin: Springer, 1998, 168–73.
6. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin: American Botanical Council and Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 425–6.
7. Chrubasik S, Zimpfer C, Schutt U, Ziegler R. Effectiveness of Harpagophytum procumbens in treatment of acute low back pain. Phytomed 1996;3:1–10.
8. Chrubasik S, Junck H, Breitschwerdt H, et al. Effectiveness of Harpagophytum extract WS 1531 in the treatment of exacerbation of low back pain: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Eur J Anesthesiology 1999;16:118–29.
9. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 208–10.
10. Whitehouse LW, Znamirouska M, Paul CJ. Devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens): no evidence for anti-inflammatory activity in the treatment of arthritic disease. Can Med Assoc J 1983;129:249–51.
11. Grahame R, Robinson BV. Devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens): pharmacological and clinical studies. Ann Rheum Dis 1981;40:632.
12. Chantre P, Cappelaere A, Leblan D, et al. Efficacy and tolerance of Harpagophytum procumbens versus diacerhein in treatment of osteoarthritis. Phytomed 2000;7:177–83.
13. Chrubasik S, Zimpfer C, Schutt U, Ziegler R. Effectiveness of Harpagophytum procumbens in treatment of acute low back pain. Phytomed 1996;3:1–10.
14. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 120–1.
15. Shaw D, Leon C, Kolev S, Murray V. Traditional remedies and food supplements: a 5-year toxicological study (1991–1995). Drug Saf 1997;17:342–56.
16. Shaw D, Leon C, Kolev S, Murray V. Traditional remedies and food supplements: a 5-year toxicological study (1991–1995). Drug Saf 1997;17:342–56.
17. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 120–1.
Last Review: 11-07-2012
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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2013.
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