Devils Claw: Anti-Inflammatory & Arthritis Fighter
What is Devil’s Claw?
Devil’s claw is a medicinal plant native to southern regions of the African desert. Its name comes from the claw-shaped pods that hold the plant’s seeds. African natives have dried and used the roots of devil’s claw as a folk remedy for many years. The herb has gained popularity in Europe and North America since the 1950’s, when colonists in Africa introduced devil’s claw to their native countries.
What Ailments is Devil’s Claw Used to Treat?
Devil’s claw is widely used by herbalists to treat arthritis.
Its anti-inflammatory properties are said to give it the ability to ease aches and stiffness in joints as well as relieve pain. A study in France that compared devil’s claw to a prescription medication for arthritis showed that both the herb and the prescription drug had similar pain relieving effects.
However, significantly fewer side effects from devil’s claw were reported.
The way in which devil’s claw works to reduce inflammation is not clear, however. The herb does not appear to have the same mechanism of action as other anti-inflammatory agents that are typically used to treat arthritis and other kinds of pain.
Nonetheless, devil’s claw remains a popular herbal remedy, not only for arthritis but for other conditions as well. Devil’s claw has been used as an appetite stimulant and digestive aid, and it may also be useful in treating peptic ulcers.
Dosage and Formats
Devil’s claw is available in tinctures, powdered form, liquid extracts, capsules, and as a dried herb or tea. Standardized products should contain 3% iridoid glycosides, the active ingredients in devil’s claw.
The recommended form and dosage for treating arthritis is equivalent to 750 mg of dried herb taken three times per day. For digestive disorders and loss of appetite, devil’s claw can be taken as a strong tea made by boiling a teaspoon of dried, chopped root or powder in two cups of water for five minutes. The tea can be taken with meals up to three times per day.
Devil’s Claw Side Effects and Drug Interactions
Like many herbs, devil’s claw appears to be a blood thinner. Therefore, people who take anticoagulant medications should use it with caution to reduce the risk of increased bleeding.
There is little information about the side effects of devil’s claw, although headaches, stomach upset and ringing in the ears have been reported in some cases. Because it is a relatively new herbal remedy to people in many parts of the world, it should be used with caution until more information about side effects becomes available.
In addition, as with many herbs, pregnant or lactating women should not take devil’s claw.