Devil's Claw (Harpagophytum Procumbens)

Devil's Claw Benefits

Devil's claw is approved as a nonprescription medicine by the German Commission E and is used to relieve arthritis, lower back, knee and hip pain. It is also used to treat a number of ailments including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, bursitis, tendonitis, loss of appetite and digestive disorders.

Great news for pain sufferers who have grown dependent on pain killers for relief: recently published double blind studies have shown that Devil's Claw can relieve pain from arthritis in as little as ten days of use1, lower back, knee and hip pain included. It is also used to treat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, bursitis, tendonitis and soft tissue pain (muscle aches).

Since studies have shown no side effects, even at very high doses, Devil's claw can be an alternative for those taking over-the-counter pain medications such as Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen, which can cause liver and stomach problems. Devil's claw can be a healthier approach to treating joint pain.

Devil's Claw has been a popular anti-inflammatory and arthritis treatment since is was first discovered in South Africa by European colonists in the 18th century. It is still quite common in Europe today but is not well known in the U.S.

Devil's claw is approved as a nonprescription medicine by the German Commission E, an expert panel of physicians and pharmacists who advise Germany's counterpart of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Approved uses of devil's claw include loss of appetite, digestive disorders, and "degenerative disorders of the locomotor system" (to treat pain and inflammation in the joints).

A new clinical study shows that a traditional African medicinal herb may reduce pain associated with osteoarthritis as effectively as some conventional drugs. In a randomized, double-blind, parallel group study conducted in France, the patients received either capsules containing the herb devil's claw or a pharmaceutical drug. Pain measurements of all patients indicated that those taking the herb and the drug experienced similar benefits. However, the study also showed that patients taking the herb experienced significantly fewer adverse side effects than those taking the drug.

Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council, a nonprofit research and education organization, "At least two previous clinical trials on devil's claw have supported its use as an aid in treating lower back pain and rheumatic conditions. This study is significant in that it is the first to show the potential benefits of devil's claw for osteoarthritis."

_1. ESCOP monograph. Fascicule 2: Harpagophyti radix (Devil's Claw) Exeter, UK: European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy. Double blind study, various types of arthritis. Conclusion: significant pain relief in 10 days of treatment. 2. Chrubasik S., et al Effectiveness of Harpagophyti radix (Devil's Claw) in treatment of acute low back pain. Phytomedicine 3(1). 1996 Double blind study of soft tissue pain (muscles, tendons) Conclusion: Soft tissue pain relieved. _

Devil's Claw Herb Notes / Side Effects

Latin Names

Harpagophytum procumbens, Harpagophyti radix, Uncaria procumbens

Common Names

Devil's Claw, Grapple Plant, Wood Spider, Harpago, Sengaparile (Tswana), Duiwelsklou (Afrikaans)


moderately anti-inflammatory, Improves digestion. choleretic, antiphlogistic, and mild analgesic.


Loss of appetite, supportive therapy of degenerative disorders of the locomotor system. Gastric and duodenal ulcers, Dyspepsia, Peptic ulcers, heartburn, arthroses, tendonitis, indigestion, blood diseases, headache, allergies, lumbago, neuralgia, and fever, and externally for sores, ulcer, boils, and skin lesions. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, bursitis, tendonitis and soft tissue pain (muscle aches).

There appears to be a risk of increased bleeding when devil's claw is taken together with anticoagulant drugs (blood-thinners), such as warfarin (coumadin) and heparin.

Don't take devil's claw during pregnancy or while breast-feeding.

Consult your doctor before taking it if you have ulcers, gallstones, or a heart problem.

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Used This Herb? How Would You Rate It?

Current User Rating 6.5/10 Based On 225 Votes

Has Devil's Claw Worked For You?

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Bettye Tyndall 's avatar  Bettye Tyndall 15/09/2015 22:26

I have osteoarthritis in my knees and sciatic nerve with much pain with lower back and hip pain. I took 2 Devils claw capsules and have no pain. Just started today. Will continue taking daily.

Hairyberrykev 's avatar  Hairyberrykev 27/11/2011 22:46

This is a fabulous herb that helps me treat symptoms of sore joints. When I was younger I fell down a double compartment and have never been the same since.

It does not give me the usual diarrhea I have when taking all the normal joint medicines and mineral oils that are a complete mess.

Try it with birdseed and goji berries!

2 people liked this.
Judith Forbes 's avatar  Judith Forbes 26/02/2011 15:21

Yes it does work for me, I was having great difficulty stooping or kneeling, thanks to Devil's Claw, still having a bit of pain, but it is getting better and I'm still taking the tablets, it is superb.......... I really love it.

2 people liked this.
Janewa 's avatar  Janewa 20/12/2010 15:57

I had Nuss surgery 2.5 years ago and since then I have pain related to metal bars. Uncontrolled it gets so bad that I end up at emergency and only medication that can stop it is morphine. I have been taking Devil's claw for last 1.5 year and it is amazing. It keeps my pain at the level that allows me to function. At the same time it does not have side effects as other over the counter antiinflamatoty (for example advil or tylenol).

2 people liked this.
Malpasspatricia 's avatar  Malpasspatricia 15/10/2010 14:10

Works for me. I suffer from mild joint pain, but also some kind of nerve pain, as yet undiagnosed. Awaiting a test for that. Will let you know more, after the test. All I know is that Devil's Claw lessens the pain and when I stop taking it, the pain returns. Prescription drugs badly affect my stomach, as I also have a Hiatus hernia. So this herb has been the best option so far.

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Ginger Tolentinas 's avatar  Ginger Tolentinas 21/01/2011 02:23

Based on my research the Devil's Claw also known as Wood Spider at the scientific name of Harpagophytum procumbens, this plant is have two active ingredients in Devil's Claw are harpagoside and beta-sitosterol. It is claimed that these possess anti-inflammatory properties. The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia recognises Devil's Claw as having analgesic, sedative and diuretic properties. Most studies involve chronic use rather than acute treatment of pain.

Warm Regards,
Ginger Tolentinas
<a href="">Exeter Hotels</a>

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