Devil’s claw scientifically called Harpagophytum procumbens, is an herb that is native to southern Africa. The roots and tubers of the plant are commonly used to make medicine. This plant got its name because of the small hooks on the plant’s fruit. It has been used for thousands of years in Africa for fever, rheumatoid arthritis, skin conditions, and conditions involving the gallbladder, pancreas, stomach and kidneys.
Devil’s claw can be found in the form of capsules, tinctures, and tea form. For inflammation and pain, devil’s claw is usually taken in capsule form. Some people also apply devil’s claw to the skin for injuries. Clinical trials are generally supportive of its use as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic property.
Many professional herbalists suggest devil’s claw to treat upset stomach, loss of appetite, allergies, and fever. Topical preparations of devil’s claw are also applied to the skin to heal sores, ulcers, boils, and skin lesions. However, there aren’t any scientific studies of devil’s claw to treat these conditions. Devil’s claw has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity. All potential risks or advantages of devil’s claw may not be known. Devil’s claw is also known to act as a digestive stimulant. It has also been used in the treatment of heartburn, and upset stomachs. As part of maintaining a good digestive tract, it has been known to provide help regarding the gall bladder and pancreas.
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. Before taking devil’s claw, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care professional if you have allergies (especially to plants), have any medical condition, or if you take other medicines or other supplements.