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Devil's Claw

Introduction

Devil’s claw is a plant that grows in Africa. Its root has been used with other supplements to ease pain in joints. It can be taken as a pill, liquid, or powder.

Dosages

500 milligrams 2 to 3 times daily

What Research Shows

May Be Effective

  • Gonarthritis (nflammation of the knee joint) —may ease symptoms A1
  • Low back pain —may ease pain B1-B3

Not Enough Data to Assess

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It may be safe to take devil’s claw for a short time, but gastrointestinal problems may happen. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to take for a long period.D2

Interactions

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse, such as:

  • People taking blood thinners should talk to their doctors before taking devil’s claw. It may increase risk of bleeding.D1
 

References

A. Gonarthritis

A1. Moré M, Gruenwald J, et al. A Rosa canina - Urtica dioica - Harpagophytum procumbens/zeyheri combination significantly reduces gonarthritis symptoms in a randomized, placebo-controlled double-blind study. Planta Med. 2017 Dec;83(18):1384-1391.

B. Low Back Pain

B1. Devil’s claw root: ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding? Prescrire Int. 2013;22(144):296.

B2. Oltean H, Robbins C, et al. Herbal medicine for low-back pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2015:CD004504.

B3. Gagnier JJ, Oltean H, et al. Herbal Medicine for Low Back Pain: A Cochrane Review. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2016 Jan;41(2):116-33.

C. Osteoarthritis

C1. Ameye LG, Chee WS. Osteoarthritis and nutrition. From nutraceuticals to functional foods: a systematic review of the scientific evidence. Arthritis Res Ther. 2006;8(4):R127.

C2. Conrozier T, Mathieu P, et al. A complex of three natural anti-inflammatory agents provides relief of osteoarthritis pain. Altern Ther Health Med. 2014 Winter;20 Suppl 1:32-37.

C3. Del Grossi Moura M, Lopes LC, et al. Oral herbal medicines marketed in Brazil for the treatment of osteoarthritis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Phytother Res. 2017 Nov;31(11):1676-1685.

D. Safety

D1. Heck AM, DeWitt BA, et al. Potential interactions between alternative therapies and warfarin. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2000 Jul 1;57(13):1221-7; quiz 1228-1230. Review.

D2. Vlachojannis J, Roufogalis BD, et al. Systematic review on the safety of Harpagophytum preparations for osteoarthritic and low back pain. Phytother Res. 2008 Feb;22(2):149-152.

Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 5/27/2020