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Devil's Claw

Plant Part Used



Devil’s claw has a number of traditional uses, including the support of a healthy liver and kidneys. Most recent research has focused on its anti-inflammatory properties, which may have applications for arthritis sufferers. A standardized extract of devil’s claw is derived from the tubers of the plant.

Interactions and Depletions


Dosage Info

Dosage Range

100-200mg (standardized extract) daily.

Infusion: 3 times a day using 4.5 grams of herb to 300 ml water steeped 8 hours. (1)

Most Common Dosage

100mg (standardized extract), 2 times a day.

Infusion: 3 times a day using 4.5 grams of herb to 300 ml water steeped 8 hours.


[span class=doc]Standardization represents the complete body of information and controls that serve to enhance the batch to batch consistency of a botanical product, including but not limited to the presence of a marker compound at a defined level or within a defined range.[/span]

The most current available medical and scientific literature indicates that this dietary supplement should be standardized to 5% harpagoside (iridoid glycoside) per dose.

Reported Uses

Researchers have suggested that the key components of devil’s claw may have a significant anti-inflammatory function. (2) , (3) , (4) One study even suggested that devil’s claw has effects similar to a type of conventional anti-inflammatory medication. (5) Because of these benefits, devil’s claw has been used to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. (6) However, research indicates that the remedy is better suited to the treatment of chronic, rather than acute, symptoms. (7)

A trial involving 122 patients with arthritis of the hip and/or the knee were given either devil's claw or diacerhein. Diacerhein is a member of a drug class used for osteoarthritis in Europe and is not available in the United States. Pain levels, joint function, and mobility as well as the use of additional medications for pain and inflammation were evaluated. At the end of the 4 month trial, the authors concluded that devil's claw and diacerhein were equally effective in treating osteoarthritis of the hip or knee. (8)

Additional research on devil’s claw suggests that it may also support healthy digestion and increased gallbladder function. (9) , (10)

Toxicities & Precautions


[span class=alert]Be sure to tell your pharmacist, doctor, or other health care providers about any dietary supplements you are taking. There may be a potential for interactions or side effects.[/span]


Toxicity is extremely low and is not seen in recommended doses of this dietary supplement. (11)

If you are planning to have any type of surgery or dental work, stop using this dietary supplement for at least 14 days prior to the procedure.

Health Conditions

If you have gastric, peptic or duodenal ulcers, do not use this dietary supplement. If you have a bleeding disorder other than those mentioned talk to your doctor before taking this dietary supplement.

Pregnancy/ Breast Feeding

This dietary supplement should not be used in pregnant women. (12)

This dietary supplement should not be used if you are breast-feeding an infant without first consulting a physician. (13)

Age Limitations

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects specifically related to the use of this dietary supplement in children. Since young children may have undiagnosed allergies or medical conditions, this dietary supplement should not be used in children under 10 years of age unless recommended by a physician.


  1. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd ed. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 2000:248.
  2. Erdos A, et al. Contribution to the Pharmacology and Toxicology of Different Extracts as Well as the Harpagosid from Harpagophytum procumbens DC. Planta Medica. 1978;34:97.
  3. View Abstract: Chrubasik S, 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 Anaesthesiol. Feb1999; 16(2):118-29.
  4. View Abstract: Lanhers MC, et al. Anti-inflammatory and Analgesic Effects of an Aqueous Extract of Harpagophytum procumbens. Planta Medica. 1992;58(2):117-23.
  5. Eichler O, et al. Antiphlogistic, Analgesic and Spasmolytic Effect of Harpagoside, a Glycoside from the Root of Harpagophytum procumbens DC. Arzneim-Forsch/Drug Res. Jan1970;20(1):107-09.
  6. View Abstract: Wegener T, Lupke NP. Treatment of patients with arthrosis of hip or knee with an aqueous extract of devil's claw (Harpagophytum procumbens DC.). Phytother Res. Dec2003;17(10):1165-72.
  7. Newall CA, et al. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press; 1996:98-100.
  8. View Abstract: Leblan D, Chantre P, Fournie B. Harpagophytum procumbens in the Teatment of Knee and Hip Osteoarthritis. Four-month Results of a Prospective, Multicenter, Double-blind Trial Versus Diacerhein. Joint Bone Spine. 2000;67(5):462-7.
  9. Bradley P, ed. British Herbal Compendium. Bournemouth: British Herbal Medicine Association; 1992:78-80.
  10. View Abstract: Occhiuto F, et al. A Drug Used in Traditional Medicine: Harpagophytum procumbens DC. IV. Effects on Some Isolated Muscle Preparations. J Ethnopharmacology. 1985;13:201-08.
  11. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd ed. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 2000:248.
  12. Newall CA, et al. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press; 1996:98-100.
  13. Newall CA, et al. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press; 1996:98-100.








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