Health / 16.12.2014

What it does… devil’s claw

By Healthy Magazine
Pain in the knees or hips? Chronic indigestion? This distinctive looking herb helps with both

101 Devils claw

What is it?

A native South African herb that gets its name from the spiky hooks that cover its fruits. Devil’s claw contains many beneficial nutrients, including flavonoids and antioxidants, and has anti-inflammatory properties.

What does it do?

Relieves osteoarthritis: Many studies show devil’s claw reduces the pain associated with osteoarthritis. French studies have shown it to be as effective as pain-relieving drugs and some people have reported increased mobility after using the herbal extract.

Eases lower back pain: A German study found that harpagoside, a key active ingredient of devil’s claw, benefited those with rheumatic disease affecting lower back, hip and knee.

Boosts digestion: The harpagoside ingredient is also useful for digestive disorders such as indigestion, sluggishness and loss of appetite.

Treats ulcers and boils: Anecdotal evidence suggests topical use may help treat these skin conditions.

When do I need it?

Whenever joint or back pain strikes, or if you’re diagnosed with osteoarthritis – wear and tear of the joints.

How do I get it?

The herb is commonly available in tablet and capsule form – a typical dose is generally once or twice a day. For topical application to painful joints, it’s also available as a tincture, cream or gel. You can also take devil’s claw in anti-inflammatory teas, where it’s often used as an ingredient and combined with ginger.

Be careful if…

Don’t take devil’s claw if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. People on anti-coagulants, or with heart conditions or blood pressure problems should steer clear, too. Devil’s claw can increase gastric and bile secretions – so avoid if you have gallstones or peptic ulcer. It may also lower blood sugar, so should only be used under medical supervision in those with diabetes.

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What it does... devil's claw
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What it does... devil's claw
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Pain in the knees or hips? Chronic indigestion? Try devil's claw – this distinctive looking herb helps with both.
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Healthy Magazine
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