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.

What it does... devil's claw
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What it does... devil's claw
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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