devil claw pain relief

How Devil’s Claw can be used to treat inflammation and joint pains

The Devil’s Claw is also known by the name of Harpagophytum Procumbens, which is a root plant found in Southern Africa. It has become more popular recently and used in treating inflammation of the musculoskeletal system, and back pain. The medicinal herb is also known by the names of wood spider, harpago and grapple plant.

The extracts of the Devil’s Claw, primarily taken from the plant’s secondary roots and is shaped like a claw, hence its name is the Devil’s Claw.

What are the signs of inflammation?

Inflammation occurs when the body responds to environmental hazards and the body’s system responds by releasing antigens to fight infection within the body. The usual signs of inflammation are usually when the affected area looks red, swollen, or painful with a loss of normal function.

How Devil’s Claw can be used to treat pain

The Devil’s Claw has been traditionally used by native African locals to treat pain and numb painful areas. The medicinal plant is now often extracted to treat joint disease such as osteoarthritis and the pain associated with it. The a major chemical found in Devils’ Claws are H procumbens, as well as iridoid glycosides, sugars, triterpenoids, phytosterol, and aromatic acids. The presence of harpagoside in this herbal product gives it its inflammatory propertiesin. Inflammation is inhibited when Harpagoside interacts with both cyclo-oxygenase (COX) and lipoxygenase-mediated pathways of arachidonic acid cascade as well as with cytokine release within the body.

Benefits of Devil’s Claw

Devil’s Claw can be used to help relieve painful and stiff joints, and can be used for analgesic and anti-inflammatory purposes, to help reduce pain and stiffness that often comes with inflammation.

In the Journal of Rheumatology (2002), a study compared the effects of Devils Claw between users and non-users of Devils Claw. A study found that the comparison of two randomized placebo controlled trials demonstrated the effectiveness of Devils Claw (Harpagophytum Procumbens). The group that had more severe pain in their lumbar region reported that they experienced less pain after the application of Devils Claw in gel form felt that their pain had improved, than the control group who did not receive the Devils Claw extract.

Side Effects

However, the use of Devils Claw or ingestion may not be suitable for women who are pregnant, and prolonged oral ingestion of devils claw could lead to diarrhea, headaches, indigestion problems, and alter blood pressure levels. Due to the tendencies for devil’s claw to increase the production of stomach acids, taking devil’s claw in oral form may be unsuitable for people with stomach ulcers. Other case studies have shown that taking Devils Claw orally could increase blood pressure levels, as it was found that a woman with no previous history of high blood pressure had higher pressure levels after taking the tablets. It may also be unsuitable for pregnant women.

Summary of Devil’s Claw benefits

  • Devil’s Claw may be beneficial for alleviating arthritic pain for people with arthritis.
  • Can help with gout, muscle pain (myalgia), and back pain such as lumbar areas that are experiencing stiffness and tenderness.
  • Though precautions must be taken especially if taken orally as not always suitable for every person. Pregnant women must avoid usage.

References: Chrubasik et al. (2002). Effectiveness of devil’s claw for osteoarthritis. Rheumatology, 41(11), 1332-1333.