Devil's Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens)
Devil?s claw is a native herb of southern Africa. Traditionally, Devil?s claw has been used in the management of Inflammation.
Devil?s claw has anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, analgesic, sedative and diuretic properties. The herb is traditionally used in the management of muscle Pain and Inflammation.
Part of the plant used: ROOT.
Herb powder 0.1-0.25g three times daily.
Devils claw has been used for Arthritis, Gout, muscle Pain and forms of muscular rheumatism, lower back pain and rheumatic disease in general. It also improves appetite and relieves mild stomach upset.
Studies on devil?s claw have shown that extracts of this herb contain anti-inflammatory and pain-killing properties (1-3). However, this needs to be studied further.
Irregular Heart beats:
Devil?s claw extracts have reduced irregular heartbeats caused by adrenaline and some heart drugs (4,5).
Studies on devil?s claw have shown that the harpagoside fraction calms the contractions in the gut caused by barium chloride (used for X-rays of the Digestive System) and acetylcholine (the body?s own chemical messenger which stimulates the nerves) (6).
Studies have confirmed that devil?s claw has weak anti-fungal properties (7).
More studies need to be conducted on devil's claw to confirm its use for Arthritis (8,9,10).
SAFETY AND PRECAUTIONS
One arthritic patient experienced a Headache in the morning, Tinnitus (ringing in the ears), anorexia and a loss of taste whilst taking devil?s claw. No side effects were reported by other patients taking devil?s claw.
Pregnant and lactating women should consult with a qualified medical health professional before taking devil?s claw.
Devil?s claw is not suitable for use by children.
INTERACTIONS AND CONTRA-INDICATIONS
Devil?s claw should not be taken by diabetics without the supervision of a qualified health professional (the herb has a hypoglycaemic action - lowers blood sugar).
Devil?s claw is not recommended for use by individuals with cardiac disorders or those on therapy for blood pressure (both high and low).
1. Erd?s A et al. Beitrag zur pharmakologie und toxikologie verschiedener extrakte, sowie des harpagosids aus Harpagophytum procumbens DC. Planta Med, 34:97-108, 1978.
2. Lanhers M-C et al. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of an aqueous extract of Harpagophytum procumbens. Planta Med, 58:117-123, 1992.
3. Bhattacharya A. Bhattacharya SK. Antioxidant activity of Harpagophytum procumbens (Devil's claw). Brit. J. of Phytotherapy 5;2: 68-71.
4. Circosta C et al. A drug used in traditional medicine: Harpagophytum procumbens DC. II. Cardiovascular activity. J Ethnopharmacol, 11:259-274, 1984.
5. Costa de Pasquale R et al. A drug used in traditional medicine: Harpagophytum procumbens DC. III. Effects on hyperkinetic ventricular arrhythmias by reperfusion. J Ethnopharmacol, 13:193-199, 1985.
6. Occhiuto F et al. A drug used in traditional medicine Harpagophytum procumbens DC IV. Effects on some isolated muscle preparations. J Ethnopharmacol, 13:201-208, 1985.
7. Gu?rin J-c and R?veill?re H-P. Activit? antifongique d'extraits v?g?taux ? usage th?rapeutique II. ?tude de 40 extraits sur 9 souches fongiques. Ann Pharmaceut Francaises, 43:77-81, 1985.
8. "Herbal Medicines", C A Newall, L A Anderson, J D Phillipson, The Pharmaceutical Press,1996.
9. Lecomte A, et al. Harpagophytum dans l'arthrose: Etude en double insu contre placebo. Le Magazine 15: 27-30, 1992.
10. ESCOP monograph. Fascicule 2: Harpagophyti radix (devil's claw). Exeter, UK: European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy, 1997.