devil's claw (generic name)
- Auto Immune Conditions
- Bladder & Kidney Health
- Brain & Nervous System
- Care Transitions
- Dental Health
- Emotional Health
- Eye Health
- Falls Prevention
- Financial Planning
- General Safety
- Health Care Basics
- Healthy Living
- Hearing Loss
- Heart Health
- High Blood Pressure
- Life Transitions
- Lung Health
- Men's Health
- Nutrition & Weight Management
- Pain Management
- Preventive Health
- Sexual Health
- Stomach & Digestive Health
- Stress & Anxiety
- Women's Health
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Adult Dosing (18 years and older)
In general, a liquid extract (1:1 in 25% ethanol) of 0.10-0.25 milliliter three times daily has been used. For appetite loss or stomach discomfort, 1.5 grams daily in decoction or preparations with adequate bitterness has been used. For low back pain or osteoarthritis, 2-9 grams daily of crude extract or equivalent amounts of extract has been used. As tablets, 600 to 1,200 milligrams (standardized to contain 50 to 100 milligrams of harpagoside) by mouth three times per day has been used. For treatment of painful osteoarthritis, treatment for 2-3 months is often recommended. A doctor should be consulted if symptoms continue for longer.
Children (younger than 18 years)
Not recommended in children. The dosing and safety of devil's claw have not been studied thoroughly in children, and safety is not established.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
People with allergies to Harpagophytum procumbens should avoid devil's claw products.
Side Effects and Warnings
At recommended doses, devil's claw is traditionally believed to be well tolerated. Whether use of devil's claw for longer than 3-4 months is safe or effective is unknown.
There are reports of headache, ringing in the ears, loss of taste and appetite, gastrointestinal upset, and diarrhea in those taking this herb. Devil's claw may affect levels of acid in the gastrointestinal tract and should be avoided by people with gastric (stomach) or duodenal (intestinal) ulcers. Devil's claw should be used cautiously in patients with gallstones.
Devil's claw may change the rate and force of heartbeats (chronotropic and inotropic effects). Individuals with heart disease or arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) should consult their cardiologist or primary care physician before taking devil's claw.
In theory, devil's claw may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Serum glucose levels may need to be monitored by a healthcare provider, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
In theory, devil's claw may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary. Patients may need to stop taking devil's claw before some surgeries, and should discuss this with their primary healthcare provider.
Devil's claw products may be contaminated with other herbs, pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, or drugs.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Devil's claw may stimulate contractions of the uterus and cannot be recommended during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Patients should be aware that many tinctures contain high levels of alcohol and should be avoided during pregnancy.