Oplopanax horridus (generic name)
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Adults (over 18 years old)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for devil's club. Decoctions, tinctures, and infusions have all been used. Traditionally, 15-30 drops three times daily of tincture (fresh 1:2, dry 1:5, both 60% alcohol), or 1-3 fluid ounces three times daily of cold infusion has been used.
For blood sugar lowering effects, 1.4-1.6 milliliters of an aqueous extract per pound of body weight has been used. For weight gain, colds, and other illnesses, 125 milliliters before meals has been used.
Devil's club raw inner bark has also been chewed and spit on wounds for analgesia (pain relief), or laid in strips over a fracture to help with pain and swelling. The inner bark may also be dried, rubbed to a pulp and put on wounds to reduce infection. An ointment has also been made by burning the stems and mixing the ashes with grease to alleviate swellings.
Children (under 18 years old)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for devil's club in children.
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.
Side Effects and Warnings
The American Herbal Products Association lists devil's club as Class 1, or "Herbs which can be safely consumed when used appropriately," though a duration of safe use is not specified. Devil's club is not listed by the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) as generally recognized as safe (GRAS).
Chronic ingestion of a devil's club infusion may cause too much weight gain. The spines on the stems and leaves have been known to cause a topical allergic reaction. Diarrhea has occurred in one patient taking an aqueous extract of inner root bark.
Devil's club may also lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes (high blood sugar) or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Serum glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
Devil's club is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence. Devil's club may expel afterbirth and start post-partum menstrual flow.
Interactions with Drugs
Devil's club may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar. Patients taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
Interactions with Herbs & Dietary Supplements
Devil's club may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.