Devil’s claw is widely used by herbalists to treat arthritis.
Its anti-inflammatory properties are said to give it the ability to ease aches and stiffness in joints as well as relieve pain. A study in France that compared devil’s claw to a prescription medication for arthritis showed that both the herb and the prescription drug had similar pain relieving effects. However, significantly fewer side effects from devil’s claw were reported.
The way in which devil’s claw works to reduce inflammation is not clear, however. The herb does not appear to have the same mechanism of action as other anti-inflammatory agents that are typically used to treat arthritis and other kinds of pain.
Nonetheless, devil’s claw remains a popular herbal remedy, not only for arthritis but for other conditions as well. Devil’s claw has been used as an appetite stimulant and digestive aid, and it may also be useful in treating peptic ulcers.
Devil’s claw is available in tinctures, powdered form, liquid extracts, capsules, and as a dried herb or tea. Standardized products should contain 3% iridoid glycosides, the active ingredients in devil’s claw.
The recommended form and dosage for treating arthritis is equivalent to 750 mg of dried herb taken three times per day. For digestive disorders and loss of appetite, devil’s claw can be taken as a strong tea made by boiling a teaspoon of dried, chopped root or powder in two cups of water for five minutes. The tea can be taken with meals up to three times per day.
Like many herbs, devil’s claw appears to be a blood thinner. Therefore, people who take anticoagulant medications should use it with caution to reduce the risk of increased bleeding.
There is little information about the side effects of devil’s claw, although headaches, stomach upset and ringing in the ears have been reported in some cases. Because it is a relatively new herbal remedy to people in many parts of the world, it should be used with caution until more information about side effects becomes available. In addition, as with many herbs, pregnant or lactating women should not take devil’s claw.
If you’re interested in experimenting with Devil’s Claw, there are many different formulas available at iHerb.com (don’t forget to use the coupon code FAT259 to get $5 off your first order).