Devil’s Claw: Benefits, Side Effects and Dosage

Dosage and Administration of Devil’s Claw

The dosage depends upon the individual and their condition. However, it is generally recommended to use 1 gram per day. The dose may vary depending on your body weight and other factors such as age, gender, medical conditions or previous treatment with drugs. You must have a good understanding of the effects of devil’s claw before taking it because there are no guarantees that you will not experience side effects.

Side Effects of Devil’s Claw

There are no known side effects from using devil’s claw. There are some reports that suggest that there might be a slight increase in blood pressure when taking devil’s claw. These reports do not mean that you will suffer from high blood pressure, but they indicate that the effect is temporary and should not cause any problems if used according to instructions. Some people report feeling tired after taking devil’s claw. This could be due to the fact that they took too much of it.

If you feel sleepy, then you need to stop taking devil’s claw immediately.

Benefits of Devil’s Claw

It is believed that devil’s claw helps in treating various diseases and disorders including cancer, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and many others. It has been reported that it improves circulation and reduces inflammation in the body. Other benefits include improving memory function, reducing fatigue and increasing energy levels.

How to Use Devil’s Claw

In the ancient times, Native Americans chewed devil’s claw root to treat stomach pain. The root can be dried and stored for later use. It can be ingested in the form of capsules or tablets. For topical use, it can be used in the form of balm or cream. The effects of the dried root may not be as powerful as that of the fresh one.


You must not use devil’s claw during pregnancy or if you are allergic to it. If you suffer from any medical conditions such as asthma, high blood pressure, water retention, glaucoma or other heart disease, then you must not use devil’s claw. It is also not suitable for children or adolescents. You must discuss the use of devil’s claw with your doctor before using it so that they can rule out any contraindication.

Before using devil’s claw, speak to your doctor about the benefits and side effects of this herbal medicine. If you are allergic to plants of the same family such as cashews, you are likely to experience allergic reactions when using devil’s claw.

The information presented is not a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist before using alternative medicines or supplements.

How does it feel when you are in pain? Does it prevent you from doing even the simplest of things in life?

If so, you are not alone. A lot of people suffer from chronic pain, which impedes every day life. Many are left with expensive medical bills and a dependency on pharmaceutical drugs that don’t even help that much – Some turn to prescription opioids for relief. Opioid medication comes with a risk of addiction and abuse among other serious side effects. Fortunately, there are a variety of natural ways to manage pain. One such natural alternative is devil’s claw.

Devil’s Claw as Pain Relief

Devil’s claw has been used as an herbal medicine for centuries in parts of Africa and Europe. It has recently grown in popularity in the United States for its potential benefits as a pain reliever.

Research shows that devil’s claw’s active ingredients, harpagoside and helenalin, reduce pain by blocking the receptors that cause pain and inflammation. It acts similarly to prescription NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen, but without the same level of adverse effects. (1)

Devil’s Claw for Arthritis

Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in joints. There are over 100 types of arthritis with the most common ones being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is caused by “wear and tear” on your joints and usually affects weight bearing joints such as the knees and hips. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes chronic inflammation in your joints. Both forms of arthritis cause severe pain and swelling that limits your movement. (2)

Many people with arthritis take over the counter or prescription pain relievers to get temporary relief from their pain. NSAIDs like ibuprofen are the most commonly used medication to treat arthritis and other types of pain. (3) Ibuprofen and other NSAID’s can cause side effects such as stomach ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, and kidney issues. Many people stop taking them before their prescription is finished because of the negative side effects. These drugs also do not provide permanent relief from pain and inflammation.


The effects of devil’s claw on arthritis have been studied in several clinical trials. These studies support that devil’s claw can decrease pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. The recommended dosage in most studies is 300mg of a devil’s claw extract twice daily. (5, 6, 7)

Devil’s Claw for Back Pain

Back pain is a very common reason people seek medical care. Chronic back pain affects 9 out of 10 people at some point in their life and approximately 80% of the population will experience back pain at least once in their lifetime. (8)

Low back pain is the fifth most common reason for doctor visits in the United States. (9) The most common types of back pain are due to muscular pain (myalgia) or skeletal problems (osteochondrosis). Many cases of chronic back pain have no specific cause and are classified as non-specific chronic low back pain (NSCLBP). NSCLBP is often caused by an accidental injury but the pain persists even after wounds have healed. (10)

The cause of back pain is often hard to determine since many conditions can cause similar symptoms. The most common causes of back pain are injuries, spinal arthritis, herniated disks, and bone tumors. (11) There are many non-prescription and prescription drugs that can relieve the pain and inflammation of these conditions. Analgesics such as acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen, are some of the most popular over the counter medications. They can relieve pain by reducing inflammation and lowering a person’s temperature.


NSCLBP is usually treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s). This class of drugs blocks the production of prostaglandins, hormone-like compounds that promote inflammation, fever, and pain. Aspirin and ibuprofen are NSAID’s that are often used to treat back pain. These drugs are useful for treating the pain of myalgia and osteochondrosis but are less effective against back pain caused by arthritis. (13)

NSAID’s can cause stomach ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, heart failure, and liver damage when used for a long time. In addition, long-term use of these drugs has been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. (14)

Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chili peppers and has been used for treating the intense burning pain of peripheral neuropathy, a type of nerve pain that’s often caused by diabetes or injury. A topical cream containing capsaicin is FDA-approved for treating the pain of peripheral neuropathy. (15) A dental paste containing capsaicin is also FDA-approved for treating the pain of gum disease. (16)

Capsaicin produces its therapeutic effects by depleting the body of substance P, a chemical that transmits pain impulses to the brain. High levels of substance P have been found in patients with neuropathic pain, especially in cases caused by diabetes. (17)

The topical cream containing capsaicin is marketed under several brand names including Qutenza, Zostrix and Capzasin-P. The dental paste is sold as Zilvanoid. (18)

Arthritis Arthritis involves inflammation of the joints. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis involves wear and tear to the joints while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks its own tissues. Both forms of arthritis can cause chronic pain that often decreases a person’s quality of life. There is no cure for arthritis but the symptoms can be treated.

Learn more about arthritis

Over-the-counter (OTC) nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a popular and effective treatment for pain caused by a variety of disorders. These drugs block the effects of prostaglandins, a class of chemicals that promote inflammation and pain. (2)

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can also be used to treat inflammation and pain caused by arthritis. This drug does not reduce inflammation; rather it blocks the transmission of nerve impulses that carry pain signals to the brain. (3)

Prescription-strength NSAIDs and acetaminophen are also available. (4)

In 2013 the FDA approved a new prescription medication for treating arthritis pain called OTEZLA (apremilast). (5) OTEZLA is an inhibitor that decreases the activity of a type of enzyme known as a phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4). By inhibiting PDE4, OTEZLA is thought to block the body’s inflammatory response.

In addition to relieving the pain of arthritis, OTEZLA has been proven to reduce the risk of osteoporosis in patients with rheumatoid arthritis who are taking anti-rheumatic medications. (6)

In October 2014 the FDA approved a new drug for treating osteoarthritis based on bortezomib, a drug that’s normally used as part of a chemotherapy regimen for treating multiple myeloma, a form of cancer. (9) Bortezomib works by inhibiting a type of enzyme known as a proteasome inhibitor. Similar to previous drugs that work by this mechanism, bortezomib has been shown in clinical trials to help with the pain and swelling of osteoarthritis.

A new class of drugs known as calcilytic agents are being developed for treating arthritis. One such agent, lityrosine (LTS-001), is currently in phase 3 clinical trials. (10)

Lityrosine works by increasing the amount of calcium found in the fluid around bones and cartilage. This increased amount of calcium is thought to rebuild damaged areas of bone and cartilage. In phase 2 clinical trials, lityrosine was shown to be effective for treating osteoarthritis and did not exhibit any serious side effects.

New Treatment For Arthritis Is In The Pipeline.

There is a new form of treatment for rheumatoid arthritis based on the same concept as autologous transfusion. (7) Instead of a blood transfusion, this treatment involves drawing platelets from the patient’s blood. The platelets are then injected back into the patient at a high enough dosage to fight inflammation. This concept is known as platelet rich plasma therapy.

You see, even the blood of the US president is not so sacred that it cannot be bought and sold. (

And we all know the truth about that, don’t we?

It was not the president that bought it, but rather the Kosher Nostra. And you can buy anything when you’re willing to bankrupt yourself!)

“Cancer In Young People Is Up Despite Longer Life Expectancy For All” , reports The Huffington Post.  And indeed, childhood cancers have been on a dramatic rise since the late 1800’s.

But why?

Here’s one possibility that I have come up with:

Pesticides. (No, Monsanto is not killing our children. That’s just silly.)

You see, while the majority of cancer research focuses on “clean living” and lifestyle factors (smoking, obesity, pollution, etc), there are other factors at play. Namely, the rise in use of pesticides starting in the late 1800’s and continuing to today.

A well-known cause of cancer is radiation. But radiation is only one of several causes.

Sources & references used in this article:

Devil’s claw extract as an example of the effectiveness of herbal analgesics by S Chrubasik – Der Orthopade, 2004 –

Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) as a Treatment for Osteoarthritis: A Review of Efficacy and Safety by S Brien, GT Lewith, G McGregor – … and Complementary Medicine, 2006 –

Effectiveness and safety of Devil’s Claw tablets in patients with general rheumatic disorders by M Warnock, D McBean, A Suter, J Tan… – … Journal Devoted to …, 2007 – Wiley Online Library

The use of glucosamine, devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens), and acupuncture as complementary and alternative treatments for osteoarthritis by M Sanders, O Grundmann – Alternative Medicine Review, 2011 –