Devil’s Claw

(harpagophytum procumbens)

Devil’s claw is a native plant of southern Africa, especially the Kalahari desert, Namibia and the island of Madagascar. The name devil’s claw is derived from the herb’s unusual fruits, which are covered with numerous small claw-like appendages. The secondary storage roots, or tubers, of the plant are used in herbal supplements.

Numerous tribes native to southern Africa have used devil’s claw for a wide variety of conditions, ranging from gastro-intestinal difficulties to arthritic conditions. In Namibia the nomadic tribes use the root as a source of fluid when no water can be found. Devil’s claw has been widely used in Europe as a treatment for arthritis.

What it does

Devils claw contains natural glycoside known as harpagoside and procumbide which are thought to contribute to its potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. These compounds have bitter properties and so this herb is also a digestive stimulant. Devils Claw appears to aid the removal of uric acid which collects round joint tissue causing pain and inflammation.

Potential Uses

Anklyosing spondylitis Osteo arthritis Gout
Rheumatoid arthritis Rheumatism Sprains or strains

Other information

Devils Claw is often used to improve digestion and is helpful for mild indigestion. It may also be of use for other inflammatory conditions such as back pain.


Devils Claw should not be taken if you have severe heartburn, gastritis, peptic or duodenal ulcers.

Do not use in pregnancy or when breastfeeding.

If you are using blood thinning medication or diuretic medication consult your doctor before using devils claw.

This herb may increase the effect of insulin and anti-hypertensives, so check with your doctor before use.

Generally, there are no side effects or contra-indications from using devils claw.


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