Devil's Clawt: Promotes Healthy Bones
• May Help Treat Digestive Problems
• May Reduce Pain Associated Wtih Osteoarthritis
• May Help Relieve Low Back and Neck Pain
What is Devils Claw?
Natives have long used the plant to treat digestive problems, rheumatism, arthritis, and malaria. It was discovered by a German scientist who found it contained the same properties as the classical drug, Phenybutazone, used to treat arthritis, but without any side effects. According to Chinese medicine, Devil's Claw is both Yin and Yang, which is rare for herbs and is good for circulation and the heart. Extracts of the secondary tubers of Devil's Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) are recommended for the supportive treatment of degenerative painful rheumatism. Devil's claw is also used externally as an ointment to treat skin rashes and wounds.
What does Devil's Claw do?
Osteoarthritis: Several studies have found that taking devil's claw for 8 - 12 weeks may reduce pain and improves physical functioning in people with osteoarthritis. One 4-month study of 122 people with knee and hip osteoarthritis compared devil' s claw and a leading European medication for pain relief. The people who took devil' s claw had as much pain relief as the people who took the medication, and those who took devil' s claw had fewer side effects and needed fewer pain relievers throughout the study.
An analysis of 14 studies using devil' s claw to treat arthritis found that the higher quality studies showed that devil' s claw may provide relief for joint pain. And a review of 12 studies using devil' s claw for arthritis or low back pain found that devil' s claw was at least moderately effective for arthritis of the spine, hip, and knee.
Back and neck pain: Although many of the studies have been small and not well designed, there is some evidence that devil's claw may help relieve low back and neck pain. In a small study of 63 people with mild-to-moderate back, neck, or shoulder pain, taking a standardized extract of devil' s claw for 4 weeks provided moderate relief from muscle pain. In a larger study of 197 men and women with chronic low back pain, those who took devil' s claw every day for a month said they had less pain and needed fewer painkillers than those who received placebo.
Another study compared 38 people who took devil' s claw with 35 people who took the pain reliever rofecoxib (Vioxx), for up to 54 weeks. Results indicated that devil's claw worked as well as Vioxx to relieve pain. Vioxx has been taken off the market because it increased the risk of heart problems.