Devil's claw

Harpagophytum procumbers, Pedaliaceae. The rhizome is the part of the plant used.

The roots are grown in very arid regions and are collected at the end of the rainy season.

Functions of devil's claw

Devils' claw has been effective in the treatment of some cases of arthritis. The action seems to be due to the presence of a glycoside called harpagoside that reduces inflammation in the joints. However it is not always effective, but is worth considering in cases where there is inflammation with pain. Devil's claw also assists in stimulating and cleansing the liver and gall bladder and will therefore assist removing toxins from the body. It can be considered in rheumatic and other joint diseases and inflammation of connective tissue, such as:

  • myalgia,
  • fibrositis,
  • tendonitis.

It may be combined with meadowsweet and celery seed in the treatment of arthritis.

Notes on devil's claw

  • If you have gallstones consult your health professional before taking.
  • Do not use if you have gastric or duodenal ulcers.


Decoction: put 1/2 to 1 teaspoonful of the rhizome in a cup of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes. This should be taken three times per day. It should be continued for at least one month.

Tincture: take 1-2 ml of the tincture three times per day.


Duke, J. A. 2000, Anti-aging Prescriptions. Rodale.

Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

Mills, S. Y. 1989, The A-Z of Modern Herbalism: A Comprehensive Guide to Practical Herbal Therapy. Thorson.




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