Devilís Claw

Also known as wood spider and grapple plant, devilís claw is safe for dogs and is a type of root native to southern Africa. Named for the small hook-like appendages on its fruit, devil's claw is chocked full of a type of glycoside that normalizes soreness, called a harpagoside. Africans have long-used this root for medicinal purposes, including the treatment of fever, arthritis, skin conditions, as well as many forms of digestive upset. Brought to Europe in the early part of the 20th century, this powerful herb has been traditionally used as a bitter digestive stimulant, as well as a pain reliever.

Reported health benefits:
Devilís claw is known for its powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Chemically composed of several important plant phytosterols, phenolic acids and antioxidant-rich flavonoids, several clinical studies show that Devilís claw can benefit users suffering from osteoarthritis and back pain. A recent study of Devil's claw showed that 12-weeks of dosage led to the reduction of pain and swelling in patients by nearly 25%, with little to no adverse side effects.

Other purported medicinal uses of the herb include:

  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Muscle and joint inflammation
  • Back and neck pain
  • General pain reliever
  • Rheumatoid and osteoarthritis
  • Tendinitis

Mechanism of Action
Devilís claw contains large amounts of harpagoside, a chemical related for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect. Devils claw also has powerful antioxidant effects through its ability to scavenge free-radicals related to inflammation and pain.

Promising Research on Devilís Claw
A German study found that there was a significant reduction in pain in individuals taking devil's claw in regard to back, neck, and shoulder pain.

In the 4-week study, 31 people took 480 mg twice a day and 32 people took a placebo. The results showed there was a significant reduction in pain in the people taking devil's claw compared to the placebo group.

The Journal of Rheumatology found that 60 mg harpagosides reduced acute exacerbation of lower back pain, and that the herb was as effective as other pharmaceutical options.

A study published in the journal Joint Bone Spine found that devil's claw extract was as effective as the osteoarthritis drug, diacerhein, in its ability to relieve pain, increase mobility, and lower the need for other anti-inflammatory and analgesic medicines.

Do not use if pregnant or breast-feeding, as this herb is related to uterine contraction. Devil's claw should not be used by dogs with gastric or duodenal ulcers, gallstones, or diabetes. Consult a veterinarian if dog is taking any prescription medication, as there may be adverse side-effects of the combination.

Adverse Reactions
Rare side effects include diarrhea, possible bradycardia in elevated amounts, and dyspepsia. Devil's claw may reduce efficacy of antacids and H2 antagonists. May also interfere with beta blockers and anticoagulants.

Wegener T, Lupke NP. Treatment of patients with arthrosis of hip or knee with an aqueous extract of devil's claw (Harpagophytum procumbens DC.). Phytother Res. 2003 Dec;17(10):1165-72.

Newall CA, et al.Herbal Medicine: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 1996.

Langmead L, et al. Antioxidant effects of herbal therapies used by patients with inflammatory bowel disease: an in vitro study. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2002;16:197-205.

Gagnier JJ, van Tulder MW, Berman B, et al. Herbal medicine for low back pain. Spine 2007;32(1):82-92.

Chrubasik S et al. "A randomized double-blind pilot study comparing Doloteffin and Vioxx in the treatment of low back pain." Rheumatology (Oxford). 42.1 (2003):141-8.

Dougados M et al. "Evaluation of the structure-modifying effects of diacerein in hip osteoarthritis: ECHODIAH, a three-year, placebo-controlled trial. Evaluation of the Chondromodulating Effect of Diacerein in OA of the Hip." Arthritis and Rheumatism. 44.11 (2001):2539-47.

- Ingredient used in Human formula

- Ingredient used in Canine formula