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You wouldn’t think that something called Devil’s Claw is beneficial to your wellbeing, but the complementary wellness therapy has long been used in native African medicine. Its fruit is covered with sharp curved spines, hence the name, and Devil’s Claw has been used in a wide range of conditions, such as muscle pains, digestive problems, headaches, fever and skin inflammation.
In the early 1900s, Dr Mehnert, a German pioneer, first noticed the dramatic success of the root tuber of this African herb, and so Devil’s Claw began to gain popularity in Europe. Today, the root tuber is often used in supplements to treat many types of aches and pains. Wellness experts the effectiveness of Devil’s Claw down to it’s content of harpagosides. Research shows that this vital ingredient has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, and so this makes Devil’s Claw a useful remedy for a wide variety of joint conditions.
Back pain can be effectively relieved with Devil’s Claw. According to a study published in the journal Phytotherapy, the most effective dose of the supplement is four 600mg tablets per day. For the study, people with severe, long-term back pain either took this dose or a placebo for four weeks, and those who took the herb experienced a significant reduction in their back pain. However, Devil’s Claw did not seem to benefit those whose back pain had radiated down to their legs.
Another condition which receives monumental relief with Devil’s Claw is arthritis. A clinical trial looked at the effects of the herb on people with moderate, rather than severe, chronic arthritis, giving some participants two 600mg tablets per day over eight weeks, while others received a placebo. The study showed that those who took Devil’s Claw found a greater improvement in their joint pain and spinal mobility than the placebo group.
However, if you have gallstones or stomach acidity, you should not take Devil’s Claw, as the herb stimulates bile action. Yet, as Devil’s Claw does not work in the same way as conventional arthritis medicines do, it will not cause the associated upset stomach. There are actually very few side effects reported for Devil’s Claw, but, as with any supplement, you should consult your doctor before taking it.