The plant is named after the peculiar claw-like hooks that cover its fruits. It is a native plant of South Africa. It is also known as the "grapple plant".
Standardised extracts are made from the tubers of the plant.
Devil’s claw is often used as part of multi-ingredient products for both arthritic conditions and general gastro-intestinal health.
It is used either alone or in combination with other ingredients for arthritic conditions such as joint inflammation, arthritis, rheumatism, and back pain.
It has been used for many years for gall bladder and liver problems, but research evidence of its effectiveness in these circumstances is not yet confirmed.
Some studies have found it to be more effective than some prescription anti-inflammatory drugs and it doesn’t have their side effects.
The dose depends on the manufacturer’s recommendations, so read the package directions carefully.
The product should contain a standardised extract. Such extracts have 2 to 5% harpagosides (the active part), and one such product has a recommended dose of one capsule taken three times a day.
Side effects are rare and there are no known interactions with prescription medicines.
However, avoid it if you have ulcers or gall stones, and during pregnancy.