Devil's Claw Side Effects and devil's claw benefits
Devil's Claw supplements, dosage and creams Reformated on August 16, 2011
Devil's Claw, Harpagophylum Procumbens, is a South African plant. Devil's claw thrives in clay or sandy
soils. Devil's Claw root is collected when the rainy season ends. Devil's Claw fruits seem to be covered
with miniature grappling hooks. Synonyms include wood spider and grapple plant. German called it
Devil's Claw roots are traditionally used for various conditions: liver disease, kidney disease, bladder
disease, allergies, arteriosclerosis, gastrointestinal disturbances, menstrual difficulties, neuralgia,
headache, fevers, indigestion, nicotine poisoning, rheumatism and arthritis [1-2]. Dosage forms such as
Devil's Claw tea and Devil's Claw tincture are popular. Devil's Claw creams are also formulated for sores,
ulcers and boils. The Devil's Claw dosage is from about 1.5 to 10 grams per day, dependent on the
indications and extraction of Devil's Claw.
MAJOR ACTIVE INGREDIENTS OF DEVIL'S CLAW
Active ingredients of Devil's Claw re harpagoside, harpagide, procumbine . These active ingredients
may be responsible for Devil's Claw anti-inflammatory and analgesic benefits. However, studies show
Devil's Claw benefit on arthritic and low back pain are limited [4-7].
DEVIL'S CLAW BENEFITS
Devil's claw benefits - anti-oxidative effects
According to a Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity assay, Devil's Claw extract was particularly rich in
water-soluble antioxidants. Harpagoside, a major compound in devil's claw, did not contribute significantly
to its antioxidant activity.  Devil's Claw was found to scavenge super-oxide dose-dependently. 
Devil's claw benefits - anti-inflammatory effects
In 1997, an experiment demonstrated the anti-inflammatory effects of Devil's Claw  In 2001, Devil's
Claw extract was shown to prevent the LPS-induced synthesis of tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha)
in stimulated primary human monocytes in a dose-dependent manner. Primary human monocyte has been
used as a model for peripheral inflammation. Thus, this model suggested that Devil's Claw extract might
have anti-inflammatory properties on skeletal system.  Rats were injected with Freund's adjuvant in
sub-plantar tissue of the right posterior paw and randomly assigned in acute or chronic treatments with
Devil's Claw solution test or vehicle. The results show that Devil's Claw extract increased the animals
'latency of paws' withdrawal, indicating a protective effect against the pain induced by the thermal stimulus,
both in acute and chronic treatments.  Devil's Claw extract exerts anti-inflammatory and analgesic
effects probably by suppressing cyclooxygenase-2 and iNOS expressions.[19, 20]
Nowadays, it is believed that Devil's Claw Extract may offer benefits on inflammatory conditions such as
arthritis, rheumatism, acne skin allergy and ulcers. 
Devil's Claw benefits - analgesic effects
Studies demonstrated the analgesic effects of Devil's Claw .  In animal studies, Devil's Claw extract
offer benefits of anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects in dose-dependent fashions. The main irridoid
glycoside of Devil's Claw appear to play an important role in the peripheral analgesic activites. 
Devil's Claw extract with at least 50 mg harpagoside in the daily dosage may help pain management.
Researchers believes that Devil's Claw extract treatment may have less side effects compared to the
treatment with synthetic analgesics. 
Devil's Claw Benefits - anti-cancer effects
Numerous anti-inflammatory agents have been shown to exert chemopreventive activity by targeting
cyclooxygenase (COX)-2, a rate-limiting enzyme involved in the inflammatory process. Topical application
of Devil's Claw extracts inhibited TPA-induced COX-2 expression in mouse skin. Devil's Claw extracts
diminished TPA-stimulated catalytic activity of extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK), which is
known to regulate the activation of eukaryotic transcription factors mediating COX-2 induction. 
Devil's Claw Benefits - on osteoarthritis
It is known that Devil's Claw extracts has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, thus, Devil's Clow
benefits on osteoarthritis are expected.
A 4 month-double-blind, randomized study of 122 patients suffered from osteoarthritis shows that 435 mg
of Devil's Claw powder was as effective as 100 mg of diacerhein in the treatment of osteoarthritis. While,
the frequency of its side effects (e.g. diarrhea) was significantly lower in the Devil's Claw group. However,
the global tolerance assessment by patients at the end of treatment favoured the Devil's Claw powder.
 Another randomized, double-blind, parallel-group study of 122 patients with hip and/or knee
osteoarthritis demonstrated that high dose of Devil's Claw was as effective as diacerhein in the treatment
of knee or hip osteoarthritis. 
Devil's Claw preparations were found to be useful for 75 patients suffered from arthritis and low back pain.
Improvement included 45.5% for pain on palpation, 35% for limitation of mobility and 25.4% for joint
crepitus. Only two cases of side effects were reported-dyspeptic complaints and a sensation of fullness.
In a 4 week-double-blinded study of 63 patients suffered from muscular tension or slight muscular pain of
the back, shoulder and neck, Devil's Claw extract improved the patients' score or performance on visual
analogue scale, the pressure algometer test, the muscle stiffness test and the muscular ischaemia test.
Tolerability for Devil's Claw extract was good; no serious side effects occurred. 
Devil's Claw benefits? - modulation of the matrix-degrading enzymes production
Arthritis and osteoarthritis are characterized by a loss of articular cartilage due to an imbalance between
synthesis and degradation of the extracellular cartilage matrix. These diseases are accompanied by an
increased induction of cytokines such as interleukin 1beta (IL-1beta) and tumor necrosis factor alpha
(TNF-alpha). The increased release of cytokines leads to an enhanced production of matrix-degrading
enzymes e.g. the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Western blot analysis showed that the devil's claw
extracts decreased significantly the production of MMPs in chondrocytes. 
Devil's Claw benefits - on smooth muscle and degenerative diseases of musculoskeletal system
Harpagoside of Devil's Claw is able to interfere with the mechanisms that regulate the influx of calcium in
the smooth muscle cells.  Wegener T. recommended Devil's Claw as a supportive treatment for
degenerative painful rheumatism, as Devil's Claw has benefits of analgesic, antiphlogistic and
antiinflammatory actions.  A 4 week-randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study of patients with
muscular tension at back, shoulder and neck shows the beneficial effects of Devil's Claw extract (2X480
mg/day) on sensory, motor and vascular mechanisms of muscle pain. 
Devil's Claw Benefits - on backpain
130 patients suffered from back pain were supplemented with Devil's Claw extract for eight weeks. 117
patients showed improvement of pain symptoms and mobility of the affected sections of their spine. No
serious Devil's Claw side effects were observed.
 Strong evidence exists for the use of an aqueous Devil's Claw extract at a daily dose equivalent of 50
mg harpagoside (dosage) in the treatment of acute exacerbations of chronic non-specific low-back pain.
Devil's Claw benefits - anti-plasmodial activities
Devil's Claw is a source of antiplasmodial hit compounds. 
Devil's Claw benefits - on diabetes
Devil's Claw root (dosage 50-800 mg/kg i.p.) produced dose-dependent, significant reductions in the
blood glucose concentrations of both fasted normal and fasted diabetic rats. The results of this
experimental animal study indicate that Devil's Claw root aqueous extract possesses hypoglycaemic
properties. Scientists even suggest to develop a therapeutics using purified Devil's Claw extracts to
manage type-2 diabetes mellitus. 
ANALYTICAL METHOD FOR DEVIL'S CLAW
HPLC equipped with monolithic C18-bonded silica column can be used to assay Devil's Claw harpagoside.
DEVIL'S CLAW Side Effects
Devil's Claw side effects are mainly headache, ringing in the ears, loss of appetite, or loss of taste. Allergic
reactions to Devil's Claw may also occur and they are difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of
your lips, tongue, or face; or hives. However, there may be some other side effects other than those listed
Devil's claw promotes stomach acid, anyone with gastric or duodenal ulcers should not use the herb.
Devil's Claw was found to interact with warfarin.  Devil's Claw should not be taken together with
anticoagulant or anti-platelet agents. 
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Planta Med. 1997 Apr;63(2):171-6.16. Fiebich BL et al, Inhibition of TNF-alpha synthesis in LPS-stimulated primary human monocytes by
Harpagophytum (Devil's Claw) extract SteiHap 69. Phytomedicine. 2001 Jan;8(1):28-30. 17. Andersen ML, Evaluation of acute and chronic
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nitric oxide synthase in fibroblast cell line L929. J Pharmacol Sci. 2003 Nov;93(3):367-71.20. Kaszkin M et al, Downregulation of iNOS
expression in rat mesangial cells by special extracts of Harpagophytum procumbens derives from harpagoside-dependent and independent
effects. Phytomedicine. 2004 Nov;11(7-8):585-95.21. An analytical study, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of Harpagophytum
procumbens and Harpagophytum zeyheri. Planta Med. 1997 Apr;63(2):171-6. 22. Lanhers MC Anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of an
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the effectiveness of herbal analgesics Orthopade. 2004 Jul;33(7):804-8. 24. Kundu JK et al, Inhibitory effects of the extracts of Sutherlandia
frutescens (L.) R. Br. and Harpagophytum procumbens (Devil's Claw). on phorbol ester-induced COX-2 expression in mouse skin: AP-1 and
CREB as potential upstream targets. Cancer Lett. 2005 Jan 31;218(1):21-31.25. Chantre P, Efficacy and tolerance of Harpagophytum
procumbens versus diacerhein in treatment of osteoarthritis. Phytomedicine. 2000 Jun;7(3):177-83 26. Leblan D et al, Harpagophytum
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vascular muscle reagibility in the treatment of unspecific back pain Schmerz. 2001 Feb;15(1):10-8. 32. Laudahn D et al, Efficacy and
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(1):13. 34. Clarkson C et al, In vitro antiplasmodial activity of abietane and totarane diterpenes isolated from Harpagophytum procumbens
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procumbens DC (Pedaliaceae) secondary root aqueous extract. Phytother Res. 2004 Dec;18(12):982-9.  Schmidt AH Fast HPLC for quality
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