[Also known as Devil’s Claw Root, Grapple Plant or Wood Spider]
Origin: A traditional herb used in South Africa.
Dosage: Capsules, tincture, powder and liquid; take 750 mg to 1,000 mg three times a day
Claims: Relieves pain and inflammation. May help lower uric acid levels in people with gout. Acts as a digestive aid and appetite stimulant.
What we know: Harpagoside, the active ingredient in devil’s claw, appears to reduce pain and inflammation in joints. Some studies suggest stomach acid may counteract benefits, so take the supplement between meals when less stomach acid is released.
Studies: In 2002, Phytomedicine published a study of 227 people with non-specific low back pain or osteoarthritis of the knee or hip treated with devil’s claw extract. After eight weeks of taking 60 mg daily, between 50 and 70 percent of people reported improvement in pain, mobility and flexibility.
Do not take devil’s claw if you are pregnant, have gallstones or ulcers, or are taking an antacid or blood thinners. It can affect heart rate and may interfere with cardiac, blood-thinning and diabetes medication. It may also cause diarrhea.