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May 27 at 1:31 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Devil’s Claw Extract: Benefits, Side Effects & Dosage

By BulkSupplements More Blogs by This Author

What is Devils Claw?

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The devils claw plant is native to southern Africa. Its in the sesame family under the genusHarpagophytum procumbens. Its nickname comes from the spikey fruit, which is covered in little hooks that look like claws. This fierce-looking little plant is actually a source of pain relief for many people.

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The secondary roots (the offshoots of the main root) are harvested
manually. The root of the plant is dug free of dirt, and the roots with the most medicinal value are then cut off. The cut roots are subsequently cleaned, sliced and left to dry in the sun until they are ready to be prepared for use. Unfortunately, the whole plant is destroyed in the process, and countries such as Namibia have had to work to make it a sustainable process.

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The Many Uses of Devils Claw

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A popular herb in folk medicine in Africa for centuries, many believe devils claw can act as an anti-inflammatory agent. Other uses of devils claw are for the treatment offeversand allergies as well as stomach ailments likeindigestion. When a German soldier brought the plant to Europe in the mid 20thcentury, it gained popularity there as a tea.

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The most noted use of devils claw has been to relieve pain in patients withosteoarthritis(arthritiscaused by the breakdown of joint cartilage and bone). Taken in combination with other pain killers, people have found extra relief from their joint pain.

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Some other uses of devils claw include the topical treatment of skin issues like boils and rashes. It has also been historically used as a salve over broken bones and sprains.

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Devils Claw Benefits

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Anti-Inflammatory and Pain Reliever

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The devils claw plant contains a chemical in its extracts called harpagoside that studies have shown to be responsible for an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. Certain carcinogens in the environment may interfere with healthy cells in your body, causing mutations that can lead tocancer. Harpagoside, as well as other devils claw root extracts, may counteract one of the most common carcinogens people breathe in from diesel exhaust 1-nitropyrene.

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Another chemical produced by devils claw plant, beta-sitosterol, may also contribute to the anti-inflammatory qualities of this supplement. Clinical trials for the effectiveness of devils claw as an anti-inflammatory are mainly inconclusive, but there is evidence to support that it does give some people relief.

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Relief for Osteoarthritis

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Because of the anti-inflammatory nature of devils claw, it may be especially helpful for pain relief in people with osteoarthritis orlower back pain. Many people have found that by supplementing their pain treatment plan with devils claw, they were able to reduce the amount of medications they were using.H. procumbensmay block inflammatory responses relative to osteoarthritis, relieving pain and stiffness in the joints for participants in scientific studies.

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Because so many are affected by osteoarthritis (OA) and because current pain medications are not a long-term solution for everyone, it may be worth looking further intoH. procumbens. So, what exactly is OA and how does it affect the joints?

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OA is the most common form of arthritis. It is often a result of low inflammation levels combined with stressors to the joints (like trauma, long-term physical work that is hard on the joints and genetics). As cartilage in the joints wears down, the bones are less protected and start to become damaged.

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Symptoms of OA are a deep ache and stiffness in areas like the knees, neck, lower back and hips. People with this condition say inactivity makes them feel worse, but low-impact exercise (like swimming) followed by rest helps. Those with OA often rely on medications like NSAIDs, COX-2 inhibitors, injections and muscle relaxers to relieve pain.

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Appetite Suppression

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You know that grumble you feel in your belly that makes you want to raid the fridge? Thats because of a hormone called ghrelin. Getting that hungry feeling too often can lead to overeating as a result. There is some evidence that devils claw can prevent this.

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When the body releases ghrelin, telling you its time to eat, a receptor (GHS-R antagonist) should detect it. However, studies reveal that when it comes to ghrelin and GHS-R, devils claw may interfere with one or both.

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Devils claw root may make an effective appetite suppressant because of that interference with hunger hormones. This is good news for people who overeat and are seeking something to curb their hunger.

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Combats Cancer

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Another interesting point is that ghrelin has been detected in some canceroustumors. What this suggests is that ghrelin can exist outside of gastric tissues and plays a role in tumor growth. However, ghrelins receptor, GHS-R, has notable anti-cancer properties.

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While devils claw is not a substitute for chemotherapy and radiation, it may be able to change the course of tumor development. For example, two cancer patients reportedly saw tumor regression without the use of anti-cancer drugs. These cases were unusual enough that it was looked into by a researcher who noted that these patients type of lymphoma had a 16 percent spontaneous regression rate. The timing between when the patients began taking devils claw and when their tumors decreased is what is most of interest, stating again that devils claw has anti-inflammatory properties. It could have been coincidence, or it could have been the devils claw.

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Devil's Claw BenefitsPIN IT

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Devils Claw Extract Supplements

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Devils claw extract is typically made using the root of the plant as this is where the medicinal properties are concentrated. You can take devils claw extract in the following forms:

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  • Whole
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  • Powdered
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  • Tincture
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  • Liquid
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  • Dried root (tea)
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  • Capsules
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Those who take devils claw usually do so to treat pain related to osteoarthritis. Study participants reported some level of improvement depending on the dosage of devils claw and their level of pain.

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Devils Claw Side Effects

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Side effects may include stomach upset, changes in blood pressure, headaches or skin reactions; stop using this product and seek medical attention immediately if these side effects occur.

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Devils Claw Dosage

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It is best to take 1,000 mg ofdevils claw extract powderone to three times daily. If a doctor suggests otherwise, follow their instructions. Devils claw extract comes as a fine, brown powder and has a strong taste. You can dilute it by mixing the powder into fruit juice or a smoothie.

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When taken as advised, this supplement should be safe to take by healthy adults. However, pregnant women and those who are nursing should not take this supplement. Sometimes this supplement contains dextrin, so do not take if you have an allergy. Talk to your doctor before taking this product if you have a history of heart or blood pressure problems,diabetes, pepticulcerdisease, menstrual problems or gallstones.

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The Bottom Line

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Devils claw may be an essential supplement for your anti-inflammatory toolkit, especially if you are suffering from osteoarthritic pain.
This extract could be useful for treating pain in the neck, hips, lower back, hands and knees as a result. It may also give you some relief from stomach upset and other digestive woes. There isnt much evidence to back up claims that this extract is an effective topical ointment. However, it has been used in this way by herbalists for millennia. Its long history alone may be evidence enough to give it a try!

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