Devil’s claw is an herb native to southern Africa. It gets its name from the tiny hooks on the plant’s fruit. Devil’s claw is a perennial plant with no odor and a bitter taste. The roots, along with the secondary roots called tubers, are the parts of the plant used in medicine.1
Devil's Claw Uses and Health Benefits
Devil’s claw has long been used to treat conditions like fever, malaria, and kidney problems. The dried roots have been used in Europe to help relieve heartburn and restore appetite. The herb contains pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies show that it can be just as effective as some pain-relieving medications for patients suffering from lower back pain.1,2 It’s sometimes used together with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen.3 Other devil’s claw uses include for:
Devil's Claw Side Effects and Precautions
Though there are many devil’s claw benefits, it’s important to heed caution as with any herb. Talk to your doctor about taking devil’s claw if you have heart disease, diabetes, a stomach ulcer, abnormal blood pressure, or a history of gallstones.3 Not enough is known about the effects of devil’s claw on pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, so it is best for these women to avoid it altogether. Devil’s claw side effects may include:
Devil’s claw side effects are rare, and the herb is generally considered safe to take in recommended doses for up to a year.3 Talk to your doctor before attempting to self-medicate with devil’s claw to ensure it’s a good herbal remedy for you.