Devil’s Claw

Devil’s Claw
Devil’s Claw


Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate. The effectiveness ratings for DEVIL’S CLAW are as follows:

Possibly effective for…

  • Back pain. Taking devil’s claw by mouth seems to reduce low-back pain. Devil’s claw seems to work about as well as some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  • Osteoarthritis. Taking devil’s claw alone, with other ingredients, or along with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) seems to help decrease osteoarthritis-related pain. Some evidence suggests that it works about as well as diacerhein (a slow-acting drug for osteoarthritis that is not available in the U.S.) for improving osteoarthritis pain in the hip and knee after 16 weeks of treatment. Some people taking it seem to be able to lower the dose of NSAIDs they need for pain relief.

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for…

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Early research shows that taking the extract by mouth might not improve RA.
  • Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).
  • Sharp chest pain upon breathing (pleuritic chest pain).
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Gout.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Migraine.
  • Indigestion (dyspepsia).
  • Fever.
  • Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea).
  • Irregular periods.
  • Difficulties during childbirth.
  • Swelling (inflammation) of a tendon (tendinitis).
  • Allergies.
  • Kidney and bladder disease.
  • Wound healing, when applied to the skin.
  • Other conditions.

More evidence is needed to rate it for these uses.

Side Effects Of Devil’s Claw

  • When taken by mouth: Devil’s claw is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when taken for up to a year. The most common side effect is diarrhea. Other side effects may include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, headaches, ringing in the ears, loss of appetite, and loss of taste. Devil’s claw may also cause allergic skin reactions, menstrual problems, and changes in blood pressure. These events are uncommon.

There isn’t enough reliable information to know if devil’s claw is safe when taken for longer than a year.

  • When applied to the skin: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if devil’s claw is safe or what the side effects might be.

Warnings & Precautions

  • Pregnancy: Devil’s claw is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when used during pregnancy. It might harm the developing fetus. Avoid use.
  • Breast-feeding: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if the devil’s claw is safe to use when breastfeeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
  • Heart problems, high blood pressure, low blood pressure: Devil’s claw may affect heart rate, heartbeat, and blood pressure. It might harm people with disorders of the heart and circulatory system. If you have one of these conditions, talk with your healthcare provider before starting.
  • Diabetes: It might lower blood sugar levels. Using it along with medications that lower blood sugar might cause blood sugar to drop too low. Monitor blood glucose levels closely. Your healthcare provider might need to adjust your dose of diabetes medications.
  • Gallstones: It might increase bile production. This could be a problem for people with gallstones. Avoid using.
  • Low levels of sodium in the body: Devil’s claw might decrease levels of sodium in the body. This might worsen symptoms in people who already have low levels of sodium.
  • Peptic ulcer disease (PUD): Since it might increase the production of stomach acids this might harm people with stomach ulcers. Avoid using.

Dosage Of Devil’s Claw

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For osteoarthritis: 2-2.6 grams of extract have been taken in up to three divided doses daily for up to 4 months. A specific combination product providing 600 mg of devil’s claw, 400 mg of turmeric, and 300 mg of bromelain has been taken 2-3 three times daily for up to 2 months. A specific combination product (Rosaxan, medAgil Gesundheitsgesellschaft mbH) containing devil’s claw, stinging nettle, rose hip, and vitamin D taken by mouth as 40 mL daily has been used for 12 weeks.
  • For back pain: 0.6-2.4 grams of devil’s claw extract has been taken daily, usually in divided doses, for up to 1 year.


Consult your doctor or pharmacist.


All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.