By Anthony Almada, M.S.
Despite its diabolical name, Devil's Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) may offer angelic hope for arthritis sufferers. Several clinical studies have shown promising pain-alleviating effects in various types of musculoskeletal conditions. A recent study with 197 subjects suffering low-back pain found a devil's claw extract from a German pharmaceutical company, in daily doses of 600 mg or 1,200 mg, offered better pain relief than placebo. Gastrointestinal upset occurred more frequently in the devil's claw group, however. In another study involving 122 subjects with osteoarthritis of the knee and hip, four months of treatment with 2.6 grams of devil's claw per day—compared to a group receiving an anti-osteoarthritic drug—revealed nearly equal symptom relief and a reduced usage of pain reliever/anti-inflammatory medications in the devil's claw group. As with virtually all botanical extracts, the composition and chemical makeup vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Exercise biochemist Anthony Almada, M.S. has collaborated on more than 45 university-based studies and is founder and chief scientific officer of IMAGINutrition.