Devil’s Claw For Gout? Witch Doctor Hocus Pocus Or Scientific Fact?
Devil’s Claw (scientific name: Harpagophytum procumbens) is a plant found in South Africa and used by locals there as a digestive aid and may help to ease sore joints, like lower back, knee and hip pain as well as arthritis. It comes from the fruit of a Southern African plant. The fruit is shaped like a claw, hence the name “devil’s claw”. It is also referred to as Cat’s Claw.
It was discovered by European colonists in the 18th century as a popular anti-inflammatory and arthritis treatment; it is more common in Europe today more notably in Germany where their version of the FDA, the German Commission E have Devil’s Claw approved as non-prescription medicine, rather than the US where it’s lesser known.
What do we know about Devil’s Claw
It can be a herbal treatment for gout since it is a type of arthritis and offers pain relief to people who suffer from pain, instead of using pain killers. Although there isn’t any overwhelming evidence out there done from studies proving that it is an effective treatment for gout, there are a few studies worth mentioning. One small study showed Devils’ claw may be just as effective in treating back pain as the drug Vioxx. In the study, it showed that this natural remedy had the same effect as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. A UK study showed evidence that Devil’s Claw may relieve pain from arthritis as quickly as in 10 days of use.
This means that if you have a gout attack, you can use Devil’s Claw instead of NSAIDs. If you take it consistently, you might even be able to lower your dose for these medications in the future.
Another study done in France with 2 groups of patients, one was given capsules containing Devil’s Claw and the second group received a pharmaceutical drug to treat osteoarthritis. Both groups experienced similar benefits but the patients taking the Devils’ Claw obviously experienced significantly fewer side effects than those taking the drug. Furthermore, Devil’s Claw has been shown to lower arterial blood pressure in rats and has been clinically shown to lower blood lipids and cholesterol. Unfortunately, there aren’t any conclusive studies done on relieving pain in gout but if it works for those with arthritis, it may help the gout sufferer somewhat and it definitely won’t harm you.
Finally, the substances that lower uric acid in Devil’s claw are called harpagosides, which are anti-inflammatory substances. It’s the same active ingredient that’s helpful for other painful disorders that affect the musculoskeletal system.
Other Benefits of Devil’s Claw
Devil’s Claw is known to be a top remedy for gout but it can also be used to treat skin irritations, stomachache, and gallbladder. Here are some more ways you can benefit from taking Devil’s Claw
Devil’s Claw Can Help with Back Pain
Its anti-inflammatory properties can make it the perfect remedy for back pain. In one study, they found that patients who took between 50-100 grams of harpagoside experienced less back pain compared to those who didn’t take it.
Devil’s Claw Can Improve Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a painful condition affecting the joints in your hands, knees, hips, and spine. One clinical study proves that Devil’s Claw may be just as good at reducing osteoarthritis symptoms as diacerein. Diacerein is the medication commonly prescribed to patients dealing with osteoarthritis pain.
Devil’s Claw Can Help with Weight Loss
Devil’s Claw has shown a promising ability to reduce your appetite. This is because it has the ability to interact with the hunger hormone called ghrelin. It suppresses your appetite, helping you to lose weight. When you have gout, you will be required to get rid of excess weight. Devil’s Claw might just help you get to that goal faster by signaling your brain by reducing your appetite.
How To Take Devil’s Claw
You can consume Devil’s Claw as a tea although, I need to warn you, the taste can be quite bitter! To make it, just add a teaspoon of a dried root of Devil’s Claw in two cups of boiling water. Let it steep for 20 minutes before straining the root.
There are also other ways you can take Devil’s Claw. It is available in supplement, liquid tinctures, powder, and ointment form. Before taking it, make sure to read the label. You want to look for how much Harpagoside is in the product. There are no official recommendations but it appears to be safe if you consume between 600-2610mg per day. You can take small doses of Devil’s Claw two to three times a day depending on how you’re feeling. If you’re having acute gout pain, you can do as much as three times a day.
Devil’s Claw Risks
Devil’s Claw can have some mild side effects such as diarrhea, headache, coughing, and allergic reactions. If you have diabetes, gallstones, heart disorders, or stomach ulcers, make sure to speak with your doctor first before taking Devil’s Claw. The plant may also interact with other medications you are currently taking such as NSAIDs, blood thinners, and stomach acid reducers. To be completely sure, you want to talk to your doctor so they can provide you with the right dosage if you do decide to take DeviL’s Claw.
I’ve never experimented with Devil’s Claw, if you have and have found success; please make sure to comment below about your personal experience. Make sure to talk to your doctor before taking it. You can buy Devil’s Claw in any health food store; usually people like to take it in the form of capsules (as an extract) 2-3 times daily found on Amazon.
What has your experience been like taking Devil’s Claw as a remedy for gout? Share your thoughts in the comments below.