Quick Navigation

Harpagophytum procumbens

Harpagophytum Procumbens (Devil's Claw) is a tuber that has traditional usage for musculoskeletal disorders, pain relief, and appetite stimulation; it appears to have preliminary evidence for its benefits to osteoarthritis and pain.

Our evidence-based analysis on harpagophytum procumbens features 39 unique references to scientific papers.

Research analysis led by .
Reviewed by
Examine.com Team
Last Updated:
NOTE: We are updating our coronavirus (COVID-19) page with evidence as it comes in.

Summary of Harpagophytum procumbens

Primary information, health benefits, side effects, usage, and other important details

Harpagophytum Procumbens (commonly called Devil's Claw) is a tuber vegetable that is used for combatting lower back pain as well as arthritis (both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis). It appears to have efficacy at this, and may take a few months to reach maximal efficacy (so it would be unlikely something like Aspirin, which acts fairly fast).

Human trials have been conducted on Devil's Claw and arthritis, and although there appear to be a large amount of trials conducted on it many are not sourced online or in Medline (instead mentioned vicariously through systemic reviews and meta-analysis' on the subject) and the power of these trials are limited, due to sample sizes and lack of control for the most part. That being said, at least two well controlled trials note that the efficacy of Devil's Claw is greater than placebo with one saying it is of similar potency to Vioxx (Rofecoxib, a COX2 inhibitor and antiinflammatory).

Not too much research into other effects of Devil's Claw, although one study suggests it has remarkable anticholesterase inhibitory potential with the potency on butrylcholinesterase (a cholinesterase enzyme found in the blood and liver) being greater than Galantamine.

There appears to be much discussion on safety of Devil's Claw, which may have stemmed from traditional users of Devil's Claw warning about excessive usage. In short term trials it appears to be well tolerated, with a lack of long term evidence. It is definitely possible that it may induce uterine contractions when taken orally, and due to this it should not be used by pregnant women.

Want to know which supplements you should take?

Examine.com bases all of its recommendations based on research. We’re a trusted resource because we don’t sell or even advertise supplements.

If you’re tired of wasting time and money on supplements that don’t work, our 17 Supplement Guides will help you figure out precisely what to take — and what to skip — based on your health goals and the latest scientific evidence. There’s a reason why over 50,000 customers rely on Examine.com’s independent and science-based analysis.

And best of all — free lifetime updates are included!


I want unbiased recommendations to improve my health »

How to Take

Medical Disclaimer

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

Studies conducted on humans using Devil's Claw tend to use a brand called Doloteffin, where 6,000mg of Devil's Claw root is taken daily which totals 50mg Harpagoside (tends to be used as an indicator of efficacy). It was taken in three divided doses, with 2,000mg taken at each of the three major meals.

Benefits of Devil's Claw extract, as it pertains to arthritis and inflammation, may take upwards of 1-4 months to achieve maximal efficacy.

Improve your health with the latest information on 400+ supplements and their effects on 600+ health outcomes.

By becoming an Examine Plus member, you'll have access to all of the latest nutrition research. Quickly and easily look up scientific research on over 400 supplements across over 600 different health goals, outcomes, conditions, and more.

Human Effect Matrix

The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (it excludes animal and in vitro studies) to tell you what effects harpagophytum procumbens has on your body, and how strong these effects are.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
Notes
grade-c Minor - See study
A decrease in back pain has been noted (with a greater frequency of pain abolishment than placebo) which needs to be replicated
grade-d Minor Very High See all 3 studies
Symptoms of osteoarthritis appear to be reduced following ingestion of devil's claw, but insufficient robust evidence exists

Get access to the latest nutrition research summarized

By becoming an Examine Plus member, you'll have access to all of the latest nutrition research on over 400 supplements across over 600 different health goals, outcomes, conditions, and more.

Things to Note

Primary Function:

Also Known As

Devil's Claw, Grapple plant, Duiwelsklou, Wood Spider

Do Not Confuse With

Cat's Claw (Uncaria Tomentosa)

Caution Notice

  • May induce uterine contractions, and contraindicted for usage during pregnancy

Tired of misinformation? Get unbiased info on supplements.

At Examine.com, our incentives line up with yours — getting unbiased information. It’s why we don’t sell any advertising or supplements.

Join over 250,000 people who’ve learned about effective versus overrated supplements, supplement buying tips, and how to combine supplements for safety and efficacy.

Click here to see all 39 references.