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Scientific Name:
Harpagophytum procumbens, H. zeyheri
Family Name:
Common Name:
devil's claw, grapple plant, wood spider
Evidence for Efficacy (Human Data)
Clinical Trials
In a controlled, randomized human trial (N = 60), Harpagophytum procumbens (Teltonal), administered at two tablets (2 x 480 mg) daily, improved pain, function, and disease scores in patients with mild knee osteoarthritis, comparably to meloxicam, with considerable difference in the medication periods (1 month vs. 10 days, respectively). Farpour 2021
In a randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled trial (N = 28), a combination of Harpagophytum procumbens, Zingiber officinale, and Bixa orellana, administered at 2 g/day in 6 doses for 4 weeks, reduced leg fat mass and knee thermograms in middle-aged recreational runners with self-declared knee discomfort. González-Gross 2021
Treatment with a sports cream including extracts of Harpagophytum procumbens, Boswellia serrata, ginger and escin along with standard management more effectively improved pain, stiffness, mobility, and working capacity in non professional athletes with fascial or muscular strain compared to control. Hu 2020
Meta analysis of systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials assessed quality, efficacy, and safety of 19 dietary ingredients used for chronic musculoskeletal pain. Devil's claw was not recommended for use by Service members. Crawford 2019
In a systematic review and meta analysis of randomized controlled trials on the effectiveness and safety of oral medications used in Brazil for the treatment of osteoarthritis, no difference was observed between experimental Harpagophytum procumbens and control groups. Del Grossi 2017
A 12-wk randomized, placebo-controlled double-blind parallel study comparing a specialized three-herb combination (Rosa canina, Urtica dioica, H. procumbens) to placebo in the treatment of gonarthritis showed the herb combo was well tolerated and rated superior to placebo by patients and physicians. Moré 2017
Review evaluates the available evidence for 13 oral Brazilian herbal interventions for osteoarthritis (including. H. procumbens), provides estimates of the effectiveness of treatments and their associated harms, and evaluates the quality of the evidence. Moura 2016
In 14 randomly controlled trials (n=2,050) included in a 2014 Cochrane review, H. procumbens (devil's claw), along with other herbal medicines, seemed to reduce chronic lower back pain more than placebo, but evidence for these substances was of moderate quality at best. Gagnier 2016
Update of a Cochrane Review from 2006, a review of randomized clinical trial of adults with low-back pain found that although H. procumbens seems to reduce pain more than placebo, evidence was of moderate quality at best. Oltean 2014
A retrospective evaluation of patients taking part for 2 months in a postmarketing surveillance study on the effectiveness and safety of Harpagophytum procumbens, shows associations to known explanators of pain, disability and depression. Thanner 2009
Investigation of aqueous extracts of Harpagophytum procumbens and a proprietary ethanolic Salix extract for chronic non-specific low back pain revealed that the "physical impairment" component of the Arhus low back pain index changed very little during treatment. Chrubasik 2008
To assess the effectiveness, safety and tolerability of Harpagophytum (Bioforce) in the treatment of arthritis and other rheumatic conditions, a single group open study of 8 weeks duration (259 patients) was performed in the United Kingdom. Warnock 2007
A systematic review revealed two high-quality trials using H. procumbens found strong evidence for short-term improvements in pain and rescue medication for daily doses standardized to 50 or 100 mg harpagoside. Gagnier 2007
A review of 14 studies wherein data from the higher quality studies suggests that devil's claw appeared effective in the reduction of the main clinical symptom of pain. The assessment of safety is limited by the small populations generally evaluated in the clinical studies. Brien 2006
A 1-year follow-up after a pilot study with Doloteffin for low back pain showed that long-term treatment with Doloteffin was well tolerated in patients. Chrubasik 2005
Strong evidence exists for the use of an aqueous Harpagophytum extract at a daily dose equivalent of 50 mg harpagoside in the treatment of acute exacerbations of chronic non-specific low-back pain. Gagnier 2004
The results of an open clinical study in 75 patients suggest that this Devil's claw extract has a clinically beneficial effect in the treatment of arthrosis of the hip or knee. Wegener 2003
A randomized, double-blind pilot study of acutely exacerbated low back pain was aimed to inform a definitive comparison between Doloteffin, a proprietary extract of Harpagophytum, and rofecoxib, a selective inhibitor of cyclo-oxygenase-2. Chrubasik 2003b
The quality of the clinical trials investigating the effectiveness of Harpagophytum in 20 studies for treatment with various Harpagophytum products were examined. Chrubasik 2003a
The proprietary Harpagophytum extract Doloteffin, is well worth considering for osteoarthritic knee & hip pain and nonspecific low back pain in 227 patients. Chrubasik 2002b
In an open, multicenter study evaluating the clinical effectiveness and tolerance of the devil's claw extract LI 174 in patients suffering from non-radicular back pain, significant improvement in pain and mobility occurred over a period of at least 6 months. Laudahn 2001
A highly significant clinical efficacy was achieved with a monotherapy of Harpagophytum dry extract LI 174 after four weeks' treatment at a dosage of 2x480 mg/day in cases of slight to moderate muscular pain in 31 patients. [Article in German] Gobel 2001
Harpagophytum was as effective as diacerhein in the treatment of 122 patients with knee or hip osteoarthritis and reduced the need for analgesic and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory therapy. Leblan 2000
Comparision of Harpadol (6 capsules/day, each containing 435 mg of powdered Harpagophytum procumbens), with diacerhein 100 mg/day, for 4 months, of 122 patients with osteoarthritis shows that Harpadol is comparable in efficacy and superior in safety to diacerhein. Chantre 2000
Several clinical studies on devil's claw for degenerative rheumatism have shown improvement of motility and reduction of pain sensation, while pharmacological studies have shown analgesic, antiphlogistic and anti-inflammatory actions. [Article in German] Wegener 1999
Devil's claw (Harpagophytum procumbens), an herbal product for the relief of arthritic disease, was investigated in healthy humans on eicosanoid production during spontaneously blood clotting which revealed that devil's claw has no biochemical effects on arachidonic acid metabolism. Moussard 1992
[Devils's claw (Harpagophytum procumbens): pharmacological and clinical studies.] Grahame 1981
History of Record
ORIGINAL RESEARCH BY: J. Mohanasundaram, MD, PhD
June 2006
January 2018
May 2023