Devil’s claw is an herb. The botanical name, Harpagophytum, means “hook plant” in Greek. This plant, which is native to Africa, gets its name from the appearance of its fruit, which is covered with hooks meant to attach onto animals in order to spread the seeds. The roots and tubers of the plant are used to make medicine.
Devil’s claw root is used for “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), arthritis, gout,muscle pain (myalgia), back pain, tendinitis, chest pain, gastrointestinal (GI) upset or heart burn, fever, and migraine headache.
Devil’s claw root is also used for difficulties in childbirth, menstrual problems, allergic reactions, loss of appetite, and kidney and bladder disease. Some people apply devil’s claw root to the skin for injuries and other skin conditions.
Without trying to remember all the fancy names of these drugs, the rule of thumb is this: Do not take Devil’s Claw root if you are on blood thinners or are diabetic, any form of diabetes.
These medications do not interact well with Devil’s Claw root.
- Anticoagulants such as Warfarin/Coumadin – If you take Devil’s Claw with these, they could increase the risk of bleeding becoming severe or spontaneous.
- Metformin or Glucophage – a treatment for type 2 diabetes. One animal study found reduced blood glucose in diabetic animals, when given Devil’s Claw
- Insulin or Insulin Analogs such as Lantus, NovoLog, Humalog, or Apidra – used for type 1 diabetes. One animal study found reduced blood glucose in diabetic animals, when given Devil’s Claw
- Sulfonylureas such as Glyburide, Diabeta, Glynase, Micronase, Glipizide Glucotrol, Glimepiride Amaryl. Sulfonylureas helps to to treat type 2 diabetes. One animal study found reduced blood glucose in diabetic animals, when given Devil’s Claw
- Antacids, taken for heart burn and stomach upset may not work as well, due to increased stomach acid.