Harpagophytum procumbens

Devil's Claw

Harpagophytum procumbens

Devil's Claw

This is a plant from South Africa long valued by the native people to support the inflammatory response, help manage the pain response, and tonify digestion.* The interesting name of the genus means literally "hook plant" which refers to the hook like structures on the seed meant to cling to animals, an adaptation the plant has made to insure it’s proper distribution. The plant was taken to Europe from South Africa in the 1800’s by colonists and used specifically as a plant medicine.

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Traditional Health Benefits of Devil's Claw

Foundational Support

What is Devil's Claw Used for?

Research has centered on a group of constituents called Harpoagosides that are classified as iridoid glycosides. The roots and tubers also contain plant sterols with small amounts of Beta Sitosterol contributing to those constituents. Recent data provide evidence that Harpagophytum extracts have a broad mechanism of action by interacting with both the cyclo‐oxygenase‐ (COX) and lipoxygenase‐mediated pathways of the arachidonic acid cascade as well as with the release of cytokines.*

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Active Constituents of Devil's Claw

Harpagoside, Magnesium, Potassium, Verbascoside, caffeic acid, cinnamic acid, flavonoids, triterpenes, beta-sitosterol, gum resins

Parts Used


Additional Resources

1.) Chrubasik S, Sporer F, and Wink M. [Harpagoside content of different powdered dry extracts from Harpagophytum procumbens]. Forsch Komplmentarmed 1996;3:6-11. 2.) Ficarra P, Ficarra R, Tommasini A, and et al. [HPLC analysis of a drug in traditional medicine: Harpagophytum procumbens DC. I]. Boll Chim Farm 1986;125(7):250-253. 3.) Grant, L., McBean, D. E., Fyfe, L., and Warnock, A. M. A review of the biological and potential therapeutic actions of Harpagophytum procumbens. Phytother Res 2007;21(3):199-209. 4.) Chrubasik, S., Conradt, C., and Roufogalis, B. D. Effectiveness of Harpagophytum extracts and clinical efficacy. Phytother.Res. 2004;18(2):187-189. 5.) Chrubasik, S. [Devil's claw extract as an example of the effectiveness of herbal analgesics]. Orthopade 2004;33(7):804-808. 6.) Munkombwe, N. M. Acetylated phenolic glycosides from Harpagophytum procumbens. Phytochemistry 2003;62(8):1231-1234. 7.) Ernst, E. and Chrubasik, S. Phyto-anti-inflammatories. A systematic review of randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trials. Rheum.Dis Clin North Am 2000;26(1):13-27, vii.

Important Precautions

Not for use during pregnancy or lactation. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs please consult your doctor prior to use.


This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

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