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Devil's claw appears to be safe, at least for short-term use. In one study, no evidence of toxicity emerged at doses many times higher than recommended. 1 In a review of 28 clinical trials dating back 20 years, researchers found no instances where adverse effects were more common than those associated with a placebo. Minor adverse effects, most gastrointestinal in nature, occurred in roughly 3% of patients. 2 Devil's claw is not recommended for people with ulcers. A 6-month open study of 630 people with arthritis showed no side effects other than occasional mild gastrointestinal distress. According to one case report, the herb devil's claw might increase the potential for bleeding while taking warfarin . 3 Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking:
- Blood-thinning medications such as warfarin (Coumadin) or heparin : Devil's claw might enhance their effect, possibly producing a risk of bleeding.
- European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy. Harpagophyti radix (devil's claw). Exeter, UK: ESCOP; 1996-1997. Monographs on the Medicinal Uses of Plant Drugs. Fascicule 2.
- Vlachojannis J, Roufogalis BD, Chrubasik S. Systematic review on the safety of Harpagophytum preparations for osteoarthritic and low back pain. Phytother Res. 2008;22:149-152.
- Shaw D, Leon C, Kolev S, et al. Traditional remedies and food supplements: a 5-year toxicological study (1991-1995). Drug Safety. 1997;17:342-356.