Devil's Claw - the herbal medicine with a continued uncertain effect on OA pain
Devil's Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is a plant in the sesame family native South Africa that has long been used as a herbal medicine to treat a number of different diseases. The plant is believed to be able to reduce joint pain and joint stiffness as it is said to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
However, the actual properties of devil's claw are yet not fully understood. There is also a lack of high-quality scientific studies comparing the effects of the plant with placebo, which makes devil's claw's actual effect on joint pain unclear. Since devil's claw has a long history of being used as a traditional herbal medicine for joint pain, we see no issues with trying it out, as long as you experience pain relief and the cost of the medicine is acceptable. Keep in mind, however, that there is a lack of research ensuring the long-term safety of devil's claw.
When living with osteoarthritis it is important to not forget that osteoarthritis pain levels vary over time. This means that if you begin treatment when you are in a bad period, you will probably improve spontaneously, regardless of what treatment you receive. The improvement thus does not necessarily have to do with the treatment itself. This is a phenomenon that is well known in research but can be difficult to assess in everyday life and in individuals.