A Natural Pain Reliever: Devils Claw

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Devils Claw sounds more like something that would cause pain than something that would relieve it. But this leafy shrub is named for tiny red hooks surrounding its fruit.

Devils Claw (harpagophytum procumbens) is native to South Africa, where it has been used by natives for centuries to treat pregnancy complications, boils, and sores as well as pain. Since its discovery and introduction in Europe, Devils Claw has also been used to treat heartburn and restore appetite.

Many studies have been done on the effectiveness of Devils Claw in relieving pain. It has shown to be highly effective in pain relief, with fewer side-effects. It can take full effect within ten days, and has been used successfully in Europe since the early 1900s.

Current narcotic-based prescription pain relievers have fallen into disfavor, due in part to the epidemic of abuse and illegal trafficking, as well as their addictive nature. Over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin, acetominaphen, and ibuprofen have been shown to have unpleasant and dangerous side-effects on both liver and stomach. Devils Claw has no known side-effects or toxicity, even at doses far above average.

Devils Claw can be used in several forms. Fresh root or dried supplements are sold as both tablets and capsules, and the usual daily dose is between 600 and 1200 milligrams. There are also liquid extracts and topical ointments, often used to treat skin conditions. You can even make a tea from the dried root.

Before using any herbal supplement, it may be a good idea to check with a doctor or medical professional, especially if you suffer from a chronic health condition. This supplement has been reported to interact unfavorably with blood thinners, diabetes medications, and some heart medications.

One promising use for Devils Claw is in the treatment of arthritis, one of the most common degenerative conditions leading to pain and disability. Arthritis, gout, bursitis, and tendonitis are all painful conditions that have been successfully treated with Devils Claw supplements.

Pain is never pleasant, and chronic pain can severely impact the quality of everyday life. But safe, effective natural pain relievers like Devils Claw may provide healthier alternatives to addictive prescription narcotics or dangerous over-the-counter remedies and thus improve the quality of life for chronic pain sufferers.

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