Part of the plant used: tuberised secondary root
The name of the plant comes from the appearance of the fruit, which is covered by hooks meant to attach to the fur of passing animals thus spreading the seeds in the environment.
Only roots are of interest and harpagoside seems to be the active ingredient. Devil's claw root is usually standardized to 3% iridoid glycosides or 2% harpagoside.
Used doses: 500 mg of root 3 times a day.
Used doses: 1.5 to 3 grams of root's powder per day or capsules containing a daily amount of 50 to 100 mg of harpagoside.
Used doses: 500 mg of root 3 times a day. For this indication, decoction or liquid extract would be more effective and enteric-coated tablets should be avoid.
There is insufficient reliable information to conclude that devil's claw is effective in any other indications, including topical application as an analgesic. A well-designed study would have showed that devil's claw is not effective against arthritis.
In 2004, Canada adopted new regulations that control the manufacturing, packaging, labeling and importing of natural health products. The new regulations also include an adverse reaction reporting system. Products that conform to the regulation's criteria are identified with a natural product number (NPN) and can be legally sold in Canada. This number indicates that the product meets specific criteria for safety and purity, not that it is effective for any indication.
Medicinal plant contents vary naturally from plant to plant - just as fruits from the same package may vary in taste and texture. There is no standard to measure the active content of each plant. Thus, efficacy of natural products should be expected to vary from brand to brand as well as from bottle to bottle of the same brand.
For more information about the Natural Health Products Regulations, or to check if a product has been assessed, visit the Health Canada website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/index-eng.php.
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