Dealing with pain’s the most common problem you’re likely to face as you age. That’s why before their serious side effects surfaced, over-hyped new drugs like Vioxx and Celebrex were top-sellers.
But for real relief, you don’t have to break the bank every time a dangerous new drug hits the market—and then gets pulled. Recent research has uncovered an herbal remedy with a nasty-sounding name that works just as well, if not better: Devil’s Claw.
A handful of studies have conclusively shown that it can free you from pain caused by a number of common ailments from rheumatoid arthritis to tendonitis, bursitis, even lower back pain.
Devil’s Claw also improves pancreas, liver, kidney, and gall bladder function, and can help the body to heal from wounds more quickly. Its active ingredients, called harpagosides, can even boost your metabolism and immune response.
In Africa, people have been reaping the many health benefits of this woody, thorny plant for literally thousands of years. It’s native to the dry regions around Namibia and Botswana, arrived in Europe in the 19th century and is now popular with Brazilians as well.
Ironically, Devil’s Claw appears to work the same way as “Cox-2” anti-inflammatory drugs like Vioxx did before its serious health risks forced drug makers to pull them off the market.
A six-week study published in the journal Rheumatology looked at 79 people with serious back pain. It compared the painkilling power of Devil’s Claw against Vioxx. Sixty mg of Devil’s Claw extract per day—through the action of its natural harpagosides—was just as effective as 12.5 mg of Vioxx in reducing pain.
As usual, the Europeans are way ahead of us in making use of this miracle plant. According to a study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, sales of Devil’s Claw in Germany were estimated to be â‚¬30 million in 2001, accounting for 74 percent of the prescriptions for rheumatism.
A few words of caution: if you suffer from ulcers, gallstones, or diabetes, Devil’s Claw may not be good for you. It can also stimulate uterine contractions, so pregnant women should avoid it (unless you’re trying to give birth). Devil’s Claw also interacts with anti-coagulants like Warfarin. People taking drugs for diabetes should steer clear of it as well.
Of course, as with all herbal remedies, you should take Devil’s Claw only under the supervision of a qualified health practitioner.
Devil’s Claw is available in capsule, tincture, and tea form. You can find it on line or in most health food stores.
Dr. Al Sears is fast becoming the nation's leading authority on longevity and heart health. His cutting edge breakthroughs and commanding knowledge of alternative medicine have been transforming the lives of his patients for over 15 years.
Dr. Sears currently owns and operates a successful integrative medicine and anti-aging clinic in Wellington, Florida with over 15,000 patients. Over the course of his career, he has developed his own approach to heart health, longevity and anti-aging medicine - combining the best of modern medical science with natural holistic techniques and treatments.