Arthritis is a potentially debilitating condition that affects more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children, according to the Arthritis Foundation. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, and the most common ones include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis, and gout. This disorder can affect anyone of any age, gender, and race. The main symptoms of arthritis include joint swelling, pain, and stiffness, which often lead to a decreased range of motion, which is why it is the leading cause of disability in America.
People with arthritis find it difficult to conduct day-to-day activities, such as getting dressed, preparing food, and walking up or down stairs. The arthritis symptoms may come and go, but most types of arthritis do not have a cure although the symptoms can be managed. Treatment options include exercise, a healthy diet, and taking medication. Some of this medication can cause adverse side effects, making the treatment worse than the disease for some people. A proven alternative method for treatment arthritis is devil's claw, which offers relief with minimal side effects and can be taken in addition to NSAIDs and other medication.
Joint pain is the most common symptom of almost every type of arthritis. This pain can be long lasting and debilitating. Devil's claw and arthritis go well together because this herb treats pain. The indigenous population on southern Africa, where it is originally found, has long used it to treat pain, including that caused by arthritis. European settlers adopted the practice, and it is still widely used in Europe and is even approved as a nonprescription medicine by the German equivalent of the FDA.
Due to its long history of relief, many people turn to it as an alternative to pain medication for arthritis. Many studies have supported the use of devil's claw in reducing pain, especially in those with arthritis, although more research is necessary. In some of the most recent studies the pain was reduced in 10 days.
The term arthritis actually means inflammation of the joint, demonstrating the strong relationship between inflammation and the disease. There is no one cause of arthritis, but almost all types of arthritis have some relationship with inflammation in the joint causing the pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Devil's claw has been shown to not only reduce pain, but it also reduces the inflammation that may be the root cause of the problem.
Inflammation is a natural part of the body's defense and immune system, but it causes problems in excess. When inflammatory proteins are released in the joints, additional blood enters the joint, which causes the swelling, redness, and warmness associated with arthritic joints. This can also lead to stiffness and even pain. Devil's claw and arthritis reduction works due to its anti-inflammatory effects, which in turn also reduces some secondary symptoms, including swelling and stiffness.
Improved Mobility and Flexibility
Another key benefit of taking devil's claw for arthritis is that it helps to improve mobility and flexibility. When a person's arthritis flares up, it causes stiffness in the joints, limiting mobility and flexibility of the joint. The pain associated with the disorder also can limit a person's ability to move around. Taking devil's claw reduces the stiffness, inflammation, pain, swelling, and other symptoms of arthritis. This in turn returns some of the joint abilities back to the person. In a 2002 study of devil's claw and arthritis, between 40 and 70 percent of those taking 60 mg daily found improvement in their mobility and flexibility.
Helps with Multiple Types of Arthritis
As stated, there are hundreds of different types of arthritis, each with a different root cause. However, the majority has the same basic symptoms: joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and inflammation. Devil's claw treats these symptoms, so it can help with almost any type of arthritis. Furthermore, there is some research that shows it can help lower uric acid levels, which is the chief cause of gout, one type of arthritis. It can help relieve the symptoms and help people get back to living their lives.
Limited Side Effects
Most people turn to pain relievers or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and aspirin, to help treat their arthritis. Many of these are sold over the counter, although they can also be sold at prescription doses to also reduce inflammation. However, these drugs have side effects, including stomach bleeding and other gastrointestinal problems, increased risk of stroke and heart attacks, headaches, liver and kidney problems, and increased bleeding. Alternatively, devil's claw is relatively safe to take, although the long-term effects have not been adequate studied.
The most common side effect of taking devil's claw is diarrhea, but only a small percentage of people were affected in studies. Although it has relatively few minor side effects, pregnant or breast-feeding women should not take it. Those with GI problems, especially gallstones, ulcers, or frequently take an antacid should also avoid it. Those taking certain medication or who are on blood thinners should also avoid taking it. Although there are few side effects, in a double blind study comparing it with traditional pharmaceutical drugs, the patients taking the herb had fewer adverse side effects than those taking the drugs.
Devil's claw is a natural alternative for arthritis treatment that has been shown to work. It is one of the most popular treatment options in Europe and many in America have started to use it. Although more studies are needed, numerous studies have already shown promising results of the healing powers of this herb. As with any herbal supplement, it is best to discuss its use with your doctor to reduce any adverse reactions or interactions with medication.