An ongoing trial of the herbal remedy devil’s claw for treating osteoarthritis of the knee and hip joints is being undertaken at the University of Southampton.
A study, at the University of Maryland of more than 100 people found that the herbal remedy reduced pain and improved mobility as good as standard doses of medication.
It is thought that it works by reducing inflammation and conventional treatment includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. However, long term use of these drugs has been associated with stomach problems, whereas they think devil’s claw may be an effective alternative.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) include ibuprofen and aspirin work by helping inflammation pain and fever. However they can cause problems with your stomach by reducing the activity of folic acid, which is needed to reduce homocysteine, an inflammatory compound linked to heart disease.
They can also raise the risk of stomach ulcers and bleeding which can leave you lacking in iron.
You can however take Folic acid once of twice daily to help with this but iron can only be taken for up to three months and only with GP approval.
I did a trial of devil’s claw for my pain and I was so impressed with the reduction in pain that I bought some for my Dad to try for his arthritic knee. Unfortunately for me I still needed a number of other painkillers to help with the pain but Dad did find it helped a little with his knee. He has since had a knee replacement.