Devil's claw (Harpagophytum procumbens)

Devil's claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is a medicinal plant native to South Africa and Namibia that has been used successfully for many years to support joint mobility.


Devil's claw is a plant species that is mainly native to the dry regions of Namibia, Angola, South Africa and Botswana. The tuberous, dried storage roots of devil's claw contain bitter substances (iridoid glycosides, including harpagoside as the main component), phenylethanol derivatives and secondary plant substances such as flavonoids.


Devil's claw extracts have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. It has not yet been scientifically clarified exactly which ingredients are responsible for this, although the substance harpagoside probably plays a key role. 

Possible uses

​Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, devil's claw is preferably used as a cure for inflammatory and chronic joint complaints in order to improve the horse's mobility and quality of life. 

Important to know

  • As devil’s claw can provoke contractions of the longitudinal uterine muscles in mammalians (suspicious for induction of abortion), the use is not recommended during pregnancy
  • According to several investigations, no side effects associated with Harpagophytum procumbens have been reported in horses, therefore it can be regarded as mild alternative to long-term use of NSAIDs