Devils Claw - A Natural Anti-Inflammatory for Horses

Devils claw root a natural equne anti-inflammatory Devil's Claw is a useful natural herbal equine anti-inflammatory and analgesic for providing pain relief to horses and ponies and reducing inflammation in equine joints.

It been proven to be an effective replacement for phenylbutazone ('bute') and cortisone - with the added benefit of not having the side effects of these equine medicines.

Devil's Claw is particularly useful in providing pain relief to competition and sports horses and ponies as most preparations do not contain any banned substances.

But if you do compete with your horse or pony it would be wise to check with the controlling authories for the discipline that you compete in before giving any Devil's Claw preparations to your horse.

The name Devil's Claw refers to the hooked, claw-like seedpods of the shrub (Harpagophytum procumbens) from whose roots it is extracted.

Devil's Claw Root is recommended for horses and ponies that suffer from joint and muscular problems and is also used as a treatment to aid the healing of equine degenerative bone disease.

Equine joints take a lot of wear, tear and stress and sometimes need extra help. Horse owners who have used this herbal remedy have reported measurable improvement in their horse's joint and muscle movement.

It is important for the general well-being of an older horse or pony that it is kept regularly exercised as long as he is sound enough to do so.

Adding Devil's Claw as an equine feed supplement to a veteran horse's feed can help to relieve the general stiffness which is often evident as a horse or pony ages - sometimes it can be as effective as the prescribed medicines and injections to treat equine arthritis.

In tests the anti-inflammatory action of Devil's Claw has been found to be equal to that of steroids.

Devil's Claw has also been shown to have analgesic, sedative and diuretic properties on horses.

Devils Claw preparations can be added to your horse or pony's feed, or, if preferred, can be given by a dose syringe straight into the horses mouth.

The amount to dose can vary according the the strength of the supplement - so it is best to follow the manufacturer's recommendations for dosage.

How Devils Claw works on horses

The two main recognised active ingredients in Devil's Claw Root are Beta Sitosterol and Harpagoside which are known as Iridoid Glycosides.

Research has suggested that the anti-inflammatory and analgesic action of Devils Claw is due to these Iridoid Glycosides reducing inflammation in a pony or  horse's joints.

History of the use of Devils Claw

For centuries healers in Africa have used the tubers of Devils Claw to treat diseases including cancer, intestinal disorders and fevers.

Europeans brought Devil's Claw home from their travels as a treatment for arthritis.

In the 1920s a German agriculturist began investigating the medicinal effectiveness of the plant.

He perfected a way of drying the root of the plant without any loss of potency so that it could be kept and used at a later date .

Between 1950 and 1970 European scientists conducted several trials which demonstrated anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of Devils Claw.


Do not feed Devils Claw to pregnant mares.

Check that the preparation that you choose doesn't contain any banned substances if you intend to compete with your horse.

devils claw

About the plant Devil's Claw

The botanical name for Devil's Claw is Harpagophytum procumbens. It is part of the sesame family.

It also known as Wood Spider or Grapple Plant.

The name Devil's Claw came from the appearance of the seed pod , which looks like a claw, and is about approximately the size of a human hand, with 8 or more "fingers" bent downwards and another 8 bent upwards.

The plant's seeds are kept in these protective pods until climatic conditions are right for sowing and germination.

The shrub grows in Southern Botswana, Namibia, Southern Africa, particularly in the Kalahari Desert.

It is the fleshy tubers, which store water from the rainy season, growing on the taproot of the plant which are used medicinally. These tubers are about 20cm long.

  Devil's Claw - a natural herbal anti-inflammatory and analgesic for horses and ponies.
  Useful in providing pain relief to competition and sports horses and reducing
  inflammation in equine joints. Advice about feeding Devil's Claw to horses.