Study Shows Devil’s Claw Safe for Horses

Researchers determined that Devil’s claw extract did not cause any clinically detectable adverse effects in horses following oral administration.
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Researchers determined that Devil’s claw extract did not cause any clinically detectable adverse effects in horses following oral administration. | Photo: iStock

By Jill Griffiths and Karin Zitterl-Eglseer, AoUnivProf, MagPharm, DrRerNat

The increasing popularity of alternative treatments has led to a rise in the use of devil’s claw extracts to treat chronic pain and inflammation in horses. But with little known about how the equine body responds to the plant’s active ingredients, it has been difficult to determine appropriate doses. Researchers recently evaluated horses’ response to harpagoside, the active ingredient in devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens).

Karin Zitterl-Eglseer, AoUnivProf, MagPharm, DrRerNat, of the University of Veterinary Medicine, in Vienna, Austria, said devil’s claw has been used to treat inflammatory and degenerative disorders in horses for many years but without the substantive pharmacokinetic data. Pharmacokinetics is the study of drug absorption, distribution, and excretion.

“This sort of data is important in working out appropriate doses and treatment regimes,” Zitterl-Eglseer said

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