Question: I was told Devil's Claw is contraindicated with ulcers.  Is this true?  Thank you.

Dr. Kellon: In traditional herbal medicine, Devil's Claw is classified as a "bitter". Bitters are believed to improve digestion by stimulating the release of stomach acid, but this has never actually been proven to happen.  In addition, horses are different from humans in that they have constant secretion of stomach acid anyway, not just eating-stimulated.  I have personally used Devil's Claw in horses proven by endoscopy to have gastric ulcers which could not tolerate phenylbutazone and there was no problem.  Individual animals may react differently to herbs, foods or medications, but the general precaution to avoid Devil's Claw when gastric ulcers are suspected is unsubstantiated.