Cat's Claw - March Featured Herb (Unique Perceptions)


Cat's Claw is a woody vine found in the tropical jungles of South and Central America, which derives its name from its claw-shaped thorns. There are two species of cat's claw, Uncaria tomentosa and Uncaria guianensis, which are of primary interest for use as medicine. Uncaria tomentosa is most commonly used in the U.S. and South America and Uncaria guianensis is typically used in Europe. Medicine is made from the root and bark. Uncaria tomentosa is used traditionally in Peruvian medicine for the treatment of a wide range of health problems, particularly digestive complaints and arthritis and to treat wounds, stomach problems, cancer, and more. Today, it has become one of the best selling herbs in the USA.

Cat's Claw Benefits

Properties
Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antioxidant, antitumorous, antiviral, cytostatic, depurative, diuretic, hypotensive, immunostimulant, vermifuge

Cat's Claw can often be found combined with other 'immune' herbs with similar healing properties such as Echinacea and may:

Safety Concerns

Cat's claw should not be used by pregnant or lactating women. Diarrhea may occur when taken in high doses. There is some evidence that cat's claw might lower blood pressure. If your blood pressure is already too low, this might be a problem. Leukemia: Cat's claw might worsen this condition. Don't use it if you have leukemia. Auto-immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), or other similar conditions: Cat's claw might cause the immune system to become more active, and this could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it's best to avoid using cat's claw without consulting with your healthcare provider. Surgery: There is a concern that cat's claw might make blood pressure control difficult during surgery. Stop taking cat's claw at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Dosage

For adults:
  1. Tea: 1 - 10 g (1,000 mg) root bark in 8 ounces water; boil 10 - 15 minutes, cool, and strain. Drink 1 cup 3 times daily.
  2. Capsules: 100 mg per day for osteoarthritis; 250 - 350 mg per day for immune support

Cats Claw Composition

Cat's claw contains chemicals that might stimulate the immune system, kill cancer cells, and fight viruses.

The most attention has been given to the oxindole alkaloids found in the bark and roots of Cats Claw, which have been documented to stimulate the immune system. It is these seven different alkaloids that are credited with having a variety of different medicinal and healing properties. The most immunologically active alkaloid is believed to be Isopteropodin (Isomer A), which increases the immune response in the body and act as antioxidants to rid the body of free radicals. Compounds found in Cat's Claw may also work to kill viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms that cause disease, and they work to inhibit healthy cells from becoming cancerous.

It has been suggested that Cat's claw extracts exert a direct anti-proliferative activity on MCF7 (a breast cancer cell line). This has led to its use as a adjunctive treatment for cancer and AIDS as well as other diseases that negatively impact the immunological system. In addition, the presence of glycosides, proanthocyanidins and beta sitosterol help provide anti-viral and anti-inflammatory support for the body. These alkaloids also exert a beneficial effect on memory. Cat's claw is considered a remarkably potent inhibitor of TNF-alpha production.

This herb's anti-inflammatory properties may help to relieve arthritis, gout, and other inflammatory problems. The primary mechanism for Cat's claw anti-inflammatory actions appears to be immunomodulation via suppression of TNF-alpha synthesis.

Cat's Claw may help create support for the intestinal and immune systems of the body, and may also creates intestinal support with its ability to cleanse the entire intestinal tract. This cleansing helps create support for people experiencing different stomach and bowel disorders, including: colitis, Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and leaky bowel syndrome.

In addition, in one study, human volunteers who took Cat's claw for 8 weeks showed improved DNA repair.

References

  1. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-395-CAT'S%20CLAW.aspx?activeIngredientId=395&activeIngredientName=CAT%27S%20CLAW
  2. http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-cats-claw.html
  3. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/cats-claw#ixzz2rG5cMayN