Cat’s Claw (also referred to as Una de Gato and Uncaria Tomentosa) is a perennial woody vine native to the Amazon rainforest and South and Central America that produces beautiful yellow flowers when in bloom. It’s unique name comes from the thorns on the vine that resemble the claws of a cat. The bark from the stem and root are believed to have medicinal values that treat various health problems. This coveted plant has been used by the indigenous people of those southern global regions for centuries.
Past harvesting methods where primarily taken from the root of the plant but this method was far too difficult and destructive which threatened the species. Current harvesting methods come from the stem bark which preserves the plant and there are no known morphological differences between the two areas. Vines are only harvested when the plant is at least 8 years old, otherwise the diameter of the vine is not adequate for bark removal.
Although most of the commercial production comes from Peru, other countries are showing interest in the production of Cat’s Claw due to its increased popularity and perceived medicinal properties.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Cat’s Claw?
Immune System Stimulant
Cat’s Claw has a wide range of health benefits for multiple conditions but it’s primarily sought out for its anti-inflammatory and immune system stimulation properties.
Chemical compounds in the bark are thought to block the production of prostaglandins and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) which are produced by the human body that cause inflammation. Cat’s Claw has been suggested as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) because it may help reduce inflammation. One small study of people (Source: University of Maryland Medical Center) who were already taking sulfasalazine or hydroxychloroquine to treat RA found that those who also took Cat’s Claw had fewer painful, swollen joints than those who took placebo.
Cat’s Claw has also been used in the treatment of many bowel related problems as well such as Crohn’s decease, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, and diverticulitis because of its anti-inflammatory benefits.
There are 6 oxindole alkaloids that have been researched, studies, and documented as an aid in stimulating the immune system. For that reason, Cat’s Claw has been applied to wide range of health conditions such as, Herpes infections, childbirth recovery, urinary tract infections, cancer recovery from chemotherapy side effects, fevers, wounds, AIDS/HIV Positive, and many other conditions that are the direct result of a depressed immune system.
Antioxidant (Cell Repair)
Cat’s Claw has a powerful antioxidant effect in studies that show its ability to protect gut epithelial cells from oxidant-induced apoptosis. Laboratory analysis indicates that the antioxidant power of Cat’s Claw exceeds that of many extracts of fruits, vegetables, cereals, and medicinal plants.
Additional Health Benefits From Cat’s Claw:
Anti-hypertensive, anticancerous, antiulcerous, analgesic, antidepressant, blood cleanser, detoxifier, diuretic, anticoagulant, antiviral, antibacterial, and much more.
Possible Interactions (Source: University of Maryland)
If you are currently taking any of the following medications, you should not use Cat’s Claw without first talking to your health care provider.
Medications that suppress the immune system — In theory, because Cat’s Claw may stimulate the immune system, it should not be used with medications that suppress the immune system. Those include cyclosporine or other medications prescribed following an organ transplant or to treat an autoimmune disease.
Blood-thinning medications — Cat’s Claw may increase the risk of bleeding, especially if you also take blood-thinners such as aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), or clopidogrel (Plavix).
Diuretics (water pills) — Cat’s Claw may act as a diuretic, helping the body get rid of excess fluid. If you also take diuretics, which do the same thing, you could be at risk of developing an electrolyte imbalance.
Blood pressure medication — Cat’s Claw may lower blood pressure. If you take medication for high blood pressure, taking Cat’s Claw may cause your blood pressure to be too low.
Other medications — Cat’s Claw may interfere with some medications that are processed by the liver. If you take any medications, check with your doctor before taking Cat’s Claw.
Read more: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/cats-claw-000229.htm#ixzz1v2WbN8EU
Supporting Research And Credited Sources:
Methods Of Ingesting Cat’s Claw:
Cat’s Claw comes in capsule, tea, or extract (drops) form. Each has its own benefit from absorption to convenience.
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