The cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa) is a climbing plant found in the rainforests of Peru and Brazil and is so named because its thorns are in the shape of a cat’s claw.
It has been used in traditional South American medicine for many years to treat infections, arthritis and gastrointestinal disorders.
It has recently become the subject of serious scientific study, with the first results of studies conducted in Asia, Europe and North America being particularly encouraging, indicating that this herb actually reduces inflammation, stimulates the immune system, kills them viruses and helps protect against heart disease. A cat’s claw can also prove to be an effective treatment for HIV / AIDS and some cancers.
Cat’s claw is a proven anti-inflammatory. Numerous studies have shown that it stimulates white blood cells to fight infections, while an Italian study showed that cat nails significantly reduced the ability of two viruses to cause infection. The cat’s claw derives its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory abilities from the many phytochemicals it contains, which have a healing effect on the body. Quinobic acid glycosides cool inflammation and alkaloid oxyndoles and proanthocyanidins boost the immune system.
Cat nails also contain sterols, which are chemical compounds that act as steroids in the body, and can also be used to treat arthritis. Studies in animals that took the cat’s claw found that the herb reduced swelling by about 50%.
The cat’s claw can help detoxify the intestinal tract and supply the gut with friendly bacteria, which are useful for those suffering from gastrointestinal disorders, especially those caused by inflammation.
A study conducted at the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Shanghai found that the cat’s claw helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure and helps stop the formation of arterial plaque and blood clots that cause most heart attacks and strokes.
Some of the possible uses of cat nails are in the treatment of cancerous tumors. Cancer studies have found evidence that cat nails can help treat cancer patients by improving the effects of chemotherapy.
At the same time, the antioxidant properties of cat nails in combination with the strengthening it offers to the immune system, help the body eliminate toxins caused by chemotherapy and radiation.
Cat’s claw is available in capsule or tincture form. In Australia and Germany it is sold only with a prescription. Although there are no reports of toxic overdose in people taking cat litter, this drug is relatively new to scientific study and it is not yet known how it interacts with other herbs or prescription drugs.
People taking insulin for diabetes, pregnant women and breastfeeding women should not take this herb. Also, any person who has a serious medical condition should consult a doctor before taking this or any other herbal supplement.