This is a thorny vine that can climb as high as 100 feet.
The plant is a climbing shrub (vine-like) with claw-like thorns on the stems.
This healing herb consists of the dried bark from the root or stem of Uncaria tomentosa or Uncaria guianensis (two Amazonian vines).
The herb earns its' name from the curved thorns on the vine that resemble the claws of a cat.
The thorny spines are woody, paired, and curved like a cat's claw.
The sap has a watery and astringent taste.
The bark is fissured and ranges from a yellow to yellowish-green in color.
The inner bark and roots are used in medicinal preparations.
Cats-Claw has a long history of use as a folk medicine by native peoples to treat intestinal complaints, asthma, wounds, cancer, tumors, arthritis, inflammations, diabetes, irregularities of the menstrual cycle, fevers, ulcers, dysentery, and rheumatism.
The inner bark of cats claw is the main source of medicinal activity, although the roots and leaves are also used.
Cats Claw contains different alkaloidal constituents, pentacyclic oxindoles and tetracyclic oxindoles.
The active constituents are quite variable and depend upon the time of the year when the plant is harvested.
While the stem bark has some activity, the root is three to four times more active than the stem bark.
Uses & Health Benefits
Cats-Claw is used as a medicinal herb primarily for immune system stimulation.
This healing herbs immunostimulating properties enhance the function of white blood cells to attack and digest carcinogenic substances and harmful microorganisms that may inhibit the growth of cancer cells and tumors.
Krallendon, an immune-boosting extract of cats claw, is used in the treatment of AIDS patients and persons who are HIV positive.
It also exhibits anti-inflammatory properties, and is effective in the treatment of arthritis, gastritis, ulcers, and inflammatory bowel disorders.
As well, it has a healing effect on the digestive system and good results have been achieved in treating chronic fatigue syndrome.
It's anti-inflammatory actions have been effective in relieving the inflammation and swelling prevalent in arthritis, rheumatism, and joint pain.
Rynchophylline, one of the alkaloids isolated from cats claw, has anti-hypertensive properties that may be beneficial in preventing the risk of strokes and heart attacks by reducing heart rate, lowering blood pressure, increasing circulation, and lowering blood cholesterol levels.
It's anti-inflammatory activity is due mainly to the glycosides present in the plant.
These glycosides work synergistically to reduce the edema associated with the inflammatory reaction.
Dosage & Administration
Standardized root and bark extracts are available in forms of dry extract, crushed bark, capsule, tablet, tea, and tincture.
Extracts are often standardized to 4 percent alkaloid content for effective results.
Dosages of commercial preparations range from 250 to 1000 milligrams daily.
A tea can be made by boiling the root bark of Cats-Claw in water for five to 10 minutes and then straining the water.
A recommended dose is one cup of tea three times daily.
Dry, encapsulated standardized extract are taken with 20 to 60 mg daily.
Side Effects & Precautions
Few side effects have been reported from using cats claw at recommended doses.
Cats claw should not be used by individuals with skin grafts or tuberculosis or by those receiving organ transplants.
*** NOTE ***
This healing herb is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women or for women who are trying to conceive.
Children under the age of two should not take cats claw.
This herb should not be combined with hormonal drugs, insulin, and vaccines.Tweet
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