Cat's Claw is a herb with the botanical name of Uncaria tomentosa. It is also known as Una de Gato, Samento and Life-giving vine of Peru.
Cat's Claw is native to Peru. The parts of the herb that are used in herbal medicine are the root and inner bark. The active constituents of Cat's Claw include a group of oxindole alkaloids,
polyphenols, plant steroids including beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol and campesterol and quinovic acid glycosides.
Herbal supplements can alter the effects of certain drugs, including prescription medications. Always tell your Doctor about any prescription medications, non-prescription medications, herbs
or other dietary supplements you are taking.
- Cat's Claw should not be used by people taking calcium channel blockers, which are a class of drugs for the control of hypertension, angina, heart failure and
heart arrhythmia, as it may increase the actions of these drugs.
- People taking antidepressant or antipsychotic medications should avoid Cat's Claw, as substances in this herb may affect the levels of
the chemicals serotonin and dopamine in the brain.
- People taking anticoagulant drugs such as warfarin should avoid Cat's Claw, as this herb may also reduce the clotting ability of the
- Cat's Claw should not be used by people taking antihypertensive drugs (those that relax the blood vessels) or hypertensive drugs (to
increase blood pressure), as as substances in Cat's Claw can reduce blood pressure levels.
- Immunosuppressant drugs (e.g. corticosteroids) should not be combined with Cat's Claw, as this herb stimulates the immune system.
Always consult your Health Professional to advise you on dosages and any possible medical interactions.
The main use for Cat's Claw is as an immune stimulating herb. This may benefit people who have recurring or chronic (long-term) infections, autoimmune disorders and chronic fatigue. People
who are recovering from an illness and who are low in energy and vitality may also benefit from this herb.
The reported immune stimulating properties of Cat's Claw, combined with an anti inflammatory action, is believed to be the reason for its traditional use in cases of allergic airway disorders
such as asthma and hay fever. Cat's Claw may also help to reduce the symptoms of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis.
When applied to the skin in the form of an ointment, Cat's Claw may help to stimulate the natural healing process of wounds, fungal infections and haemorrhoids. This may be due to an
antifungal property of the herb. Applied to herpes simplex infections, Cat's Claw may help to stimulate healing of the blisters. Care must be taken, however, to use a sterile preparation of
Cat's Claw to prevent further infection.
Another common use of Cat' s Claw is in cases of digestive disorders such as gastric ulcers, gastritis, Crohn's disease and diverticulitis. The effectiveness of Cat's Claw in treating these
conditions may be due to an anti inflammatory and immune- stimulating action.
Taking between 2 to 6 gms of the dried herb each day is considered to be a safe and effective dose. Higher doses, which may be needed in some cases, should only be taken under the supervision
of a Health Care Practitioner. If the liquid tincture of Cat's Claw is being taken, the recommended daily dosage is between 5 to 10 mls.
Astringent, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, digestive and general tonic.
- Cat's Claw is a herb with low toxicity; it is unlikely to cause side effects providing the recommended dosage is not exceeded.
- Possible side effects include dizziness and weakness.
- It is advisable to avoid Cat's Claw if pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Patients taking drugs to lower blood pressure or blood thinners should not take Cat's Claw.
- Caution should be taken in patients with recent skin grafts or organ transplants.
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