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Cats Claw Properties

Uncaria tomentosa

 
 

Names

History

Constituents

Uses

Family: Rubiaceae Genus
Uncaria surinamensis
Nauclea aculeata
N. tomentosa
Ourouparia tomentosa

Common Names:

Cat's claw
uńa de gato
paraguayo
garabato
garbato casha
samento
toroń
tambor huasca
uńa huasca
uńa de gavilan
hawk's claw
saventaro
Parts Used:

Vine bark, root.

Cat's claw (U. tomentosa) has been used medicinally by the Aguaruna, Asháninka, Cashibo, Conibo, and Shipibo tribes of Peru for at least 2,000 years.
The Asháninka Indian tribe in central Peru has the longest recorded history of use of the plant. They are also the largest commercial source of cat's claw from Peru today.

The Asháninka use cat's claw to treat asthma, inflammations of the urinary tract, arthritis, rheumatism, and bone pain; to recover from childbirth; as a kidney cleanser; to cure deep wounds; to control inflammation and gastric ulcers; and for cancer.
Indigenous tribes in Piura use cat's claw to treat tumors, inflammations, rheumatism, and gastric ulcers.
Other Peruvian indigenous tribes use cat's claw to treat diabetes, urinary tract cancer in women, hemorrhages, menstrual irregularity, cirrhosis, fevers, abscesses, gastritis, rheumatism, tumors, and inflammations as well as for internal cleansing and to "normalize the body."
Reportedly, cat's claw has also been used as a contraceptive by several different tribes of Peru (but only in very large dosages). Dr.Fernando Cabieses, M.D., a noted authority on Peruvian medicinal plants, explains that the Asháninka boil 5 to 6 kg (about 12 pounds) of the root in water until it is reduced to little more than 1 cup. This decoction is then taken 1 cup daily during the period of menstruation for three consecutive months; this supposedly causes sterility for three to four years. Cat's claw has been used in Peru and Europe since the early 1990s as an adjunctive treatment for cancer and AIDS as well as for other diseases that target the immune system. In herbal medicine today, cat's claw is employed around the world for many different conditions, including immune disorders, gastritis, ulcers, cancer, arthritis, rheumatism, rheumatic disorders, neuralgias, chronic inflammation of all kinds, and such viral diseases as herpes zoster (shingles).

Other Properties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use:

analgesic (pain-reliever), anticoagulant (blood thinner), antidysenteric, blood cleanser, detoxifier, diuretic, gastrotonic (tones, balances, strengthens the gastric system), hypocholesterolemic (lowers cholesterol), tonic (tones, balances, strengthens overall body functions), wound healer
ajmalicine
akuammigine
campesterol
catechin
carboxyl alkyl esters
chlorogenic acid
cinchonain
corynantheine
corynoxeine
daucosterol
epicatechin
harman
hirsuteine
hirsutine
iso-pteropodine
loganic acid
lyaloside
mitraphylline
oleanolic acid
palmitoleic acid
procyanidins
pteropodine quinovic acid glycosides
rhynchophylline
rutin
sitosterols
speciophylline
stigmasterol
strictosidines
uncarine A thru F
and vaccenic acid.
Vine Bark reduces inflammation
kills viruses ;
protects cells
detoxifies
fights free radicals
cleanses blood
cleanses bowel
increases urination
kills cancer cells
kills leukemia cells
lowers blood pressure
reduces cholesterol
tones and balances
decreases depression
Antibacterial
Antimutagenic/anti tumorous
Anti-inflammatory
Antioxidant
Antiviral
Immunostimulant
Depurative1
Diuretic
Hypotensive
Vermifuge
Crohn's disease
diverticulitis
leaky bowel syndrome
colitis
hemorrhoids
fistulas
gastritis
psoriasis
parasites and intestinal flora imbalance

environmental toxic poisoning
neurobronchitis
Varicella Zoster
genital herpes
menopause
andropause

"extends immunity from pneumonia vaccine in HIV patients as an adjunctive to antiretroviral therapy, stabilizes and/or reduces CD4-cell count, increases vitality and mobility... reduces HIV-related symptoms."2

"Krallendorn", an extract of Cats claw root, has been effective in reducing the unpleasant side effects of both AZT and radiation therapy when used in the treatment of cancer

Veterinary use, with benefits in dogs and cats with hip dysplasia, arthritis, cancers, Parvo virus, dermatitis and other skin disorders, tumors, FIV, and feline leukemia3.


1. see definition


2. ref: HIV and AIDS / also Zoster Info

3. ref: Cats Claw for Cats and Dogs!




Contra-Indications



Cautions: Do not use before or after an organ or bone marrow transplant since it boosts immune function. May also have a mild blood thinning effect.


to contra-indications references



A Standard Dosage stimulates immune system, and relieves pain


Decoction:


1 cup twice daily protects cells detoxifies Capsules: 1-2 g 2-3 fights free radicals cleanses blood times daily cleanses bowel increases urination Fluid Extract: 2-4 ml kills cancer cells lowers blood pressure twice daily kill leukemia cells reduces cholesterol Tincture: 2-4 ml tones and balances decreases depression twice daily Standardized Extract: follow the label instructions.


Traditional Preparation:

For general immune and prevention benefits, practitioners usually recommend 1 g daily of vine powder in tablets or capsules. Therapeutic dosages of cat's claw are reported to be as high as 20 g daily and average 2-3 grams two or three times daily.

Generally, as a natural aid for arthritis and bowel and digestive problems 3-5 g daily is recommended, if a good product is obtained.

Alternatively, a standard vine bark decoction can be used much the same way indigenous people of the Amazon use it. The dosage for a standard decoction for general health and maintenance is 1/2-1 cup of a decoction once daily and up to 1 cup three times daily in times of special needs.

Adding lemon juice or vinegar to the decoction when boiling will help extract more alkaloids and fewer tannins from the bark. Use about 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar per cup of water. For standardized and/or proprietary extract products, follow the label instructions


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contra-indications (2)

                New Research into Contra-Indications

Cat's claw has been clinically documented with immunostimulant effects and is contraindicated before or following any organ or bone marrow transplant or skin graft.

Cat's claw has been documented with antifertility properties and is contraindicated in persons seeking to get pregnant. However, this effect has not been proven to be sufficient for the product to be used as a contraceptive, and it should not be relied on for such.

Cat's claw has chemicals that can reduce platelet aggregation and thin the blood. Check with your doctor first if you are taking coumadin or other blood-thinning drugs and discontinue use one week to ten days prior to any major surgical procedure.

Cat's claw vine bark requires sufficient stomach acid to help break down the tannins and alkaloids during digestion and to aid in absorption. Avoid taking bark capsules or tablets at the same time as antacids. Avoid taking high tannin (dark-colored) liquid extracts and tinctures directly by mouth and dilute first in water or acidic juice (such as orange juice).

Large dosages of cat's claw (3-4 gram dosages at a time) have been reported to cause some abdominal pain or gastrointestinal problems, including diarrhea (due to the tannin content of the vine bark) in some people. The diarrhea or loose stools tend to be mild and go away with continued use. Discontinue use or reduce dosage if diarrhea persists longer than three or four days.



Drug Interactions:

To ArticleDue to its immunostimulant effects, cat's claw should not be used with medications intended to suppress the immune system, such as cyclosporin or other medications prescribed following an organ transplant. (This theory has not been proven scientifically.)

Based upon in vivo rat studies, cat's claw may protect against gastrointestinal damage associated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen.

Cat's claw may potentiate coumadin and blood-thinning drugs.


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To Companions Article: Cat's Claw


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