It might have an odd sounding name but this amazing herb packs a mighty punch. In this blog you will find some very interesting research that we wanted to share.
What is Cats Claw?
Cat's claw is a large, woody vine that derives its name from hook-like thorns that grow along the vine and resemble the claws of a cat. Cat's claw is indigenous to the Amazon rainforest and other tropical areas of South and Central America, including Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Trinidad, Venezuela, Suriname, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Panama.
Tribal and Herbal Medicine Uses
Cats Claw 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."
With so many documented traditional uses of this important rainforest plant, it is not surprising that it came to the attention of Western researchers and scientists. Studies began in the early 1970s when Klaus Keplinger, a journalist and self-taught ethnologist from Innsbruck, Austria, organized the first definitive work on cat's claw. Keplinger's work in the 1970s and 1980s led to several extracts of cat's claw being sold in Austria and Germany as herbal drugs, as well as the filing of four U.S. patents describing extraction procedures for the immune-stimulating oxindole alkaloids.
Biological Activities and Clinical Research
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).
Dr. Brent Davis, D.C. has written several articles on cat's claw and refers to it as the "opener of the way" for its ability to cleanse the entire intestinal tract and its effectiveness in treating stomach and bowel disorders (such as Crohn's disease, leaky bowel syndrome, ulcers, gastritis, diverticulitis, and other inflammatory conditions of the bowel, stomach, and intestines).
Dr. Julian Whitaker, M.D. reports using cat's claw for its immune-stimulating effects, for cancer, to help prevent strokes and heart attacks, to reduce blood clots, and for diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome.
Current Practical Applications
Cat's claw has grown quite popular in the natural products industry and is mostly taken today to boost immune function, as an all over tonic and preventative to stay healthy, for arthritis and inflammation, for bowel and colon problems, and as an complementary therapy for cancer. The most common forms used today are cat's claw capsules and tablets, both of which have become widely available in most health food stores at reasonable prices. There are also newer (and more expensive) proprietary extracts of cat's claw in tablets and capsules, some backed by research-albeit paid-for research.
The health-promoting properties of cat’s claw extracts exemplify why scientists believe the rich plant life of the Amazon rain forest may contain countless undiscovered medicinal agents with applications for human health.
Cat’s Claw demonstrates powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as immune-modulating capabilities. As such, cat’s claw is emerging as an important new agent for relieving joint discomfort, protecting the integrity of DNA and staving off infection.