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Brand name: Cat's Claw Latin Name:Uncaria tomentosa                                                   A Remedy For                                                             Tendency to infection                                                   Cat's Claw appears to give the immune system a boost, accounting for its                       popularity in the treatment of AIDS, cancer, viral diseases, and other                         infections. At this point, however, there's little hard evidence that it really                       does much good.                                                   This herb also exhibits anti-inflammatory properties, making it a candidate                       for treatment of arthritis, gastritis, ulcers, and inflammatory bowel                       disorders. Again, however, proof of its effectiveness is yet to be                         demonstrated.                                                 In its native South America, Cat's Claw is a popular folk medicine for                                                   intestinal complaints, ulcers, arthritis, and wounds. Elsewhere, it has also                       been used for ailments ranging from asthma and diabetes to menstrual                         disorders, premenstrual syndrome, depression, acne, and hemorrhoids.                                                   What It Is; Why It Works                          A woody vine of up to 100 feet in length, Cat's Claw is found on trees in                         the rain forests of the Andes mountains, particularly in Peru. It earns its                       name from the sharp thorns on its stem.                                                   In addition to its immune-stimulating and anti-inflammatory actions, Cat's                       Claw has antioxidant properties that could reduce the risk of hardening of                         the arteries and heart disease. Traditionally, the bark of the root was                         considered the medicinal part, but bark from the vine is now sold in its                         stead.                                                   Avoid If...                          Because Cat's Claw may cause the immune system to reject foreign                         cells, anyone with organ or tissue transplants should avoid it, as should                         those with autoimmune illnesses, multiple sclerosis, or tuberculosis. Cat's                       Claw should also be avoided during pregnancy, and is not for children                         under 2 years of age.                                                   Special Cautions                          Children over 2 and adults over 65 should begin with mild doses and                         increase the strength gradually if needed. Use by children for more than 7                         to 10 days should be done only under the supervision of a doctor.                                                 The only potential side effect is diarrhea.                                                   Possible Drug Interactions                          European herbalists avoid combining Cat's Claw with hormonal drugs,                         insulin, and vaccines. When it's taken in conjunction with other herbs, the                       dosage may need reduction.                                                 Special Information If You Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding                                                   Avoid Cat's Claw during pregnancy, and use it with caution, if at all, while                       breastfeeding.                                                   How To Prepare                          Cat's Claw is available as crushed bark, and in capsule, tablet, alcohol                         solution (tincture), and dry extract form. To prepare Cat's Claw tea,                         combine 1 gram of bark with 1 cup of water, boil for 10 to 15 minutes,                         allow to cool, and strain.                                                   Typical Dosage                                                   Tea: 1 cup of tea 3 times per day                          Tincture: 1 to 2 milliliters up to 2 times per day                         Dry extract: 20 to 60 milligrams per day                                                 Since potency of commercial preparations may vary, follow the                                                 manufacturer' directions whenever available.                                                   Overdosage                          There is no information available. ------------------------------