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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
Since potency of commercial
preparations may vary, follow the
manufacturer' directions whenever
There is no information available.