Native to Peru and Brazil, this climbing vine has been used in South American medicine for many years to treat infections, arthritis, and gastrointestinal disorders. However, more and more studies are underway to determine its efficacy in the treatment of HIV/AIDS and known cancers, which warrants a closer look at the health benefits derived from a cat’s claw.
Recent studies in Asia, Europe and North America indicate this herb may reduce inflammation, stimulate the immune system, kill viruses, and protect against heart disease. This is exciting news and scientists are exploring its use in several treatments. Claw is a root bark used as a medicine that grows in the rain forest of the Andes Mountains. It is so-called due to the woody vine that twines up trees and has two curved thorns that look like a cat’s claws at the base of its leaves.
As an anti-inflammatory, a cat’s claw stimulates white blood cells to fight infection. The compounds within it act like steroids in the body, which are used to treat arthritis. Recent studies reveal it can reduce swelling by half. Acting as a detoxification agent, a cat’s claw boosts the immune system and aids in those who suffer from gastrointestinal disorders involving inflammation. A study was conducted in which the use of a cat’s claw inhibited the formation of plaque deposits in the arteries.
Research has also revealed that a cat’s claw may be utilized as a treatment for cancerous tumors. The National Cancer Institute did find evidence of its anti-tumour effects. It allows for improving chemotherapy in cancer patients, and because of its antioxidant properties could help the body eliminate toxins that are initially caused by chemo and radiation therapy. However, official studies and testing by the FDA has not been conducted or published.
The ingredients in Cat’s claw enhance the immune system by stimulating the immune response and act as antioxidants to rid the body of free radicals, or bad cells. Compounds found in Cat’s Claw also work to kill viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms that cause disease, and they work to inhibit healthy cells from becoming cancerous.
This herb has anti-inflammatory properties that help to relieve arthritis, gout, and other inflammatory problems. In addition, a cat’s claw promotes the healing of wounds, helps in the treatment of ulcers, and may help in relieving chronic pain. Also, many health practitioners have reported successes in using the herb to treat Crohn’s disease. Moreover, used as tea, a cat’s claw rinse clears up eye infections, and the powdered herb has been used between toes to clear up athlete’s foot.
As with any herb or supplement, it is strongly advised to check with your doctor before taking the cat’s claw. While no reports of toxicity or adverse effects are known, it is always advisable to be cautious when adding any supplement to your diet regimen.