Cat's Claw- Can it Heal Arthritis, Cancer, and Other Diseases?
Cat's Claw is an old herb getting new press and attention. Cat’s Claw is one of 15 of the most popular herbs used by Americans. It is also used extensively in Europe. Many call it the ‘Miracle Herb’ from the rain forests of Peru. There are answers to disease in alternative medicine and this is one of its bright new stars. I have used Cat’s Claw capsules for years to support my kidney function after a car accident. It is one of the herbs important in our household for better health. Learn about the exciting research showing Cat’s Claw amazing health benefits.
Cat's Claw (una de gato):
Cat's Claw, is a woody vine, that grows naturally in the rain forests of Peru, and in some areas of South and Central America. . It was named because of its hook like horns, resembling cat’s claws. Its root and bark is considered to be superior by many over Echinacea, Golden Seal, Astragalus, and Mushrooms.
There are two different species of Cat’s Claw with important differences (uncaria tomentosa or uncaria quianensis). Uncaria guianensis contains more tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids or TOAs. Uncaria tomentosa contains more pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids. Native cultures used both species bark and root for healing. Both alkaloids were present as they cut the roots and bark, then making the medicinal tea. So often in nature, a natural plant will contain fractions that create balance between the different medicinal properties. When you isolate certain properties, it often creates a altered natural medicine that does give side effects. You have disturbed the herbs natural, balanced healing properties and benefits.
In Peru many tribes including the Aguaruna, Ashaninka, Cashibo, and Shipibo have used this herb to treat asthma, ulcers, cancer, and other diseases for over 2000 years. Many of these tribes use it successfully to treat different cancers including female urinary tract cancer.
The Ashaninka natives in Peru are recorded to have used Cat’s Claw for the longest period of time in their cultural history and are the main people now providing it to commercial companies. They feel the herb restores peace and good health, when blockages occur between the mind, spirit, and body. There are so many potent herbal plants in the Amazon rain forest which is being destroyed by cutting down the plants to make way for more cities. If this continues, these potent life saving herbal medicines will be lost forever.
The main species used in supplements is uncaria tomentosa, rather than uncaria quianensis which is the more common species in Peru. This has to do with the tetracyclic oxindole alkaloid or TOA content. There is still a lot of controversy over the two species and which is the most effective in health. Before you buy a supplement, look at the ingredient label to see which species of cat's claw is in the supplement.
How Cat’s Claw is used in Europe and other countries:
Cat’s Claw is used in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, digestive system problems such as diverticulitis, colitis, gastritis, ulcers, hemorrhoids, and leakly bowel syndrome.
Cat’s Claw has been shown to stimulate the immune system so is used with viral infectioins, shingles, cold sores, herpes simplex, AIDS, and HIV.
In Europe and other nations, it is used in cancer, urinary tract cancer, brain cancer, and in kidney problems.
What have research studies shown on Cat’s Claw:
Research studies have shown that Cat's Claw is an adaptogen. That means like ginseng and certain other herbs, that is helps the whole body to work more effectively. It supports the glands and organs so that they work more harmoniously. This would help any imbalance or disease. Cat's Claw is also a detoxifier which means it cleans out toxins from the body.
Along with Cat's Claw being an adaptogen, it also possesses other medicinal qualities. Research has shown it to be anti-microbial, antioxidant, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor. It also boosts the immune system. Among the researchers is the National Institute for Health who has put it on their list as an anti-cancer herb.
In lab research, Cat’s Claw has been shown successful against breast cancer cells, leukemia cells, and other cancer cell. That backs up the native use for cancer documented over time for its value against cancer.
Cat’s Claw research started long ago with a German natural scientist, named Arturo Bell in 1916. He used Cat’s Claw successfully with his arthritis pain. He then shared this knowledge with Luis Schuler, who was dying on terminal lung cancer. He was cured on the lung cancer a year later after drinking cat’s claw tea three times a day. So the benefits of Cat’s Claw have been known even in the more scientific circles for a long time.
One very important researcher and expert on Cat's Claw is Klaus Keplinger in Austria. Keplinger was issued 4 patents between 1989 and 1990 for his discovery of 6 different alkaloids from the Cat's Claw root that boost the immune function. Another alkaloid, rynchophylline, has been shown in research to help prevent strokes, lower blood pressure, increase circulation, and inhibit plaque formation and clots. Keplinger combined these alkaloids from Cat's Claw into a medicine sold in those countries.
Dr. Fernando Cabieses, a well respected professor, researcher, neurologist, and neurosurgeon in Lima, Peru has extensively studied Cat's Claw. He has written a book, The Saga of Cat's Claw, giving research evidence on the great value of this herb in treating disease.
Historical Native Use Evidence is Important
Native people do not have access to doctors and antibiotics. They have relied on herbs to heal their disease with success for hundreds and thousands of years. If you have a tumor and it goes away with Cat's claw, you have to take notice. When this happens many times over years, you have to concede that it must work. Just because you don't know why, only means it has not been researched enough to find out.
The use by Native cultures over the span of generations is a great research trial. It stands to reason, if an herb does not positively affect a health problem, you will discontinue using it. You keep taking something that works.
Natives have used Cat's Claw with tumors and other diseases for years. Since these natives survived their tumors and illness, you would have to deduce the herbs worked. Herb use over generations is proof the herb works. These herbs are used by real people who are very ill with no access to standard medicine. Herbal medicine is used in the worst of circumstances where villagers live with poor living conditions, bad water, bugs, and poor housing. In these dire circumstances, herbs work on colds, flu, diarrhea, and diseases like tumors. Death is higher in bad living conditions, but their tribe survives.
If herbal medicine was not successful, their tribe would no longer exist. That should tell you a lot. Civilizations survived because of herbal medicine since time began. We have human life today because herbal medicine worked over illness and disease.
Cat’s Claws Proven Health Benefits include:
Scientific Research: Numerous research studies conducted on Cat's Claw have resulted in exciting, positive researches that support the many, very positive health benefits for this important healing herb.
- Potent Antioxidants: important and effective antioxidant benefits that are superior to many other known vegetables and plants.
- Effective Anti-inflammatory factors beneficial and effective in various forms of arthritis including osteoarthritis, RA, knee pain, and arthritis in general.
- Medicinal properties demonstrated in lab studies that Cat’s Claw stops the replication of breast cancer cells, and other cancer that supports native usage for thousands of years.
- Holistic veterinarian use today to treat dogs and cats for arthritis and hip dysplasia.
- Anti-fertility properties so this herb should not be used when trying to get pregnant or during pregnancy. I would not use it during nursing either because of the potent alkaloids. Always consult your OBGYN doctor before taking supplements while pregnant or nursing.
Herb Treatment Is Individual: The dosage of herb needed to cause an effect is individual. The time needed for healing is individual. The quality of the herb product by itself can either make or break a research project. Research projects have numerous weaknesses and pitfalls. Their results are often wrong. Science is only right until it is proven wrong. In ancient times, it was considered a fact that the world was flat. Women were told that estrogen supplementation was the perfect solution for hormonal health problems.
It was once stated that antibiotic resistance was not an issue. Doctors were educated by greedy German pharmaceutical companies that heroine was not addicting. There have been many lies perpetuated by flawed and fraudulent research studies. The use of an herb over 2000 years seems much more significant. The people who have used these herbs know they work and keep using them because of that. Generations of people lived through cancer and disease before the advent of modern drugs including antibiotics. Some of these native people live to be over 100 years old. They are mentally and physically healthy. Think about it.
Cat's Claw Quality: There are several species in the Cat's Claw family that look similar. These different species vary in their alkaloids and medicinal qualities. Some products being sold do not contain the correct species of Una De Gato. You cannot tell that from looking at the powder. Only microscopic tests can know the truth. Make sure you buy from a quality company that tests its batches of herb material to make sure it is pure Una De Gato.
I do hope you will read and explore the links below for more research on this valuable healing herb.
Kate Freer. Master Herbalist, Medical Researcher, and Freelance Writer
Moringa and Healing Herbs
http://herbladyisintoday.blogspot.com (Growing and Using Moringa and Healing Herbs)
herbladyisin.blogspot.com (Alternative Medicine In the News Blog)
Disclaimer: Always consult your physican before starting an herbal supplement. The information in this article is to provide education only and not to prescribe or offer medical advice. This article was not reviewed or approved of by the FDA or AMA.
Copyright: 2010 through 2020
You are not allowed to copy any part of this article for any reason without permission from Kate Freer