Common Name: Cat’s claw
Botanical Name: Uncaria tomentosa
AKA: Una de Gato
What is Cat’s claw aka una de gato?
Cat’s claw or una de gato is a botanical herb found in the Amazon rain-forest of South America. Una de Gato grows as a woody vine in the Peruvian rain-forest. Cat’s claw vine can reach up to 100 feet. It got its nick name cat’s claw from the unique shape claw-like thorns that protrude from the base of its leaves much like claws of a cat. Cat’s claw or Una de Gato was traditionally used by Peruvian Indian natives for centuries as medicine. Traditionally the most important parts of this herb are the inner bark and root which has several active ingredients chemicals called alkaloids oxindole. This alkaloids enhances the immunity and reduces inflammation. Cat’s claw has gained the attention of many researchers recently because of these beneficial uses. This herb has become so popular in United States and Europe, that the Peruvian government has banned the harvesting of this root to protect this spices from destruction. The compound that is present in the root is also present in the inner-bark so it is allowed to be harvested three feet above ground.
Una de Gato benefits and uses :
Cat’s claw has anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti bacterial, anti-tumor, anti-carcinogenic and anti-mutagenic properties. This is all because of beneficial alkaloids and phytochemicals present in this plant. However Cat’s claw is used by practitioners of alternative medicine to treat the following:
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Leaky Gut
- Crohn’s disease
- Gastric ulcers
- Chronic pain
- Treating Tumors and Cysts
- Repairs DNA
- Used to treat AIDS and HIV patients
- Lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Treating depression, anxiety and obesity.
Who should not take Cat’s claw:
- Pregnant or lactating women
- Women trying to get pregnant
Drug Interactions: Cat’s claw interacts with certain medications. People with auto-immune diseases should consult a practitioner before taking Cat’s claw, as it makes the immune system more active. At the same time, because Cat’s claw is broken down in the liver, it should not be taken with any other prescription medicines that are broken down in the liver. Some of the medicines that interact with Cat’s claw are :
- Medicines used for allergies like fexofenadine
- Cholesterol lowering drugs like lovastatin
- Anti fungal medicines
- Cancer medicines
- High blood pressure medicines like losartan, amlodipine.
- Certain medications that decrease the immunity like prednisone and corticosteroids.
- Anti-coagulants like warfrin
- NSAID pain relievers
In what form is Cat’s claw available ?
Cat’s claw is available in the form of freeze dried capsules, standardized root and bark usually containing 3% alkaloids and 15% phenols extract, tea, powdered and tincture form. Because herbs and supplements are not governed and monitored, it is always safe to buy standardized extract of Cat’s claw.
DISCLAIMER: This article is written for informative purposes only. Do not make any changes to your diet, lifestyle, or treatment plan before contacting your physician or health care provider.