Cats Claw Herb Benefits and Side Effects

Cats Claw Herb Benefits and Side Effects

Cat's claw, is also known as the Healing Vine of Peru and Uña de Gato,

While cat's claw is not the most well know medicinal herb, it is considered a valuable medicinal resource and is a highly protected plant in Peru, where it grows naturally. Presently, very little scientific research has been dedicated to testing the merits of cat's claw, but many cultures native to the South American rain forest areas have used this herb for hundreds of years.

However, some recent studies report that cat's claw may in deed have favorable effects primarily in its ability to boost the body's immune system. The active chemical compounds found in cat's claw are alkaloids, tannins, and several other phytochemicals. The alkaloids in cat's claw give it the ability boost the immune system.

Cat's claw is considered by many, largely because of its immune-building properties, to be every bit as important as more popular herbs such as Echinacea, goldenseal, Pau D'Arco, garlic, and Siberian ginseng.

Supplement Forms and Dosage

Cat's claw is available as a supplement in many different forms. These include: dried cut-and-sifted root and stem, powdered root and stem, capsules, tinctures, tablets, and extracts standardized for total alkaloid content. For proper dosage, follow manufacturer's recommendation found on the package.

Possible Side Effects

Like other immune stimulants, cat's-claw should be avoided in diseases of the immune system itself, such as tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis, and HIV infection. Cat's claw is not believed to be safe for children, pregnant, or nursing women. Consult a physician before using cat's-claw.

Supporting Literature

Aquino R, De Feo V, De Simone F, et al. Plant metabolites, new compounds and anti-inflammatory activity of Uncaria tomentosa. J Nat Prod 1991;54:453-459.
Blumenthal M, Riggins C. Popular Herbs in the U.S. Market: Therapeutic Monographs. Austin, Tex: The American Botanical Council; 1997.
Keplinger H. Oxyindole alkaloids having properties stimulating the immunologic system and preparation containing same. US Patent no. 5,302,611, April 12, 1994.
Karch SB. The Consumer's Guide to Herbal Medicine. Hauppauge, New York: Advanced Research Press; 1999:55-56.
Keplinger K, Laus G, Wurm M, Dierich MP, Teppner H. Uncaria tomentosa (Willd.) DC-ethnomedicinal use and new pharmacological, toxicological and botanical results. J Ethnopharmacol. 1999;64:23-34.
Rizzi R, Re F, Bianchi A, et al. Mutagenic and antimutagenic activities of Uncaria tomentosa and its extracts. J Ethnopharmacol 1993;38:63-77.