Cats Claw (Uncaria tomentosa)
The plant is considered a valuable medicinal resource and is protected in Peru. The indigenous peoples of South and Central America have used U. tomentosa for medicinal purposes for two thousand years or more. Although scientific research has just recently begun to explore its benefits, many cultures native to the South American rain forest areas have used this herb for hundreds of years.
Current studies show it may have positive effects on, and can boost the body's immune system. With recent fear of HIV, studies have started to move quickly.
The active substances are alkaloids, tannins and several other phytochemicals. Some of the alkaloids have been proven to boost the immune system. The major alkaloid rhynchophylline has anti-hypertensive effects and may reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack by lowering blood pressure, increasing circulation, reducing heart rate and controlling cholesterol.
Other constituents contribute anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticancer properties. Many treatments combine the herb with different plants and natural products to increase the absorption and bioavailability.
Compounds in cat's claw are thought to block the body's production of inflammation-producing substances called prostaglandins and tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Cat's claw is believed to reduce pain somewhat, but it doesn't appear to have much of an effect on reducing swelling
It has long been used as a homeopathic treatment for intestinal ailments. Uses include: Crohn's disease, gastric ulcers and tumors, parasites, colitis, gastritis, diverticulitis and leaky bowel syndrome. By stimulating the immune system, it can also improve response to viral and respiratory infections.
Note: These statements are not evaluated by the FDA and recommendations above do not take the place of a medical expert's treatment regimen.