Cat’s Claw: A Little Known Herb with Big Health Benefits

Native to Peru and Brazil, Cat’s Claw is a climbing vine that has been used in South American medicine for many years to treat infections, arthritis, and gastrointestinal disorders. More studies are even underway to determine its efficacy in the treatment of HIV/AIDS and known cancers.

It may be surprising that an herb that many people haven’t even heard of has so many powerful health benefits. But, cat’s claw has along list of anecdotal herbal remedies, and well-researched medicinal properties.

Recent studies in Asia, Europe and North America indicate this herb may actually reduce inflammation, stimulate the immune system, kill viruses, and protect against heart disease. This is exciting news and scientists are exploring it’s use in a number of treatments. Claw is a root bark used as medicine that grows in the rain forest of the Andes Mountains. Its name describes the woody vine that twines up trees and has two curved thorns at the base of its leaves, which look just like cat’s claws of course.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties of the Herb Cat’s Claw

As an anti-inflammatory, cat’s claw stimulates white blood cells to fight infection. The compounds within it act as steroids in the body, which are used to treat arthritis. Recent studies reveal it can reduce swelling by half.

Acting as a detoxification agent, cat’s claw also relieves gastrointestinal disorders involving inflammation.

Cat’s Claw as an Herb for Cancer

Research has also revealed that cat’s claw may be utilized as a treatment for cancerous tumors. The National Cancer Institute did find evidence of its anti-tumor effects. It allows for improving chemotherapy in cancer patients, and because of its antioxidant properties could help the body eliminate toxins which are initially caused by chemo and radiation therapy. However, official studies and testing by the FDA has not been conducted or published.

Immune Booster and Other Herbal Remedies

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.

  • In addition, cat’s claw promoted healing of wounds; helps in the treatment of ulcers; and may help in relieving chronic pain.
  • Also, many health practitioners have reported successes using the herb to treat Crohn’s disease.
  • A study was conducted in which the use of cat’s claw inhibited the formation of plaque deposits in the arteries.
  • Used as a tea, a cat’s claw rinse clears up eye infections.
  • 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 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.

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