Cat’s Claw

Latin name: Uncaria tomentosa
Other name: uña de gato, Uncaria

What is Cat’s Claw?
Cat’s claw is a long, woody vine that grows in the warm jungles of South and Central America. It grows on other trees and can wind its way over 100 feet upward to the top of the canopy. It slowly climbs these trees by means of small, curved spines on its bark, hence its name, “cat’s claw.”

What are the health benefits of Cat’s Claw?

Cat’s claw is used most often for its anti-inflammatory properties to treat conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, gastritis, colitis, and stomach ulcers. Many use cat’s claw as a general tonic to benefit the immune system and improve circulation. Some have also reported success using this herb in remedies for cancer and HIV.

There are two primary species of this plant available: Uncaria tomentosa and Uncaria guianensis. U. tomentosa is the one more often researched and used for its immunity-enhancing properties. U. guianensis is more often used to treat conditions like osteoarthritis. Be mindful of the species name, as the properties of two different species vary.

What are the guidelines for taking Cat’s Claw?
Cat’s claw is often used as either a tincture or in capsule form.

Are there any precautions for taking Cat’s Claw?

Individuals that are allergic to plants in the Rubiaceae family should not take cat’s claw, as it may cause itching, rash, or allergic inflammation of the kidneys.

Where can I find Cat’s Claw?
Cat’s claw can be found in health food or vitamin stores, online, and at the offices of herbalists.

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This entry was posted in Herbs, Natural Health Dictionary.