You can find cat claws in the Amazon rainforest and other parts of Central and South America; Uncaria tomentosa is a plant found in flowering forest areas. The plant is easy to spot. Just look for woody vines with a hooked thorn that resembles a cat’s claw.
The height of this plant can be 30 meters, but thorns have an important purpose because they allow them to attach to the bark of trees.
The Peruvian tribe Ashaninka has the oldest data on the use of the plant. In fact, this tribe is today the largest commercial source of this plant in Peru.
Ashaninka uses cat’s claw to treat asthma and urinary tract inflammation, postpartum healing, as a kidney cleanser, to heal deep wounds, to treat arthritis, rheumatism, and bone pain, to treat inflammation and stomach ulcers, to treat cancer, and to support healthy cells in the body.
Another name for this plant is “life that gives life to Peru.” However, it should not be confused with Antennaria dioica L., a small perennial plant. The two are very different from each other.
Characteristics of a cat’s claw
There are two types of cat claws used for medical purposes: Uncaria tomentosa and Uncaria guianensis. The first is used in the US, and the second in Europe.
This type of plant can be grown in organic soil on the slopes of forest mountains and where it is always accompanied by rain and between 250 and 900 meters above sea level.
However, this plant has serious dangers, such as over-harvesting and destruction of the rainforest.
As a result, Uncaria tomentosa is becoming increasingly popular as it grows at lower altitudes near rivers, making it easier to find, collect and transport.
The roots and bark of the plant are used in medicines because they contain chemicals such as alkaloids and glycosides.
Cat’s claw can be in the form of liquid extract, powder, and tablets. You can also use it to make tea, and this medicinal use of the cat’s claw plant has long been known worldwide.
South Americans use this herb to relieve asthma, arthritis, stomach ulcers, and various types of inflammation.
The ancient Inca civilization also used this plant for viral infections and stimulated the immune system.
In the 1970s, scientists conducted studies to learn more about its healing potential, which is to study the potential of this plant to alleviate the symptoms of cancer and other diseases.
1989 study also discovered that the roots contain oxidizing alkaloids that boost the immune system.
The ability to improve the health of the cat’s claw plant comes primarily from the oxindole alkaloids found in its root and bark. It is said that these alkaloids strengthen the immune system, which leads to various medicinal benefits of the plant.
Isopterpodine or Isomer A is the most active alkaloid in the cat’s claw and is said to help prevent various viral diseases. Studies have also found that extracts from this plant can help protect the human body from bacteria, viruses, and fungus.
Promotes good immune function
Cat’s claw increases the number of white blood cells in the body, stimulating the antioxidant effect. It can also help stop the spread of disease and eradicate bacterial infections and other pathogens.
Accelerates wound healing
Glucoside-quinic acid can help alleviate inflammation by promoting wound healing and preventing it from maturing.
It helps support the intestinal tract.
This herb helps alleviate gastrointestinal disorders. Organic data suggests that for people with irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal disorders, such as ulcers and infections, a cat’s claw can be handy because it can help cleanse the digestive system and provide a good intestinal flora.
Relieves inflammatory diseases
It suppresses the synthesis of TNF-alpha and thus alleviates the symptoms associated with low back pain, arthritis (including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis), and other inflammatory diseases.
It can help alleviate the symptoms of viral infections and can even be helpful against it herpes zoster, herpes, and AIDS.
Cat’s claw improves DNA recovery.
Laboratory experiments provide evidence that the influence of a cat’s claw can help maintain DNA integrity, the genetic arrangement of cells in the body.
DNA is very sensitive to damage caused by free radicals, which can contribute to the development of cancer and other deadly diseases.
To determine whether a cat’s claw extract can protect the delicate DNA structure from oxidative stress, scientists conducted a study of cultured human skin cells. Aqueous extract of cat’s karma has been found to protect skin cells from death caused by ultraviolet radiation by increasing the ability of cells to repair DNA damage caused by ultraviolet light.
Uncaria tomentosa and cancer
Although chemotherapy plays an important role in cancer treatment, its main drawback may be DNA damage that affects healthy cells.
Adult volunteers who had previously undergone chemotherapy with cat’s claw extract supplements for eight weeks showed significantly less DNA damage and further improvement.
Participants also showed an increase in white blood cell proliferation, which is an important finding because chemotherapy generally suppresses white blood cell counts and increases susceptibility to infections.
In this way, the cat’s claw plant can provide key support to cancer patients’ DNA and white blood cells receiving chemotherapy.