Cat's claw - Uncaria tomentosa is a tonic and anti-inflammatory medicinal plant native to the tropics of South and Central America.
The benefits of cat's claw are many - the plant has antiviral and diuretic effects, regulates hormonal balance and is used to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and stress.
It is a type of tropical vine that can grow up to 30 meters in height. The name of the plant comes from the hook-shaped thorns, which resemble cat's claws and appear on the stems, under the twigs.
Many of the uses of cat's claw consist in the herb's ability to reduce inflammation , which has been confirmed by a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
According to this study, cat's claw contains compounds with effective antioxidant action , but perhaps most remarkable is that it has the effect of significantly inhibiting the production of TNF alpha - a molecule that promotes inflammation in tissues.
This property is shown in cases of osteoarthritis - the most common joint disease.
Osteoarthritis causes pain , swelling and stiffness.
According to a study of 45 people, taking 100 mg of cat's claw a day for 4 weeks was able to reduce the intensity of pain during physical activity.
No side effects were observed .
Other small studies published in Phytomedicine have shown that people who take 700 mg of cat's nail extract daily for 2 months have had an increase in immune cell counts.
This action may be due to its content of alkaloid substances such as isopteropodine and theropodine.
The anti-inflammatory effect of cat's claw can serve not only to reduce joint pain , but also to reduce inflammation in the brain and prevent the deterioration of intellectual abilities.
The authors of this study, conducted in a laboratory, said that the cat's claw may contain phytochemicals that could improve memory activity , repair damage to genetic material and provide neuroprotection during the aging process.
In this case, the active ingredients are proanthocyanidins, polyphenols, triterpenes and plant sterols - beta sitosterol, stigmasterol, campesterol, which have antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
How to take a cat's claw?
The easiest way to prepare cat's claw is the infusion , which is made with 10 g of dried bark of the plant in a glass of water.
A standardized extract can also be taken .
The usual dose is one 20 mg capsule , three times a day for 10 days and one capsule a day thereafter.
The following groups of people are not recommended to take cat's claw without a doctor's prescription and supervision:
- Pregnant or lactating women;
- Patients with certain medical conditions, such as bleeding, kidney or cancer;
- Patients who will soon have surgery;
- When taking drugs for blood pressure , cholesterol, cancer and blood clotting.
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