In referring to cat’s claw, Newsweek reported that this rain forest herb has been long used to treat asthma, ulcers, and cancer. Premature arthritis’s Claw for Arthritis, Cancer, AIDS, Degenerative Diseases, and Premature Aging? Miracle Herb from the Rain Forest of Peru». It has been drawing increasingly more interest among the proponents of natural health care.
Spanish and «cat’s claw» in English, have been studied at research facilities in Peru, Austria, Germany, England, Hungary and Italy, since the 1970’s. These studies suggest that the herb may be beneficial in the treatment of arthritis, bursitis, allergies, diabetes, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, herpes, organic depression, menstrual irregularities and disorders of the stomach and intestines. This emergence of knowledge about the activity of cat’s claw could not have come at a better time! Many people have become fearful that the war on cancer is being lost, that new potentially deadly viruses are evolving, and that more deadly «super-bacteria» are developing due to over use of prescription antibiotics.
This is why increased attention is being placed upon «Nature’s Pharmacy», the botanical or herbal nutrients that offer so much hope. Echinacea, Golden Seal, Astragalus, Siberian Ginseng, as well as Reishi and Shaitake mushrooms. Brent Davis described cat’s claw as «The Opener of the Way» in referring to its ability to detoxify the intestinal Tract and to treat a variety of stomach and bowel disorders. The anti-inflammatory qualities of cat’s claw have been found to be useful in the treatment of arthritis.
Non-smokers did not show mutagenic activity in their urine, while cigarette smokers did. After taking this natural plant substance, smokers’ urine showed a dramatic decrease of mutagenic activity. After using cat’s claw in working with approximately 150 patients between 1988 and 1992, Dr. Uncaria tomentosa has the ability to break through severe intestinal derangements that no other available products can touch. By cleansing the intestinal walls, cat’s claw enables the body to better absorb nutrients, thus helping to correct nutritional imbalances created by digestive blockages. The Ashanika Indians of Peru have long regarded una de gato tea as a sacred beverage. It is used as a cleansing and tonic herb for the immune, intestinal and structural systems.
It is also used to treat diabetes, cancer, tumors, viral infections, menstrual disorders convalescence and debility. The anti-inflammatory effects of cat’s claw have proven beneficial in the treatment of arthritis, rheumatism, bursitis and gout. As an antioxidant, it also helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Its beneficial effects in treating arthritis pain may also be due, in part, to its ability to cleanse the digestive tract and aid in removing toxins from the body. Some of the glycosides present in the herb may also add protection from pain. This may explain, in part, how cat’s claw has been helpful in reducing pain associated with chemotherapy, radiation treatment and AZT use.
A wealth of beneficial phytochemicals have been found in cat’s claw including quinovic acid glycosides, several oxindol alkaloids, proanthocyanidins, polyphenols, triterpines and the plant sterols beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol and campesterol. Researchers believe that the activity of the whole plant extract is greater than the sum of its parts. Unique alkaloids in una de gato seem to enhance the immune system in a general way. These alkaloids have a pronounced effect on the ability of white blood cells to engulf and digest harmful micro-organisms and foreign matter. Austrian researcher Klaus Keplinger has obtained two U. The most immunologically active alkaloid appears to be isoteropodine or isomer A.
Cat’s claw has also been shown to increase the production of leukocytes and specifically T4 lymphocytes, thus blocking the advance of many viral illnesses. Quinovic acid glycosides in cat’s claw back up the immune system and protect the body from viruses and virus caused cancers. Preliminary studies suggest that the herb has the ability to stop viral infections in the early stages, help patients who are chemically sensitive, fight opportunistic infections in AIDS patients and de-crease the visible size of some skin tumors and cysts. Rynchophylline, a fifth alkaloid found in Uncaria tomentosa, has been studied at the Shanghai College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In laboratory testing, rynchophylline displays an ability to inhibit platelet aggregation and thrombosis. This suggests that cat’s claw may be useful in preventing strokes and reducing the risk of heart attack by lowering blood pressure, increasing circulation, inhibiting formation of plaque on arterial walls and formation of blood clots in the brain, heart and arteries.
While these in-vitro tests are very promising, many more in-vivo tests will be needed to determine the true efficacy of this plant for specific diseases in humans. Three trials that could be considered in-vivo, were in fact, human studies. 78 patients suffering from brain tumors treated with Krallendorn. Another is a summary of a trial with 32 HIV-infected patients treated with Krallendorn from 1987 to 1991. The third in-vivo test was performed by an Italian group studying the plant’s antimutagenic properties on smokers and non-smokers.
In-vivo tests and trials are currently underway at several institutions in several countries and some preliminary results look promising, but the final results are not in yet. Cat’s claw has not been clinically proven to cure AIDS or cancer. One of the best sources on cat’s claw is the book, The Saga of the Cat’s Claw, by Dr. Cabieses is a well known neurologist and neurosurgeon with residency in Lima, Peru. He is Professor Emeritus at the Universidad Mayor de San Marcos and Honorary Professor at the Universities of Trujillo, Piura, Cajamarca, Chiclayo, Cusco, Arequipa and Garcilaso de la Vega. He has studied cat’s claw extensively, as well as all available clinical research reports and trials.