by Dr. Katherine Gaston
Cat’s claw is a woody vine that grows in central and South America. It especially grows in the Amazonian rainforest. The plant contains small structures that resemble the claw of the cat, hence the origin of its name. There are over 30 species of Cat’s claw but two are primarily used for their medicinal properties. These are Uncaria guianensis and Uncaria tomentosa. The later has been more extensively researched and is considered to have a wider range of medicinal uses.
Medicinal properties: Cat’s claw is known to be effective in treating digestive disorders, arthritis and inflammation. It strengthens the immune system helping to bolster ones ability to fight infection and helps release blocks in the body. It is believed to be especially useful in healing and cleansing inflammation and heat from the digestive tract. It is used in combination with other plants to treat Lyme’s disease.
Medicinal parts used: The root and the bark of the claw-like structure
Commonly used dosage forms: Tea, tincture standardized to contain 3% alkaloids and 15% phenols
Dosage and Standardization:
• Tea: 1 – 10 g (1,000 mg) root bark in 8 ounces water; boil 10 – 15 minutes, cool, and strain. Drink 1 cup 3 times daily.
• Capsules: 100 mg per day for osteoarthritis; 250 – 350 mg per day for immune support
Scientific research: Cat’s Claw has been and continues to be scientifically studied. Study results suggest that cat’s claw contains anti-inflammatory and anti- viral properties. One study demonstrated that patients with rheumatoid arthritis had less pain and swelling when taking cat’s claw when compared to those not taking the herb.
Spiritual and Energetic Properties: Cat’s claw is said to remove negative energies and bring in higher and more positive energies. It cleanses the physical and spiritual bodies. It moves through the system “like a cat” clawing out negativity and ill-health.