Cat's Claw

Plant Part Used

Root bark

Introduction

This remedy hails from the South American rainforest. It has been used as a traditional medicine, possibly dating back as far as the Incan civilization. Scientists are now investigating cat’s claw for its disease fighting properties, as well as its potential for supporting gastrointestinal health. A standardized extract is derived from the bark of the root of the plant.

Interactions and Depletions

Interactions

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

For the 3% alkaloid and 15% total phenol extraction, 250-1000mg, 3 times a day.

For the 1.3% pentacyclic extraction product, 20mg, 2-3 times daily for the first 10 days and then 20mg daily thereafter.

Decoction: 60 ml once daily in the morning on an empty stomach prepared from 30 gm herb with 800ml water reduced by heat to 500ml. (1)

Most Common Dosage

For the 3% alkaloid and 15% total phenol extraction, 500mg, 3 times a day.

For the 1.3% pentacyclic extraction product, 20mg, 3 times daily for the first 10 days and then 20mg daily thereafter.

Decoction: 60 ml once daily in the morning on an empty stomach prepared from 30 gm herb with 800ml water reduced by heat to 500ml.

Standardization

[span class=doc]Standardization represents the complete body of information and controls that serve to enhance the batch to batch consistency of a botanical product, including but not limited to the presence of a marker compound at a defined level or within a defined range.[/span]

The most current available medical and scientific literature indicates that this dietary supplement should be standardized to 3% alkaloids and 15% total phenols per dose.

An extract of Cat's claw from Europe containing only pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids (mainly isomitraphylline isolated from the root) may be more beneficial as an immune enhancing product than the standard mixture of pentacyclic and tetracyclic alkaloids. When the two chemotypes are mixed, immune enhancement may be decreased. This product should be standardized to not less than 1.3% pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids and not more than 0.06% tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids per dose. (2)

Reported Uses

Cat’s claw is reported to have the ability to soothe irritated and inflamed tissues and help eliminate harmful bacterial and viral invaders from the gastrointestinal tract. Studies have also looked into the herb’s function in supporting the immune system. (3) Some of the key components of cat’s claw have been studied for their ability to fight infection and boost overall immunity. (4) , (5) , (6) , (7)

As an antioxidant, cat’s claw use in the treatment of cancer has been investigated. (8) Antioxidants reduce the carcinogenic toxin buildup that stimulate abnormal cell development. Research indicates that cat’s claw may be able to target potential cancer cells and inhibit their development through different types of activity. (9) , (10) , (11)

Cat’s claw may also play a role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases by helping to strengthen capillaries and facilitate normal blood flow throughout the body. (12)

The anti-inflammatory effect of cat’s claw was observed in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. (13)

Toxicities & Precautions

Introduction

[span class=alert]Be sure to tell your pharmacist, doctor, or other health care providers about any dietary supplements you are taking. There may be a potential for interactions or side effects.[/span]

General

This dietary supplement is considered safe when used in accordance with proper dosing guidelines. (14)

If you are planning to have any type of surgery or dental work, stop using this dietary supplement for at least 14 days prior to the procedure.

Health Conditions

If you are the recipient of an organ transplant, have a bleeding disorder or are currently fighting an infection, talk to your doctor before taking this dietary supplement. (15) , (16)

Side Effects

Side effects are possible with any dietary supplement. This dietary supplement may cause diarrhea or other changes in bowel habits. (17) Tell your doctor if these side effects become severe or do not go away.

Pregnancy/ Breast Feeding

This dietary supplement should not be used if you are pregnant or breast-feeding an infant. (18)

Age Limitations

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects specifically related to the use of this dietary supplement in children. Since young children may have undiagnosed allergies or medical conditions, this dietary supplement should not be used in children under 10 years of age unless recommended by a physician.

Read More

  1) South Central America Herbs

References

  1. Schauss AG. Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa). Nat Med J. 1998;1(2):16-19.
  2. Reinhard KH. Uncaria tomentosa (Willd.) D.C.: cat's claw, una de gato, or saventaro. J Altern Complement Med. Apr1999;5(2):143-51.
  3. Wagner H, et al. The Alkaloids of Uncaria tomentosa and Their Phagocytosis-stimulating Action. Planta Med. 1995;5:419-23.
  4. Jones K. Cat’s Claw: Healing Vine of Peru. Seattle: Sylvan Press; 1995:48-49.
  5. View Abstract: Aquino R, et al. New Polyhydroxylated Triterpenes from Uncaria tomentosa. J Nat Prod. 1990;53(3): 559-64.
  6. View Abstract: Lamm S, Sheng Y, Pero RW. Persistent response to pneumococcal vaccine in individuals supplemented with a novel water soluble extract of Uncaria tomentosa, C-Med-100. Phytomedicine. Jul2001;8(4):267-74.
  7. View Abstract: Lemaire I, Assinewe V, Cano P, Awang DV, Arnason JT. Stimulation of interleukin-1 and -6 production in alveolar macrophages by the neotropical liana, Uncaria tomentosa (una de gato). J Ethnopharmacol. Feb1999;64(2):109-15.
  8. View Abstract: Aquino R, et al. Plant Metabolites. Structure and in Vitro Antiviral Activity of Quinovic Acid Glycosides from Uncaria tomentosa and Guettarda platypoda. J Nat Prod. 1989;52(4):679-85.
  9. Wagner H, et al. The Alkaloids of Uncaria tomentosa and Their Phagocytosis-stimulating Action. Planta Med. 1995;5:419-23.
  10. View Abstract: Riva L, Coradini D, Di Fronzo G, De Feo V, De Tommasi N, De Simone F, Pizza C. The antiproliferative effects of Uncaria tomentosa extracts and fractions on the growth of breast cancer cell line. Anticancer Res. Jul2001;21(4A):2457-61.
  11. View Abstract: Sheng Y, Pero RW, Amiri A, Bryngelsson C. Induction of apoptosis and inhibition of proliferation in human tumor cells treated with extracts of Uncaria tomentosa. Anticancer Res. Sep1998;18(5A):3363-8.
  12. View Abstract: de Matta SM, et al. Alkaloids and Procyanidins of An Uncaria sp. from Peru. Farmaco. (Sci). 1976;31(7):527-35.
  13. View Abstract: Mur E, Hartig F, Eibl G, Schirmer M. Randomized double blind trial of an extract from the pentacyclic alkaloid-chemotype of uncaria tomentosa for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. J Rheumatol. Apr2002;29(4):678-81.
  14. Jones K. Cat’s Claw: Healing Vine of Peru. Seattle: Sylvan Press; 1995:48-49.
  15. Haginiwa J, et al. Studies of Plants Containing Indole Alkaloids. 2. On the Alkaloids of Uncaria rhynchophylla Miq. Yakugaku Zasshi. 1973;93(4):448-42.
  16. View Abstract: de Matta SM, et al. Alkaloids and Procyanidins of An Uncaria sp. from Peru. Farmaco. (Sci). 1976;31(7):527-35.
  17. Immodal Pharmaka. Krallendorn, Uncaria tomentosa (Wild), Root Extract: Report on Experiences with Probands. Immodal Pharmaka GmbH. 1996;20.
  18. Haginiwa J, et al. Studies of Plants Containing Indole Alkaloids. 2. On the Alkaloids of Uncaria rhynchophylla Miq. Yakugaku Zasshi. 1973;93(4):448-42.