Herbal Meds

Cat's Claw, an immune-boosting herbal supplement

Where does Cat's Claw come from?

Western researchers have studied Cat's Claw since the 1970's and European doctors have used this herb since the 1980's.

The name is derived from two curved thorns at the base of the plant's leaves that resemble a cat's claws.

There are dozens of related Cat's Claw species, but two specific ones are harvested in Peru and Brazil for use as herbal remedies.

Native Indians have long used the bark to make tea to treat wounds, stomach ailments and arthritis.

How can Cat's Claw help me?

Scientific studies have identified several active ingredients that enhance activity of the immune system and inhibit inflammation.

Anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-tumor properties have been attributed to Cat's Claw.

Cat's Claw has anti-inflammatory effects that have proven to be beneficial in the treatment of arthritis, rheumatism, gout and bursitis.

Used as an anti-oxidant, Cat's Claw helps to protect cell from damage caused by free radicals.

German and Austrian doctors prescribe Cat's Claw to stimulate the immune systems of cancer patients that have been weakened by chemotherapy.

Studies conducted on animals have shown that Cat's Claw roots and bark contain compounds called procyanidolic oligomers (PCO's), which inhibit tumours.

Other compounds identified in this herbal medicine stimulate immune cells called phagocytes which "devour" viruses and other disease-causing organisms.

Cat's Claw has been successfully used to combat sinus infections as well as other upper respiratory-tract infections.

Cat's Claw can be used to treat viral infections such as herpes and can also be used by HIV positive patients to boost their immune systems.

Recently, scientists have been researching the use of Cat's Claw to treat Alzheimer's.

Cat's Claw is prescribed by health practitioners to cleanse the intestinal tract, thereby assisting patients suffering from many different stomach and bowel disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome, leaky bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, gastritis, ulcers and even Crohn's disease.

If I am already on medicine, what are the interactions or side-effects I need to know about when using Cat's Claw?

Please consult your medical practitioner prior to using any herbal medications should you be under their care.

No known side effects have been reported when using Cat's Claw at the recommended dosages.

People who use higher doses than recommended have reported nausea and headaches and using high doses over extended periods can adversely affect your immune system.

Pregnant women and women who are trying to get pregnant should not use Cat's Claw under any circumstance as this herbal remedy was once used to prevent pregnancy and to abort pregnancies.

How do I use Cat's Claw?

Take 250 mg of a standardized extract in pill form twice a day. You can combine or alternate Cat's Claw with other immune boosting herbal medicines such as Echinacea or goldenseal.

Make sure when purchasing Cat's Claw products that it is made from Uncaria tomentosa or U. guianensis as many products commercially available do not actually contain Cat's Claw, but herbs that carry the same name.

Cat's Claw tea is available from health stores. Use one or two teaspoons of the dried extract per cup of hot water. You can drink up to three cups of tea daily.

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