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Cat's Claw (Uncaria tomentosa)

Cat's Claw (Uncaria tomentosa)

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

About

Cat's claw is a plant. Two species of cat's claw, Uncaria tomentosa and Uncaria guianensis, are of primary interest for use as medicine. Uncaria tomentosa is most commonly used in the U.S., and Uncaria guianensis is typically used in Europe. Medicine is made from the root and bark. Be careful not to confuse cat's claw with cat's foot.

Cat's claw is most commonly used for improving symptoms of both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

It is also used for various digestive system disorders including swelling and pain (inflammation) of the large intestine (diverticulitis), inflammation of the lower bowel (colitis), inflammation of the lining of the stomach (gastritis), stomach ulcers, hemorrhoids, and leaky bowel syndrome.

Some people use cat's claw for viral infections including shingles (caused by herpes zoster), cold sores (caused by herpes simplex), and AIDS (caused by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)).

Cat's claw is also used for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), wound healing, parasites, Alzheimer's disease, asthma, hay fever, cancer (especially urinary tract cancer), a particular type of brain cancer called glioblastoma, gonorrhea, dysentery, birth control, bone pains, and "cleansing" the kidneys.

How does it work?

Cat's claw contains chemicals that might stimulate the immune system, kill cancer cells, and fight viruses.

Traditionally used for

Reducing pain from a kind of arthritis called osteoarthritis.
Improving symptoms of a kind of arthritis called rheumatoid arthritis (RA) when used with regular rheumatoid arthritis medications.
Human papilloma virus (HPV).
Cancer fatigue.
HIV/AIDS.
Arthritis.
Asthma.
Birth control.
Bone pains.
Chicken pox.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
Glioblastoma.
Gonorrhea.
Hay fever.
Hemorrhoids.
Inflammation of the digestive tract including colitis and diverticulitis.
Leaky bowel syndrome.
Mouth or genital herpes.
Parasites.
Shingles.
Stomach or intestinal ulcers.
Wounds.

Dosage

For osteoarthritis of the knee: 100 mg daily of a specific freeze-dried cat's claw extract.

For rheumatoid arthritis: 60 mg daily in three divided doses of a specific cat's claw extract that contains no chemicals called tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids. These chemicals, while found naturally in some cat's claw, work against other chemicals in cat's claw that seem to help rheumatoid arthritis.

For cancer: 100 mg taken three times daily of a specific cat's claw extract.

Possible Side Effects

Cat's Claw is SAFE for most people, when taken by mouth short-term. However, it can cause headache, dizziness, and vomiting in some people.

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is some concern that cat's claw is POSSIBLY UNSAFE during pregnancy when taken by mouth. Not enough is known about the safety of cat's claw during breast-feeding. Avoid using cat's claw if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

"Auto-immune diseases" such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), or other similar conditions: Cat's claw might cause the immune system to become more active. This could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it's best to avoid using cat's claw without consulting with your healthcare provider.

Bleeding disorders: Cat's claw might slow blood clotting. There is concern that cat's claw might increase the risk of bruising or bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.

Low blood pressure: Low blood pressure: There is some evidence that cat's claw might lower blood pressure. If your blood pressure is already too low, this might be a problem.

Leukemia: Cat's claw might worsen this condition. Don't use it if you have leukemia.

Surgery: There is a concern that cat's claw might make blood pressure control difficult during surgery. Stop taking cat's claw at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

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