Cats claw herb is a tropical plant found in the rainforests of South America and often also in Asia. The leaves have small thorns around the base which resemble a cat’s claw. The plant is a vine that grows up trees.
Tribes native to these areas have been aware of the benefits of cat’s claw for hundreds of years. The bark and root of the plant are used medicinally and can be administered in the form of a tea or as capsules.
Benefits of Cats Claw
- It can have a positive effect on the immune system, and it is thought that the herb is beneficial in fighting the symptoms of immune-destroying conditions such as HIV. It contains alkaloids, which are beneficial for the immune system, and one alkaloid in particular may also help to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, thereby reducing the risks of heart attacks and strokes.
- The benefits of cats claw also include its anti-inflammatory properties, which can be beneficial for conditions such as Crohn’s disease and other ailments of the digestive system. These properties could also be useful in treating rheumatism and arthritis. The plant contains sterols which have a similar effect to steroids which explain its effectiveness with these conditions.
- It can also fight the symptoms of allergies within the body and is beneficial for strengthening the respiratory system.
- Cats claw herb is a natural anti-oxidant, helping the body to remove toxins from the system and supporting the functions of the major organs. This can be useful in easing the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome and similar conditions.
- It is thought the herb has a detoxifying effect on the body, which will keep the digestive tract in good health by helping to remove waste products.
- Drinking cat’s claw tea is thought to be beneficial for general ill health and weakness by strengthening the immune system.
- It is useful for improving the circulation, which could have a beneficial effect on varicose veins and regulating blood pressure.
- Cats claw is thought to be a useful complementary herb for those suffering from cancer when used in conjunction with conventional treatments.
Cats claw tea is traditionally brewed for up to an hour. The tribes native to South America and Asia have used it to treat a number of conditions including ulcers, arthritis, reproductive disorders, and asthma.
The cooled tea is thought to be beneficial as an eye wash, easing the symptoms of conditions such as conjunctivitis.
It is not recommended that cats claw be given to children without the recommendation of a medical practitioner, as it is a powerful herb. There may be some interaction with other herbs or prescription medications, so it is better to seek the advice of your doctor before beginning a course of treatment with cat’s claw herb.
Some people have reported side effects of nausea and diarrhea, though these have been mild. It should be avoided during pregnancy. Some countries have ruled that the herb is available only by prescription due to its strength.