• used to ease the pain associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis • used adjunctively to ease symptoms associated with inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn's, colitis, diverticulitis, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) • used as a general daily tonic (to tone, balance, and strengthen all body functions) • used as an adjunctive therapy for cancer, to reduce side effects of chemotherapy and protect cells • used as an immunostimulant
A tonic and restorative, cat's claw is one of the most significant medicinal herbs to have come to us from the indigenous peoples of the Amazon rainforest. Its therapeutic qualities first came to the attention of Western researchers in the early 1970s.
Since then scientists have discovered that even in small amounts, the oxindole alkaloids in this plant enhance immune function by as much as 50%.
This has led to its use as an adjuvant treatment for cancer and AIDS. In her classic work on the herbs of the rainforest, Leslie Taylor points out that five of the oxindole alkaloids in this herb “have been clinically documented with in vitro antileukemic properties, and various root and bark extracts have demonstrated antitumorous and antimutagenic properties.” In 2001, for example, Italian scientists reported that cat's claw pushed back the growth of human breast cancer cells by 90%.
No less remarkable are the powerful antiinflammatory properties of cat's claw, which arise from phytochemical compounds called quinovic acid glycosides, first discovered in 1991. As Taylor points out, subsequent studies indicate that, “cat's claw (and, especially its glycosides) could inhibit inflammation from 46% and up to 89% in various in vivo and in vitro tests. The results of these studies validated its long history of indigenous use for arthritis and rheumatism, as well as for other types of inflammatory stomach and bowel disorders.”
A randomized control trial conducted by Peruvian researchers in 2001 affirms that cat's claw is an effective antioxidant and concludes that it “has enjoyed a remarkable clinical experience in South America, and it is highly regarded for the treatment of chronic inflammation…this Amazonian botanical not only treats the arthritic disease process but also reduces the toxic side effects of the current standard pharmaceuticals used in the management of arthritis.”