The inner bark of the tropical vine known as Cat’s Claw is used to make extracts, teas and capsules.
Cat’s Claw is being subjected to a great deal of laboratory investigation for use in a whole range of illness. Some results are encouraging, but a lot more work is necessary.
Cat’s Claw is an immune stimulant, its uses fall into three categories:
a) It has remarkable cleansing actions on the gastrointestinal tract. Stomach and bowel disorders of all kinds, including ulcers, haemorrhoids, irritable bowel and Crohn’s disease all appear to benefit from its use.
b) It enhances the immune system and increases stamina and energy in sufferers from mental and physical exhaustion, and it helps treat viral infections such as herpes and shingles and fungal infections.
c) It has an anti-inflammatory activity in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism.
Doses of between 250 and 1,000 mg taken orally up to three times a day are used. Taking it in the form of a tincture, tea or infusion is less irritating to the stomach and means better absorptions.
Even high doses are apparently not toxic, although occasional side effects of allergic reactions and digestive upsets have been reported.
Do not take Cat’s Claw with alcohol or if you have multiple sclerosis.
Be careful if you are taking prescribed medications along with Cat’s Claw. It could make some prescription drugs work for longer than normal. Laboratory work has found this effect, but not enough is known about whether it is a practical problem.
Don’t take it during pregnancy, and it is not recommended for children.