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Cats Claw (Uncaria tormentosa)

Cats Claw (Uncaria tormentosa)

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Botanical name: Uncaria tormentosa

Other names: Cat's claw, uña de gato, paraguayo, garabato, garbato casha, samento, toroñ, tambor huasca, uña huasca, uña de gavilan, hawk's claw, saventaro

Family: Rubiaceae

Parts used: Vine bark, root

Uncaria tormentosa, commonly known as Cat's Claw, is a woody vine native to the Amazon rainforest and other tropical areas of Central and South America. This plant is named for its hooked thorns, which resemble the claws of a cat. It can grow up to 100 feet in length and is often found climbing high into the rainforest canopy.

In traditional medicine among indigenous cultures in South America, Cat's Claw has been used for centuries to treat a variety of health issues. The bark and root of the plant are used to make liquid extracts, capsules, and teas.

Several alkaloids and other phytochemicals found in Uncaria tormentosa have been isolated in laboratory studies and have demonstrated potential medicinal properties. Some of these include:

  • Immune Support: Cat's Claw has been found to boost the immune system, helping the body fight off infections and illnesses.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Properties: It has potential anti-inflammatory benefits and is often used to support joint health.
  • Antioxidant Properties: Cat's Claw contains antioxidant compounds, which help to combat free radicals in the body and may contribute to the prevention of chronic diseases.
  • DNA Repair: Some preliminary research indicates that Cat's Claw might help with DNA repair, which is essential for preventing mutations that can lead to cancer.
  • Neuroprotective Effects: Early studies have shown potential benefits in the prevention of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. Anti-Viral Properties: Cat's Claw has been used to fight viral infections, including herpes, influenza, and HIV.
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