Native to the Amazon region, cat’s claw is a plant that gets its name for its claw-shaped thorns. Also known as sparrowhawk nail, hawk’s claw, pot hook and vilcacora, this plant can grow up to 30 m in height. The leaves of this plant have a smooth edge, and are elliptical in shape; the habitat of this plant being restricted to tropical areas of central and South America.
Cat’s claw is popularly known for its amazing healing and medicinal properties, and is often used as an herbal medicine for different health conditions. The American Cancer Society too, has confirmed and promoted the use of this herb for different health conditions, which has further increased its popularity as a natural treatment. The part of cat’s claw that possesses the most valuable medicinal properties is its root bark, and it is available in the dried, tincture, capsule, tablet or tea form.
Here are some common uses of the cat’s claw
- Cat’s claw extracts are believed to possess valuable anti-inflammatory properties, which can be helpful in dealing with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
- The extracts of this herb are known to reduce the pain associated with these diseases and also reduce swelling and inflammation.
- It is also believed that certain compounds in the cat’s claw may block the body’s production of tumor necrosis factors and inflammation producing substances.
- One of the best uses of cat’s claw is its ability to boost the immune system of the body, which is quite useful in halting the spread of cancer cells.
- Some animal studies have also revealed that cat’s claw extracts could be helpful in reducing cell damage associated with chemotherapy and radiation treatment for cancer.
- Cat’s claw extracts are also known to help deal with many other conditions including HIV, high blood pressure, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, gastritis and ulcerative colitis.
- In Brazil, cat’s claw extracts have been used as a traditional medicinal treatment against dengue.
Cat’s claw extracts need to be taken with extreme caution as they may lead to certain side effects including itching, rashes, headaches, inflammation and kidney problems.