Cats Claw (Una de Gato)

Latin:  Uncaria tomentosa

Family:  Rubiaceae

Parts Used:  Bark, root, leaves

Taste/Energetics:  Bitter, cooling

Properties:  Analgesic, potentially anti tumoral, vulnerary, immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory. antimicrobial, antiviral, adaptogenic

Actions:  Cats claw has long been used by indigenous peoples in South America to treat a wide variety of conditions such as arthritis, stomach inflammation, ulcers, wound healing, gastritis, and Crohn’s disease.  There is quite a bit of discussion around its use for helping treat severe illnesses such as cancer and AIDS.  There has been some research showing some effectiveness but most medical authorities discount this.  Cats Claw has also been used to help reduce symptomatic outbreaks of the herpes virus, shingles and cold sores.

In terms of mental health, Cat’s Claw is tonic and strengthening, improving immune function, building resiliency, stamina and energy reserves.  This makes it useful for folks who have heightened anxiety, a history of trauma or under great stress.

This is another South American herb that has become very popular and is one of the lead selling “panacea” herbs.  Again we must be cautious about any possible overharvesting of this herb and procuring it from good reputable and ethical sources.

Dosage:  Most often taken in capsule form 500 mg-2g/up to 3 x a day. Can be taken as a decoction 2-4 tsp in pint of water to 3 x/day.  Tincture 1-3 ml to 3 x/day.

Contraindications:  Occasional allergies, rashes, itching, diarrhea, constipation, one case of renal damage.  Avoid in pregnancy.