This plant is not a recent discovery, since in the traditional medicine of the people of South America, including the Incas, it has been used for centuries against viral infections and to strengthen immunity. In the 1970s, scientists conducted a series of studies to test its medicinal potential.
There are two varieties of cat's claw, Uncaria tomentosa and Unceria gianiensis, which are of particular medicinal interest. Both contain potentially immune-boosting, antiviral and anti-cancer substances. The medicinal potential of cat's claw mainly comes from the alkaloids of the oxindole class found in the root and bark of this plant. They are thought to stimulate the immune system, which gives this herb various beneficial medicinal effects. The most active alkaloid in cat's claw, isopteropidine, or isomer A, helps against various viruses. Research has shown that cat's claw extract can help against bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Here's what modern science says about the health benefits of cat's claw.
It relieves the symptoms of diseases related to inflammation. This plant suppresses the synthesis of tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha), one of the main factors of inflammation, and therefore helps to alleviate the symptoms associated with lumbago, arthritis (including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis) and other inflammatory diseases. Research has shown that taking cat's claw extract for a week reduces knee pain associated with physical activity (but not at rest). In combination with some other medications, long-term use of cat's claw reduced joint pain and swelling due to rheumatoid arthritis.
It boosts immunity. Cat's claw increases the number of white blood cells in the body. It can help stop the spread of disease and help eradicate bacterial infections and other pathogens. Accelerates wound healing. The quinotaric acid that this plant contains can help to reduce inflammation, speed up the healing of wounds and protect them from infection.
It helps the work of the digestive system. Although this has not been studied enough, traditional medicine believes that people suffering from stomach ulcers, leaky gut syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome can benefit from this herb, as it helps to clean the digestive tract and ensure good intestinal flora. It can relieve the symptoms of viral infections, and it can be especially useful against herpes zoster.
Professional references www.webmed.com International Immunopharmacology, Volume 3, Issues 13–14, December 2003, Pages 1889-1900 A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements, 2012 Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 96, Issue 3, 15 January 2005, Pages 577-584 Pythotherapy Research, July 2007, Volume21, Issue7, Pages 675-683 eMedicineHealth, Cat's Claw www.mercola.com