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Supplement Spotlight: Cat's Claw

Written by Cindi Lockhart, RD, LD, Weight Loss Coaching Program Manager

What is Cat’s Claw? Cat’s Claw is a woody vine that grows wild in tropical jungles found in Central and South American countries.  It has claw-shaped thorns on it, thus its name.  It has been used for centuries to prevent and treat disease, to support the immune system, and to prevent or abort pregnancy. 

How does Cat’s Claw impact one’s health? Cat’s Claw has been shown to act as a natural anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antioxidant, immunostimulant, anti-cancer agent.[i],[ii]  It’s anti-fungal properties have shown very beneficial in controlling the overgrowth of the yeast, Candida Albicans.  It cleanses the digestive tract, helping to tame the symptoms of those with Crohn’s disease, gastritis, and colitis.[iii]  It does this by decreasing the inflammation in the gut lining, also known as “leaky gut”, which allows toxins into the bloodstream and cells and malabsorbs the nutrients out of the body. 

Who would benefit from taking Cat’s ClawThis would be a great product for those wishing to stimulate their immunity (not a bad idea going into wintertime) and/or who have intestinal inflammation, conditions, or Candida overgrowth.  If you are not sure whether your intestines are inflamed, there is a simple blood test called the CBC (complete blood count) that assesses your White Blood Cell differentials, which can identify problems.  Life Time Fitness offers a Core Health blood test.  Also, if you have multiple food allergies/ intolerances/ sensitivities, more than likely your intestinal system is inflamed and Cat’s Claw can assist you with the repair of your protective gut lining. 

Recommended dosage: 1-500 mg capsule 1-3 times a day with meals

Potential contraindications: Due to its history of preventing or aborting pregnancy, it is not a recommended supplement for women trying to get pregnant or already pregnant.[iv] Also, its immune-stimulating role contraindicates usage in those with existing immune suppression – insulin dependent diabetes, on immune-suppressant therapy, post organ transplant, or other autoimmune conditions.

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

[i] Heitzman ME, Neto CC, Winiarz E, Vaisberg AJ, Hammond GB (January 2005). "Ethnobotany, phytochemistry and pharmacology of Uncaria (Rubiaceae)". Phytochemistry 66 (1): 5–29.

[ii] Sheng, Y, et al. “An active ingredient of Cat’s Claw water extracts identification and efficacy of quinic acid” J Ethnopharmacol 2005 Jan 15:96(3): 577-84.

[iii] Steinberg, PN. “Cat’s Claw: an herb from the Peruvian Amazon”. Sidahora. 1995 Apr-May: 35-6.

[iv] Noqueira, N, et al. “Contraceptive effect of Cat’s Claw in rats with experimental endometriosis”. Acta Cir Bras 2011; 26 Suppl 2; 15-9.

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Reader Comments (1)

would cat's claw help with all types of inflammation? even associated with menstrual cramps?

December 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlivewell

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