The Rainforest Remedy—Cat’s Claw

Deep in the rainforest of the Amazon is an ancient plant that has been used for generations by Peruvian Indians to treat a variety of health problems.

Today, research is being conducted on the remarkable plant called cat’s claw in many countries, including Peru, Austria, Germany, Italy, England, and the United States.

Recently, word-of-mouth reports have been spread across the United States that this plant may be one of the most beneficial substances to fight today’s ailments.

Cat’s claw belongs to the genus Uncaria tomentosa. All members of this species have hooked, large thorns which resemble a cat’s claw.

Reports indicate that cat’s claw has antioxidant properties that can reportedly be useful in treating arthritis, allergies, herpes, gastrointestinal imbalances, premenstrual syndrome, ulcers, and in aiding the immune function.

According to Dr. Richard Gerber, M.D. who works in holistic medicine therapies: “Cat’s claw is a unique herbal remedy…It shows great promise for the treatment of arthritis when taken internally. European research has shown that the herb has very low toxicity, even in large amounts.”

In the last decade, there has been a great interest in substances which possess properties that directly or indirectly reduce the mutagenic activity of other chemicals. Antimutagens often occur naturally in food and plants. Cat’s claw has shown significant antimutagenic and antioxidant activity.

In a May 1995 issue of Health and Healing, Julian Whitaker, M.D. pointed out that there are unique alkaloids in Cat’s Claw that appear to enhance the immune system in a general way. These alkaloids seem to help the white blood cells engulf and digest harmful macro-organisms and foreign matter.

In the May/June 1995 issue of Cat’s Claw News, Philip Steinberg reported on a number of anecdotal case histories. Julie Clemens, N.D., said that Cat’s Claw has even improved her mother’s conditions of severe circulatory problems in her legs, according to Steinberg.

Dr. Brent Davis, who has been working with Cat’s Claw since 1988, has reported that the herb beneficially affects every aspect of the gastrointestinal system and would, therefore, be beneficial for treating ulcers, gastritis, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Davis stated that “Uncaria tomentosa is a world-class herb which has the power to arrest and reverse deep seated pathology, allowing a more rapid return to health.


Leon, Federico R., Ph.D., and Cabieses, Fernando, M.D. “Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Cat’s Claw,” Bulletin of the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, May 15, 1995, pp. 1-4.

Steinberg, Phil, Cat’s Claw News 1(1), May/June 1995.Whitaker, Julian, M.D. Health and Healing. 5(5), May 1995.

See related herb article(s): Milk Thistle-Herbal Detoxifier

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