Monday, 28 October 2013

Popular Herbs - Cat's claw (Uncaria tomentosa)

Cat's claw
found in in the tropical jungles of South and Central America, is a genus Uncaria, belonging to the family Rubiaceae. It has been used in traditional medicine over two thousand years as a tonic, contraceptive, anti-inflammatory and infectious agent, and to treat diarrhea, rheumatic disorders, acne, diabetes, cancer and diseases of the urinary tract, etc..

Health benefits
1. Anti-cancers
Animal studies on mice bearing Lewis lung carcinoma showed significant inhibition of tumor growth by oxindole alkaloid composition (B/W(37)) of Cat`s claw bark extracted administered for 21 days at daily doses of 5 and 0.5 mg (p=0.0009).according to the study of `Anticancer activity of the Uncaria tomentosa (Willd.) DC. preparations with different oxindole alkaloid composition`by Pilarski R, Filip B, Wietrzyk J, Kuraś M, Gulewicz K.(1)

2. Osteoarthritis
Cat`s claw has shown their anti-inflammatory activity in inhibiting TNFalpha and to a lesser extent PGE2 production as it may be considered to be used in the treatment for osteoarthritis, according to the study of `Efficacy and safety of freeze-dried cat's claw in osteoarthritis of the knee: mechanisms of action of the species Uncaria guianensis`by Piscoya J, Rodriguez Z, Bustamante SA, Okuhama NN, Miller MJ, Sandoval M.(2)

3. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities
Oral extract of Cat's claw has demonstrated the activity of protection against indomethacin-induced gastritis, and prevention of TNFalpha mRNA expression and apoptosis, according to the study of `Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities of cat's claw (Uncaria tomentosa and Uncaria guianensis) are independent of their alkaloid content`by Sandoval M, Okuhama NN, Zhang XJ, Condezo LA, Lao J, Angeles' FM, Musah RA, Bobrowski P, Miller MJ.(3)

4. Contraceptive effect
In a study of 29 rats with experimental endometriosis, Uncaria tomentosa extract, has increased immature ovarian follicles by 90% and reduced the uterine epithelium proliferation also by 90%, according to the study of `Contraceptive effect of Uncaria tomentosa (cat's claw) in rats with experimental endometriosis`by Nogueira Neto J, Cavalcante FL, Carvalho RA, Rodrigues TG, Xavier MS, Furtado PG, Schor E.(4)

5. Colorectal cancer
300  mg of Uncaria tomentosa has exerted the ability in Reducing Side Effects Caused by Chemotherapy in colorectal cancer Patients by improving the antioxidant status, according to the study of `Uncaria tomentosa for Reducing Side Effects Caused by Chemotherapy in CRC Patients: Clinical Trial`by Farias IL, Araújo MC, Farias JG, Rossato LV, Elsenbach LI, Dalmora SL, Flores NM, Durigon M, Cruz IB, Morsch VM, Schetinger MR.(5)

6. Irregular cells growth
Uncaria tomentosa had demonstrated the effectiveness in stimulating the proliferation of myeloid progenitors and cause apoptosis of abnormal proliferation of cells, according to the study of `Uncaria tomentosa stimulates the proliferation of myeloid progenitor cells`by Farias I, do Carmo Araújo M, Zimmermann ES, Dalmora SL, Benedetti AL, Alvarez-Silva M, Asbahr AC, Bertol G, Farias J, Schetinger MR.(6)

7. Diabetes
The extract has exerted the activities of effect in preventing the progression of immune-mediated diabetes by distinct pathways, according to the study of `Prevention of experimental diabetes by Uncaria tomentosa extract: Th2 polarization, regulatory T cell preservation or both?`by Domingues A, Sartori A, Golim MA, Valente LM, da Rosa LC, Ishikawa LL, Siani AC, Viero RM.(7)

8. Acute ischemic kidney
By evaluating the creatinine clearance, urinary excretion of peroxides and malondealdehyde indexes, Cat's claw exhibits the renoprotective effects on ischemic acute kidney injury, according to the study of `[Uncaria tomentosa and acute ischemic kidney injury in rats].
[Article in Portuguese]`by de Fátima Fernandes Vattimo M, da Silva NO.(8)

9. Antimicrobial activity
Cat`s claw has exerted antimicrobial activity against microorganisms frequently found in infected root-filled teeth, including Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans, according to the study of `In vitro antimicrobial activity of phytotherapic Uncaria tomentosa against endodontic pathogens`by Herrera DR, Tay LY, Rezende EC, Kozlowski VA Jr, Santos EB(9)

10. Thyroid cancer
Cat`s claw has shown the effect of reducing growth of Medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) cells as well as enzymatic activity of mitochondrial dehydrogenase was markedly inhibited after treatment with different fractions of the plant, according to the study of `Antiproliferative and pro-apoptotic effects of Uncaria tomentosa in human medullary thyroid carcinoma cells`by Rinner B, Li ZX, Haas H, Siegl V, Sturm S, Stuppner H, Pfragner R.(10)

11. Ewing's sarcoma and breast cancer
Pentacyclic oxindole alkaloid mitraphylline from Uncaria tomentosa has exerted the activities of Cytotoxic effect in human sarcoma and breast cancer cells line, according to the study of `Cytotoxic effect of the pentacyclic oxindole alkaloid mitraphylline isolated from Uncaria tomentosa bark on human Ewing's sarcoma and breast cancer cell lines`by
García Giménez D, García Prado E, Sáenz Rodríguez T, Fernández Arche A, De la Puerta R.(11)

12. Parkinson disease
oral intake of Uncaria tomentosa (cat's claw) has shown to reverse the worsening of motor signs in a patient with Parkinson disease, according to the study of `Reversible worsening of Parkinson disease motor symptoms after oral intake of Uncaria tomentosa (cat's claw)`by Cosentino C, Torres L.(12)

13. Antimutagenic activities
Extract of U. tomentosa ingested daily for 15 days by a smoker has decreased the mutagenicity induced in S. typhimurium TA98 and TA100 by the subject's urine, according to the study of `Mutagenic and antimutagenic activities of Uncaria tomentosa and its extracts`by Rizzi R, Re F, Bianchi A, De Feo V, de Simone F, Bianchi L, Stivala LA.(13)

14. Etc.

Side effects
1. It may cause allergic reaction, including itching, rash and allergic inflammation of the kidneys, etc. to certain people, according to the article of `Uncaria Tomentosa`by Wikipedia(a)
2. If you are taking blood pressure medicines, blood-thinning medications, hormones, or insulin do not take cat's claw
3. Do not take Cat's claw if you are pregnant or breast feeding with out approval of your related field specialist
4. Do not take cat’s claw if you have low blood pressure or an autoimmune disease (such as lupus or multiple sclerosis) or have had an organ or bone marrow transplant.
5. Etc.

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