Cat's claw has been used for centuries in South America to prevent and treat disease. It has been used for a variety of health conditions, including viral infections (such as herpes and HIV), Alzheimer's disease, cancer, and arthritis.
Both South American uncaria species are used by the indigenous peoples of the Amazon rainforest in very similar ways and have long histories of use. Cat's Claw has been used medicinally by the Aguaruna, Asháninka, Cashibo, Conibo, and Shipibo tribes of Peru for at least 2,000 years.
Cat's claw has been used in Peru and Europe since the early 1990s as an adjunctive treatment for cancer and AIDS as well as for other diseases that target the immune system. In herbal medicine today, Cat's Claw is employed around the world for many different conditions, including immune disorders, gastritis, ulcers, arthritis, rheumatism, rheumatic disorders, neuralgias, chronic inflammation of all kinds, and such viral diseases as herpes zoster (shingles). Dr. Brent Davis, D.C. has written several articles on Cat's Claw and refers to it as the "opener of the way" for its ability to cleanse the entire intestinal tract and its effectiveness in treating stomach and bowel disorders (such as Crohn's disease, leaky bowel syndrome, ulcers, gastritis, diverticulitis, and other inflammatory conditions of the bowel, stomach, and intestines). Dr. Julian Whitaker, M.D. reports using Cat's Claw for its immune-stimulating effects for cancer, to help prevent strokes and heart attacks, to reduce blood clots and for diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome.
Cat's Claw has become quite popular in the West and is mostly taken today to boost immune function, as an all over tonic and preventative to stay healthy, for arthritis and inflammation, for bowel and colon problems, and as a complementary therapy for cancer.
Avoid use if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Consult you doctor if you have an 'auto-immune disease' such as Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, as Cat's Claw may worsen these conditions. May lower blood pressure.