What is Cat’s Claw Used For?

Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa, Uncaria guianensis, Una de Gato, Samento, Saventaro) is an herb traditionally used by the Asháninka Indians of Peru. The tribe recognized two different types of this plant (one was used therapeutically, the other was rarely used). This difference has been verified phytochemically and two chemotypes have been identified: the preferred chemotype contains predominantly only pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids (POAs) speciophylline, mitraphylline, pteropodine, isomitraphylline and isopteropodine; the other chemotype, which was never used, contains predominantly the tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids (TOAs) rhynchophylline and isorhynchophylline in addition to the POAs. The preference for the POA chemotype Cat’s Claw has been backed up by scientific research even though there has been more than enough puff made about TOAs, we still must point out that all Cat’s Claw contains some.  I like to use a product that utilizes the synergistic benefits of Cat’s Claw with a few other herbs. Coriolus, Green Tea and Olive Leaf extract blend well with Cat’s Claw.

Cat’s Claw acts as an immune stimulant, it aids the Th1 response.  It also has some anti-inflammatory actions as well and is therefore a great benefit to a bio-toxin generated autoimmune disorder in the brain.  Because of its anti-inflammatory benefits, it can help brain issues like depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD and the like.

Cats Claw

Cat’s Claw is particularly beneficial in treating Lyme disease.   Lyme just may be the most misdiagnosed problem in America leading to many autoimmune disorders.  Doctors are inclined to rule out Lyme disease based on the negative result of a laboratory test that are just plain poor! Since there has been no reliable laboratory test for Lyme, most clinicians are ill-equipped to diagnose chronic Lyme disease and I have had scores of patients that were refused treatment of acute Lyme due to a false negative test.  These are the patients who have suffered needlessly for years, hopelessly lost in the maze of the health care system, looking for answers and enduring the skepticism of practitioners inexperienced with autoimmune disease.

What has been needed for years has been a better Lyme test or some other objective measure
to persuade practitioners to consider the diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease.

Recently, researchers Dr. Raphael Stricker and Dr. Edward Winger discovered that chronic Lyme patients exhibit a decrease in a specific marker called CD57+.  White blood cells (a.k.a. eukocytes) are the components of blood that help the body fight infections and other diseases. White blood cells are categorized as either granulocytes or mononuclear leukocytes. Mononuclear leukocytes are further sub-grouped into monocytes and lymphocytes.

The main lymphocyte sub-types are B-cells, T-cells and natural killer (NK) cells. B-cells (part of the Th2 response) make antibodies after the T-cells in the Th1 response fail to destroy the antigen in ‘round one’. T-cells and NK cells are the initial cellular aggressors in the immune system and are the sub-group that the CD57 markers are a piece of.

CD markers are a part of the chemical slurry making up an immune response.  CD, which
stands for “cluster designation”, is a glycoprotein molecule on the cell surface that acts as an identifying marker.  Cells have thousands of different identifying markers, or CDs, expressed on their surfaces, and about 200 or so have been recognized and named so far.

Natural Killer cells have their own specific surface markers; the predominant NK cell marker is CD56. The percentage of CD56 NK cells is often measured in patients with chronic diseases as a marker of immune status, i.e., the lower the CD56 level, the weaker that particular portion of the immune system.  With chronic Lyme disease, Dr. Raphael Stricker and Dr. Edward Winger discovered, CD57 NK cells are lower than individuals that are healthy and lower than patients suffering from other chronic, autoimmune disorders. This makes measuring CD57 counts a great marker for these chronic patients who often think they are going crazy. Believe it or not, these chronic and often hidden disorders like chronic Lyme can be responsible for lowering the Th1 response enough to ‘set-up’ cancer!

The reason I bore you with the details is that Cat’s Claw has been shown to be a tremendous help to increase CD57 values.  Who knows what other diseases may be helped with increased CD57 markers.  Unfortunately, Lyme disease can be an underlining ‘cause’ of immune dysfunction that can lead to cancer.

What we use for Lyme:

 Cat’s Claw 


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