For centuries the indigenous tribes of the Amazon rainforest have used different plants as a cure for illnesses and diseases. Catís claw is one of the most important and valuable medicinal herbs. It is often called the ďMiracle Herb from the Rain ForestĒ and is praised for its numerous health benefits.
Catís claw (Uncaria tomentosa) is a large woody vine (liana) that grows in the Amazon rainforest and other tropical areas of South and Central America, including Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Trinidad, Venezuela, Suriname, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Panama. Catís claw derives its name from hook-like thorns at the base of the leaves that resemble the claws of a cat. With the help of the claws the plant clings to the trees and can reach approximately 100 feet in height. The herb has simple leaves with smooth margin that are in opposite pairs or whorls of two. Catís claw fruits have the form of ellipse and contain a lot of small seeds.
Uncaria tomentosa and Uncaria guianensis are two species of catís claw. They have much in common and can be substituted. Nevertheless, these herbs are not identical and have some small differences in appearance and chemical structure. The flowers of Uncaria tomentosa are yellowish white, while Uncaria guianensis has reddish orange flowers. The chemical composition of Uncaria guianensis is not so rich and lacks some essential components, that is why this herb is less valuable than Uncaria tomentosa.
It is very important to note that there is one more plant, called ďcatís clawĒ, which grows in Mexico and Latin America. It is Acacia gregii, and it is absolutely different from the herbs mentioned above. This plant does not demonstrate any of the healing properties of genuine catís claw. Furthermore, it may cause poisoning.
Catís claw has not been well-researched yet. Nevertheless, this plant has a long history of use, which began about 2,000 years ago. Native tribes of the Amazon rainforest used catís claw to cure such illnesses as asthma, arthritis, rheumatism, and bone pain. It was also believed that this herb helped to recover from childbirth, to cure deep wounds and cancer. Catís claw was also considered effective in treating tumors, diabetes, different types of cancer and many other conditions that negatively influence human organism. Catís claw was also used by several different tribes of Peru as a contraceptive, because they thought it was effective in pregnancy prevention.
Having been used by indigenous population of the Amazon rainforest for a long time, catís claw has come to the attention of Western researchers and scientists in the 20th century. Studies began in the early 1970s when Klaus Keplinger, an Austrian journalist and ethnologist, organized the first experiments. The conducted researches have allowed to identify the chemical structure of catís claw and to explain its mechanism of action.
Catís claw contains several groups of chemicals that ensure healing properties and medicinal use of the plant. Oxidole alkaloids, the most powerful elements of the herb, are supposed to act as immune-stimulating and anti-leukemic agents. Quinovic acid glycosides show the ability to protect organism from viruses and infections. Antioxidant chemicals (tannins, catechines and procyanidins), as well as plant sterols, account for the plantís anti-inflammatory properties. One more class of constituents, carboxyl alkyl esters, is believed to stimulate immune system, fight different viruses and reduce inflammation in the human body.
Catís claw with its miraculous benefits has become quite popular nowadays. It is often taken as immune system stimulator or as a general tonic. Besides, the plant can be used as a treatment for arthritis and inflammation, for bowel and colon problems, and as a complementary therapy for cancer patients.
The Herb known as Catís Claw is a vine that grows wild in the highlands of the Peruvian Amazon. The vine clings to trees in order to climb upwards to ...
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