An herb that grows in the highlands of the Peruvian Amazon. The native Ashanica Indians have used this herb for many years to treat various illnesses associated with the immune and digestive systems.
In July of 1989, a U.S. patent was issued to a research scientist for isolating six oxindole alkaloids from the root of the Cat?s Claw herb. This patent states that all but two of the alkaloids ?are suitable for the unspecific stimulation of the immune system?. According to the patent, Isopteropodine is the most immunologically active of the alkaloids and it has shown to have a profound affect on phagocytosis, which is the ability of the white blood cells and macrophages to attack and digest harmful microorganisms, foreign matter and debris. Cat?s Claw contains several of the polyphenols, in addition to triterpines and the plant steroids, beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol and campesterol. These compounds exert powerful anti-oxidant, anti-viral, anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties.
It is important to note that there is another Uncaria species that grows in the lowlands of the Peruvian rain forests called Uncaria Guiansis.
This name also translates to Cat?s Claw. Although it has some of the same characteristics of Uncaria Tomentosa, it lacks the most active alkaloid, Isopteropodine. Therefore, this species has a less effective action on immune function. Products that may be sold as ?Cat?s Claw? can be either species so it?s important to read the label carefully so that you may identify the most effective species.