Cat’s Claw (aka Una de Gato or Uncario) has been used in both Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for centuries. The Western varieties originate from Peru and the Panama-basin, were long used by the Incans as a cure-all herb. The variety used in TCM, Uncaria gambir, is native to Japan, Malaysia, China, and Vietnam. Collectively these varieties have very similar properties with the Western varieties being bitter and cold, and the TCM variety being sweet, bitter, and cool.
The plant is especially famous for its outstanding anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antiviral properties. Virtually any condition associated with inflammation can be treated using this herb and its antiviral properties can effectively treat diseases ranging from AIDS to colds and flu.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has used cat’s claw for centuries to treat high blood pressure. We now know the herb contains the alkaloid hirsutine, which specifically acts as a calcium-channel blocker, lowering blood pressure while simultaneously widening and relaxing blood vessels.
In TCM, the branch and stem are particularly favored for their nerve-inhibiting actions. They are considered to be sedating, anticonvulsant, hypotensive, and analgesic.
In the West, cat’s claw is popularly used to treat arthritis and cancer.
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