Cat's Claw is a a liana deriving its name from hook-like thorns that resemble the claws of a cat. It grows profusely in the Amazon regions and other countries including in China and used as an alternative medicine in the treatment of a variety of ailments. The indigenous peoples of South and Central America have used Cat's Claw for medicinal purposes for two thousand years or more. Researchers have investigated the use of the plant by the Asháninka tribe of Peru, who use the plant as a general health tonic, contraceptive, anti-inflammatory agent for the gastrointestinal tract, and as a treatment for diarrhoea, rheumatic disorders, acne, diabetes, cancer and diseases of the urinary tract. In Brazilian traditional medicine it is used against dengue to reduce inflammation .Cat's Claw contains several alkaloids that are responsible for its alleged medical effects, as well as tannins and various phytochemicals. Test tube studies indicate that cat's claw may stimulate the immune system, help relax the smooth muscles (such as the intestines), dilate blood vessels (helping lower blood pressure), and act as a diuretic (helping rid the body of excess water). It also has antioxidant properties, helping rid the body of particles known as free radicals that damage cells. The recent research shows Cat's claw is being studied for a number of other possible uses, including HIV, Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus), and Alzheimer's disease. It may have antitumor and anticancer effects as well.
Functional food and food additive