Cat’s Claw Could Combat Arthritis

Cat’s claw (una de gato) is a plant from the Amazon River basin that is widely used for inflammatory diseases and was  described as an inhibitor of NF-kappaB. There are two main species of cat’s claw used medicinally; Uncaria guianensis and Uncaria tomentosa. Cat’s claw is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties and has been used for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Cat’s claw is a powerful inhibitor of production of the proinflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha in vitro. The anti-inflammatory effect appears to involve suppression of  tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha  synthesis, as well as the secretion of nitric oxide and interleukins.

Cat’s Claw Benefits for Arthritis

Cat’s claw is commonly used in South America and more recently in Western nations, as an anti-inflammatory agent in treating arthritis. Researchers have confirmed that cat’s claw imparts potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and may so help manage diseases associated with oxidative stress and inflammation. The main mechanism for cat’s claw anti-inflammatory effects appears to be immunomodulation via suppression of TNF-alpha synthesis.This plant also decreased the experimentally induced release of prostaglandin E2, an inflammatory mediator associated with conditions such as arthritis.

Cat’s claw helps protect joint cartilage and has displayed efficacy in relieving joint pain, indicating it may be beneficial for patients suffering from arthritis. Some of the chemicals in cat’s claw actively scavenge free radicals and oxidants, the molecules that cause cell damage and inflammation, according to a 2005 research. New plant chemicals called quinovic acid glycosides were documented to be the most strong anti-inflammatory components of the cat’s claw. Some studies showed cat’s claw could inhibit inflammation from 46% up to 89% in various in vivo and in vitro experiments.

A four-week, clinical study investigated the possible benefits of cat’s claw ( Uncaria guianensis) for the therapy of osteoarthritis. A total of 45 participants with osteoarthritis were enrolled. Of participants, 30 were treated with cat’s claw extract, and 15 were given placebo. Participants in the treatment group demonstrated reduced pain with activity as compared to those in the placebo group. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease in which the body attacks its own joints resulting in chronic pain, stiffness and a loss of movement. In 2002, the Journal of “Rheumatology” reported a randomized double-blind study of cat’s claw for the therapy of rheumatoid arthritis. This study, 40 participant receiving therapy for rheumatoid arthritis with prescription drugs (hydroxychloroquine or sulfasalazine) were given either 60 mg per day of cat’s claw extract (Uncaria tomentosa) or a placebo for 24 weeks. During the first 24 weeks, joint pain was reduced by 53% in those taking the cat’s claw, compared with a 24% decrease in joint pain in those taking the placebo.

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