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.

Cat’s Claw Could Halt Cancer

Cat’s claw (una de gato) is native to the Amazon. This plant, is extremely complex in its composition and is very rich in phytochemical actives. The active components that appear to be the most important are a group of alkaloids called oxindole alkaloids. These oxindoles include isopteropodine, isomitraphylline, mytraphylline, isorynchophylline, pteropodine, and rhynchophylline. Cat’s claw alkaloids have been particularly associated with enhancing immune system cell function, including phagocytosis and macrophage activity.

Cat’s Claw Cancer Research

In vitro studies show that the alkaloids from cat’s claw enhance phagocytosis, display immunomodulatory effects, and reduce inflammation. Cat’s claw is considered a strong inhibitor of  TNF-alpha production. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) represents a model for tumor growth driven by an inflammatory cytokine chemical. Anti-inflammatory effects such as the blocking of  TNF-alpha synthesis, help to prevent cancer. Cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa) water extracts have been shown to enhance DNA repair after chemical-induced damage. European scientists found that cat’s claw inhibited human leukemia cells from growing in the lab and induced them to undergo programmed self-destruction.

The possible anti-cancer effects of cat’s claw were investigated in a study on the mutagenic activity in cigarette smokers’ urine. After taking Cat’s claw, smokers’ urine demonstrated a important reduction of mutagenic activity. Swedish scientists documented it inhibited the growth of lymphoma and leukemia cells in vitro in 1998. A study examined the effects of extracts and their chromatographic fractions obtained from the bark of cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa) on the growth of a human breast cancer cell line (MCF7). The  results demonstrated that, in addition to the antimutagenic activity, cat’s claw extracts and fractions can exert a direct antiproliferative activity on MCF7 breast cancer cell lines.

Cat’s claw enhances DNA repair. When patients who had previously undergone chemotherapy supplemented with water-soluble cat’s claw extract for 8 weeks, they exhibited markedly decreased DNA damage and increased DNA repair. Early reports some studies with cancer patients taking cat’s claw in conjunction with such cancer treatments as chemotherapy and radiation reported fewer adverse effects to the treatments. A 2000 study demonstrated that patients who took cat’s claw when undergoing chemotherapy suffered fewer adverse effects and felt stronger.

Cat’s Claw to Enhance the Immune System

Cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa) is an plant found in the highlands of Peru’s Amazon rainforest. Cat’s Claw contains oxindole alkaloids, especially the pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids and other compounds. Cat’s claw alkaloids have been particularly associated with enhancing immune system cell function, including phagocytosis and macrophage activity.

Cat’s Claw Benefits and Immune System

Especially, the pentacyclic oxindole alkaloid, isopteropodine, enhances phagocytic activity of white  blood cells. Additionally stimulate  production of interleukin-1 and -6 in alveolar  macrophages, suggesting a potent immunostimulant  effect. Austrian researcher Klaus Keplinger has obtained two US patents for isolating some of the herb’s important components. Lab experiments has shown these alkaloids to have a pronounced enhancement effect on phagocytosis. According to Keplinger’s research, 4 alkaloids have been shown to have a pronounced enhancement activity on phagocytosis.  According to both patents, the most immunologically active alkaloid is isopteropodine or isomer A.

Some cat’s claw have POAs, while others tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids (TOAs), which do not help the immune system at all. It was found that two chemotypes of Uncaria tomentosa with different alkaloid patterns occur in nature. The roots of one type contain pentacyclic oxindoles and the other contains tetracyclic oxindoles. TOAs (tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids) act on the central nervous system, whereas POAs (pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids) affect the cellular immune system. Several in-vitro studies have shown that  POAs (pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids)-containing cat’s claw products activate both T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes and enhance the phagocyte performance rate of the granulocytes and of cells in the reticul-endothelial system. POAs increases the production of interleukin, a chemical protein secreted by macrophages that alerts resting white blood cells and forces them into action and helps make other biochemicals that are beneficial to the immune system.

A study demonstrates that cat’s claw may help boost the efficacy of vaccines. When adults supplemented with cat’s claw for two months before receiving a pneumonia vaccination, their antibody titers remained at higher levels 5 months longer than in the control group. An extract form Cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa) known as C-Med 100 induces prolonged lymphocyte half life and therefore increased spleen cell number in mice dosed with this extract in their drinking water. Also, there were no detectable changes of the lymphoid structure of the spleen even after prolonged therapy. When the therapy with the C-Med 100 extract was interrupted, the cellular components returned to normal levels within 1 month.  The scientists concluded that the use of C-Med 100 could be a potential agent for clinically accelerating patients’ recovery from leukopenia.

Can Ginger Root Help Cancer Treatment?

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a plant native to India and China. Ginger contains some important active components, including volatile oils and phenol compounds such as gingerols, shogaols and zingerone. Gingerols, shogaols, zingerone, and volatile oils give ginger its distinct aroma, as well as its health effects. Some pungent components present in ginger and other zingiberaceous plants have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and some of them exhibit cancer preventive effect in experimental carcinogenesis.

Ginger Cancer Prevention and Treatment

Ginger has been known to display antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiproliferative effects, indicating its promising role as a chemopreventive agent. Therapy with (6)-gingerol, has been found to have the activity to kill cancerous cells according to a study reported in March 2007 edition of  Molecular Nutrition and Clinical Research. Researchers at the “University of Michigan” have showed that ginger root  kills ovarian cancer cells by inducing apoptotic and autophagic cell death. “In multiple ovarian cancer cell lines, we found that ginger induced cell death at a similar or better rate than the platinum-based chemotherapy drugs typically used to treat ovarian cancer,” says Jennifer Rhode, M.D. a gynecologic oncology fellow at the U-M Medical School.

In a 2003 study, rats with colorectal tumors who were injected with ginger had significantly less tumor growth and spreading than control rats. A new study was performed at the University of Minnesota’s Hormel Institute in Austin, that show consuming ginger root may reduce tumors and aid in cancer prevention. Researchers at the “University of Minnesota” evaluated the effect of ginger on lab mice injected with human bowel cancer tumour cells. Twenty mice were fed the ginger before receiving therapy. A control group of mice was also injected with cancer but not fed the spice. After 2 weeks, 13 tumours had appeared among the control mice, but just 4 among the ginger-treated animals. Ginger root reduced markers of colon inflammation in a select group of patients, according to a study  reported in “Cancer Prevention Research“. By researchers at the University of  Michigan Medical School, enrolled 30 patients and randomly assigned them to 2 g of ginger per day or placebo for 28 days. After 28 days, the scientists measured standard levels of colon inflammation and found statistically significant decrease in most of these markers, and trends toward significant decrease in others.

Some researches demonstrate that ginger root may help reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer, kill cancerous cells.  Detailed studies have approved that  ginger root extract perturbed cell-cycle progression, impaired reproductive capacity, modulated cell-cycle and apoptosis regulatory molecules and induced a caspase-driven, mitochondrially mediated apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells. A study out of  “Georgia State University” demonstrated  ginger root extract was able to shrink prostate tumor size by 56 % in mice. Tumour tissue from ginger root extract -treated mice demonstrated reduced proliferation index and widespread apoptosis compared with controls, as determined by immunoblotting and immunohistochemical methods.

Ginger Root Can be An Important Treatment For Arthritis

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a plant native to China, South East Asia, West Africa and the Caribbean. This spice has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years to fight inflammation and rheumatism. Ginger contains active ingredients, including gingerols, which have anti-inflammatory effects. Its ability to reduce inflammation is especially beneficial for those with either rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Several lab and animal-based studies have found ginger root can reduce the production of several chemical substances that promote joint inflammation. (Powdered ginger is more strong than fresh ginger).

Ginger Pain Relief and Arthritis Treatment

Ginger has been shown to alleviate the pain of arthritis. The discovery of ginger’s inhibitory properties on prostaglandin biosynthesis in the early 1970s has been repeatedly confirmed. Ginger root suppresses prostaglandin synthesis through inhibition of  COX-1 (cyclooxygenase-1) and COX-2 (cyclooxygenase-2).  In a 1992 study reported in the journal, “Medical Hypotheses“, all 56 participants who suffered from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other muscular disorders experienced healing in pain and inflammation while taking powdered ginger. In the period of therapy with ginger root, none of the participants reported side effects like they did with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids and other anti-inflammatory medications.

GingerIn a study of 56 people, ginger root extract was effective in reducing pain and inflammation in three-quarters of the arthritis patients and all of the patients with muscular discomfort. According to a study reported in “Arthritis and Rheumatism“, Nov 2001, ginger root can lessen the pain and suffering of people who have osteoarthritis as well as conventional medications or painkillers. One study shows that taking Zintona EC (a specific ginger extract) 250 mg four times daily reduced arthritis pain in the knee after three months of therapy.

Ginger root is efficacious as a therapy for pain and inflammation, according to a 2005 research reported in Archives of Iranian Medicine.  Scientists found that pain fell approximately 50% for people in the ginger and ibuprofen groups. A study reported n 2006 in the Indian Journal of  Rheumatology found that ginger root was as powerful as the standard medication indomethacin in relieving knee pain. A 2008 study in the British journal “Food and Chemical Toxicology” demonstrated that ginger acts as an anti-inflammatory, along with many other favorable effects. In a 2012 in vitro study, Eurovita Extract 77 (a specialized ginger extract) reduced inflammatory reactions in rheumatoid arthritis synovial cells as effectively as steroids.

In a study, a special ginger root extract combined with glucosamine worked as well as the anti-inflamatory drug diclofenac slow release 100 mg daily plus glucosamine sulfate 1 g daily. In another study of 261 participants with osteoarthritis of the knee, those who took a ginger root extract twice daily had less pain and needed fewer pain-killing drugs than those who received placebo. In other study compared the effects of a highly concentrated ginger root extract to placebo in 247 participants with osteoarthritis of the knee. The ginger extract reduced pain and stiffness in knee joints by 40% over the placebo. “Research shows that ginger affects certain inflammatory processes at a cellular level,” says the study’s lead author, Roy Altman, MD, at the University of California.