Cat’s Claw Benefits
This powerful herb is the perfect blend of anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial properties. Alongside these features, it also possesses immune modulating properties that can help restore and strengthen an impaired immune system.
Based on these health-promoting attributes, cat’s claw can offer several benefits.
1. Cat’s Claw Treats arthritis
This is one area that has received a lot of attention and research regarding the use of cat’s claw.
Since this herb was also used by ancient civilizations for treating inflammatory issues, the practice carried over and is now considered as a non-pharmacological way to improve osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
Some preliminary studies have explored the effect of using cat’s claw for both osteoarthritis  and rheumatoid arthritis .
It gets this anti-inflammatory potential from a compound known as pentacyclic oxindolic alkaloid (POA).
For osteoarthritis, one study worked with 100 mg of freeze-dried cat’s claw taken daily for four weeks. When compared to the placebo group for the same study, participants receiving cat’s claw reported more effective pain relief and an overall improvement in their condition.
The herb has also been suggested as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis given its anti-inflammatory action.
Given its traditional use for the same condition, the study used 20 mg of cat’s claw extract administered 3 times daily for 24 weeks to RA patients. Results showed the group receiving cat’s claw extract to experience a greater reduction in painful joints compared to the placebo group.
However, while the cat’s claw may help with reducing inflammation, there is no evidence to support that it can stop joint damage from worsening.
And given the small number of sample subjects, it is recommended that larger studies are conducted to confirm these benefits.
2. Cat’s Claw Can Boosts Immunity
Studies on animal and human subjects have brought forth cat claw’s powerful immune-boosting potential.
One study indicated that white blood cell count elevated significantly when participants were given 700 mg of cat’s claw daily for two months before receiving pneumonia vaccination .
Another similar study revealed that receiving cat’s claw extract for six weeks presented similar results .
Researchers believe that this immune-boosting prowess comes from the herb’s anti-inflammatory activity.
Cat’s Claw Benefits
3. Cat’s Claw Anti-cancer Activity
Some preliminary test tube studies indicate that the POA content in cat’s claw may possess anti-tumor properties.
Researchers believe that POA is toxic to certain cancer cells while having a smaller impact on healthy cells damaged by chemotherapy.
One 2001 in vivo study showed the bark of the plant preventing the growth of human breast cancer cells by exerting an antiproliferative and antimutagenic effect on cancer cells .
Another later study looked at its effects on fighting leukemia.
Four alkaloids present in the bark of cat’s claw showed potential to inhibit the proliferation of human leukemia cells. Of these, two called pteropodine and uncarine F were most potent in not only stopping the growth of leukemia cells but also inducing the affected cells to undergo apoptosis or programmed cell death .
A more recent study on the subject suggested that using the herbal extract for advanced cancer patients may help improve their quality of life and reduce cancer-related fatigue (CRF) .
And while the evidence is there, the studies are still scarce. This means that cat’s claw may be a potential natural treatment for cancer but a lot more research is needed before it can be established as a treatment mode for cancer.
4. Cat’s Claw Ability For DNA Repair
Chemotherapy is a conventional cancer treatment that has a number of negative side effects. One of these side effects manifests itself as DNA damage of otherwise healthy cells.
An earlier study conducted in 2001 examined the efficacy of a water-soluble cat’s claw extract used for 8 weeks on participants having received chemotherapy treatment.
The results were highly promising as they demonstrated a significant reduction in cellular DNA damage. At the same time, DNA repair increased in the group receiving the supplement as compared to participants who didn’t receive the supplement.
Tying in with its immune boosting properties, participants who received the cat’s claw supplement also experienced an increase in white blood cell generation.
This is significant in the sense that chemotherapy often lowers white blood cell counts and increases the risk of infection .
Cat’s Claw Review
5. Lyme Disease Treatment
An interesting and prospective new addition to Lyme disease treatment protocol, cat’s claw has been examined in one study for its effects on patients with a confirmed diagnosis.
Every participant in the study had had the disease for over 10 years with progressive deterioration.
The study ran for 26 weeks in which the intervention group received cat’s claw while other pharmaceuticals were reduced or discontinued.
At the end of the study, the cat’s claw group reported greater improvements than the control group in symptom management including joint and muscle pain, fatigue, headaches, sleep disturbances and digestive disturbances among others .
6. Cat’s Claw Lowers Blood Pressure
The herb has also been used as a treatment for lowering high blood pressure in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Acting in a blood-thinning capacity, a different variety of cat’s claw known as Uncaria rhynchophylla inhibits platelet aggregation and blood clot formation.
This activity can likely help ward off strokes and heart attacks by lowering blood pressure and improving circulation. At the same time, it inhibits plaque and arterial blood clot formation. 
Most of this activity is attributed to an alkaloid known as hirsutine. Hirsutine acts as a calcium channel blocker which blocks calcium from infiltrating the walls of the blood vessels and the heart.
These calcium channel blockers can also relax and widen blood vessels on their own. This mechanism promotes blood flow in a smooth and healthy manner.