In the search for effective cancer-fighting agents, scientists have turned their attention to a promising herbal remedy from the Peruvian rain forest. Nicknamed «Cat’s claw«, this tropical vine has been used in South America for centuries in the treatment of cancer, arthritis and stomach disorders. Promising new laboratory studies show that compounds derived from cat’s claw extract possess potent immune-boosting, DNA-protecting, and cancer-fighting properties.
Cat’s claw against cancer
Swedish researchers found evidence for the important immunity-boosting properties of cat’s claw extract. In rodents, administration of cat’s claw extract for eight weeks improved the animals’ ability to respond to immune system challenges.
Similarly, when human volunteers were supplemented with cat’s claw extract for six weeks, they demonstrated elevated white blood cell levels.
Healthy immune system function is crucial for protection against a wide variety of disease-causing agents.
Cat’s claw protects DNA
Cat’s claw may also help protect DNA against damage that can contribute to cancer. When subjects received cat’s claw extract for eight weeks before being exposed to DNA-damaging radiation, they demonstrated a markedly improved ability to repair DNA damage.
Cat’s claw’s ability to protect DNA has also been observed in humans.
Volunteers who were exposed to a DNA-damaging chemical and supplemented with cat’s claw extract showed decreased DNA damage and increased DNA repair.
Cat’s claw appears to support healthy DNA structure.
It also shows promise in protecting human cells against cancer. In 2001, Italian scientists discovered that cat’s claw extract reduced the proliferation of human breast cancer cells in the laboratory.
More recently, Austrian scientists showed that cat’s claw extract prevents human leukemia cells from growing in the laboratory by inducing them to self-destruct (undergo apoptosis).
When the Austrian team investigated the active components in cat’s claw extract, they found that several of its active ingredients fight cancer by inhibiting the proliferation of leukemia cells or by killing leukemia cells directly.
Cat’s claw as an herbal remedy
While scientists are still investigating how this herbal remedy with cat’s claw fights cancerbelieve that cat’s claw extract and its active ingredients may help regulate various cytokines, proteins secreted by the immune system that are thought to play an important role in the body’s natural defense against cancer.
- When considering the use of herbal supplements, seek the advice of your doctor. You may also consider consulting a professional trained in the use of herbal/health supplements.
- If you choose to use cat’s claw, use it as directed on the package or as directed by your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Do not use more of this product than is recommended on the label.
- Avoid different forms (tablets, liquids, tincture, tea, etc.) of cat’s claw at the same time without medical advice. Using different formulations together increases the risk of an overdose.
- If you need surgery, stop taking cat’s claw at least 2 weeks ahead of time.
- Call your doctor if the condition you are treating with cat’s claw does not improve or if it worsens while using this product.
- Store it at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
- Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra cat’s claw to make up for a missed dose.
- Do not use cat’s claw if you are pregnant. It could harm the fetus. Use an effective contraceptive method and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.
- Avoid breastfeeding while using this product.
- Skip herbal/health supplements to a child without medical advice.