Una de Gato or Cat's Claw
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UNA DE GATO
(commonly known as Cat's Claw)
 
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Botanical:  Uncaria tomentosa
Family:   Rubiaceae (madder)
Other common names:  Cat's Claw, Hawk's Claw, Samento, Rangayo, Garabato Amarillo, Jipotatsa, Chacruk

Una de Gato, also commonly called Cat's Claw, is an exotic gift from the Peruvian rainforests that is becoming widely recognized as a superior immune system stimulant with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities, and that's just the beginning. It is said to be a "life-giving" tonic that cleanses the intestinal tract, supports healthy blood pressure levels, helps to lower cholesterol, and new research promises many other surprises.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

History:
Una de Gato, frequently called by its common English name, Cat's Claw, is a tropical, creeping, woody vine that climbs upright, and when it connects to canopy trees, may reach a length of one hundred feet or more.  It is a native of the rainforests of the Peruvian Amazon, and its common name, Cat's Claw, refers to the small, sharp spines on the plant's stem, which are curved back like a cat's claw. Una de Gato belongs to the same plant family as coffee, and the inner bark is used in herbal medicine. The native peoples of South America have used Una de Gato for centuries to treat intestinal problems, heal wounds, remedy gonorrhea and also as a contraceptive.  Current research is being carried out to reveal exciting new medicinal applications for this herb, and it holds great promise in treating a variety of illnesses that will, hopefully, bring positive results.  Some of the constituents in Una de Gato include alkaloids, quinovic acid, glycosides, triterpenes, oleanolic acid, ursolic acid and alloisopteropodine.

Beneficial Uses:
Una de Gato is an herbal anti-inflammatory agent that is thought to be good for relieving the discomforts caused by all forms of arthritis, rheumatism and other inflammatory conditions.  It is a rich source of sterols, the chemical compounds closely related to steroids, and in tests the herb has been known to reduce swelling by approximately fifty percent.

Long prized as a general tonic for its "life-giving" properties, Una de Gato is considered to be one of the finest immune stimulants, ranking among the upper tiers of other, more commonly known immune-boosting herbs.  It is believed to effectively cleanse and detoxify the intestinal tract and replenish friendly bacteria. Most bowel diseases are the result of the disruption of the growth of beneficial flora, and without the proper balance, the immune system may be adversely affected.  Consequently, Una de Gato not only enhances the natural defense system, but it also is said to relieve intestinal disorders, such as diverticulitis, leaky bowel, colitis and dysentery.

Una de Gato may be beneficial in supporting the cardiovascular system by promoting healthy blood pressure levels and slowing the heart rate. The alkaloid content is believed to relax and dilate peripheral blood vessels, promote healthy blood cholesterol levels, restrict platelet aggregation (clotting), and may thus help prevent heart problems and arteriosclerosis. Some USDA research has claimed that Una de Gato seeds contain an enzyme that may be instrumental in converting saturated fats into unsaturated fats, and further studies may substantiate more positive results.

Una de Gato is said to possess antiviral and antibacterial properties and has demonstrated the ability to combat and speed up the ridding of cold viruses and mononucleosis; and its immune-stimulant effects allow it to fight the invasion of Lyme disease, combat sinusitis and skin diseases and to act against Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium associated with gastritis and peptic ulcers.

Una de Gato is a potent immuno-stimulant and antioxidant that fights free radical damage and has been used to support the body during chemotherapy and radiation treatments, helping to remove toxic metabolites.  Some preliminary studies in Italy say it stops the mutation of cells in long-term smokers and regulates the activity of white blood cells. The herb is thought to decrease macrophages if they are overabundant and increase their number if they are deficient, a process that is believed to keep the body's natural antioxidants focused on unhealthy tissues, while not stimulating the body to produce more white cells that may damage healthy tissues.  By stimulating the immune system, Austrian researchers have confirmed Cat's Claw's support for a body weakened by chemotherapy and allows some people to take the full course of chemotherapy needed, as well as possibly improving the outcomes of such treatments.

Contraindications:
Pregnant and nursing women should not take Una de Gato Herbal Supplement, nor should people with autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, etc. Those suffering from tuberculosis should avoid this herb. It should always be taken with at least six ounces of water to maintain its efficacy.  Do not take Una de Gato without talking to your doctor first if you are taking: Blood thinning medicine (examples: warfarin, aspirin, enoxaparin). Una de Gato should not be used by organ transplant patients or anyone with an autoimmune disease, children under three years of age or by skin graft patients. There have been reports that Una de Gato may lower hormone levels, such as estrogen and progesterone.

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