Cat’s claw extract is a nutritional supplement that is made using the bark and the root of the cat’s claw vine, or Uncaria tomentosa. The vine, which is native to Central and South America, is believed to provide nutrients that aid in managing a number of health issues, including the ability to help lower blood pressure. Today, the herbal supplement is manufactured in a number of different countries, and is readily available in local herb shops as well as online retail outlets.
There are a number of health benefits associated with the use of cat’s claw extract. While not all the claims made for the efficacy of the herb have been researched, there is some evidence that the use of cat’s claw extract, either in capsule form or taken as cat’s claw tea, can help to nourish a depressed immune system. This action can help the body overcome a number of different ailments and hasten recovery time.
Another of the purported benefits of cat’s claw extract is that the herb can help lower high blood pressure. This is because cat’s claw can help dilate blood vessels, which in turn improves circulation and allows the heart to function more efficiently. The improved circulation has sometimes led to claims that the extract is helpful for people suffering with poor circulation in the extremities due to ongoing health conditions like diabetes.
Cat’s claw extract has traditionally been used for several other health issues, such as relieving the pain of arthritis, treating cases of dysentery, lowering fevers, and helping to ease the pain associated with stomach ulcers. In recent years, a limited number of studies have evaluated the potential for cat’s claw products to be useful in treating such varied conditions as HIV, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. The studies have so far proven inconclusive regarding the ability of the herb to aid in these situations.
As with most herbs, one of the main cat’s claw side effects that the herb can interact negatively with some prescription medications. Typically, anyone who is utilizing anticoagulants or blood pressure medication is cautioned to not use cat’s claw extract without consulting a physician first. Additional side effects may include short periods of dizziness, nausea, and the possibility of gastrointestinal distress during the first several days of usage. Normally, these side effects fade over time. Should they persist, this may be a sign of an allergic reaction, and use of the herb should discontinue immediately.